Boys team splits with Petersburg, girls win both games at homecoming

At times, the cheers for the Petersburg Vikings were almost as loud as the cheers for the Wrangell Wolves. And the cheers for the Wolves were almost deafening.

The Wrangell High School gym was alive and packed with teams and fans last Friday and Saturday as the Wolves celebrated homecoming week by playing against longtime rival Petersburg.

Roars of excitement shook the gym as teams battled it out, leading to two wins for the girls varsity and junior varsity squads, a win and a loss for the boys varsity and two losses for boys junior varsity.

In what was easily the most action-packed game of the two days, the Wrangell boys varsity team took on the Vikings on Friday. The Wolves had not won against the Vikings all season, and at first it looked as though this game would be no different.

Though the Petersburg varsity squad used their size as a way to break through the Wrangell defense, Wrangell's team relied on its speed and fast thinking.

"Our defense has been so good. I think that's what keeps us in games anyway," said head coach Cody Angerman. "(Petersburg has) those two big guys. They get it to the corner and they try to slam it down. They're very good at that."

At the end of the first period, Petersburg led 8-7. In the second period, swift steals from Kyan Stead and outside three-pointers from Jacen Hay made all the difference and Wrangell led at the end 23-12. The second half of play is where Wrangell tends to flag, but the boys kept their lead, ending the third period 30-24.

It was in the fourth period, however, where the competition heated up, with both teams stepping up their defense. Petersburg closed the point gap, and with 2:20 left to play the Vikings' Kyle Biggers tied the game, 36-36. Wrangell's Daniel Harrison regained the lead with a successful free throw, but Jack Engell answered with two points to jump ahead.

The quarter went back and forth with fouls and free throws, and Wrangell eventually pulled ahead, but not before Hay suffered an ankle injury, sending him to the bench. Petersburg sank a two-pointer right at the buzzer to tie the game and send it into overtime.

Both teams immediately started trading baskets, bringing it right down to the wire. Wrangell earned enough to win, 52-49.

Saturday's game was another fierce matchup, but without the help of Hay, Angerman said they had to figure out different ways for the other players to step up. The first period ended 8-8, and Petersburg pulled ahead in the second period to lead 21-15.

Wrangell held on and closed the point gap, keeping the Vikings from gaining a substantial lead. The third period ended with Petersburg ahead, 26-22. The game came down to only two points in the final period, with Wrangell trailing. A timeout was called by Wrangell with only six seconds left. The Wolves scrambled to get an outside shot, trying to win by one point or at least drive it in for another tie and overtime. A last-ditch attempt went up but bounced off the rim. Petersburg won, 35-33.

Between the boys and girls varsity games on Saturday, Wrangell's homecoming court was chosen. Boomchain Loucks and Christina Johnson were chosen as the freshman prince and princess. Trevyn Gillen and Aubrey Wynne were the sophomore class prince and princess. Daniel Harrison and Mia Wiederspohn were the junior class prince and princess. And Ethan Blatchley and Kiara Harrison were chosen as the senior class king and queen.

In back-to-back victories on Friday and Saturday, the Lady Wolves gained an early lead in both games over the Lady Vikings and never let go. Wrangell used their size and speed advantage to swarm Petersburg, overwhelming the visiting team in almost every play.

"We're trying to be confident and play our game," said assistant coach Kaelene Harrison. The team's overall goal was just to improve on their game as they've been doing all season, she added.

That confidence shined as the first period ended 9-1, Wrangell. Petersburg was only able to add one point to the board in the second period. They kept up their defense, however, and allowed Wrangell to add only four points. The period ended, 13-2, Wrangell. The third period saw the Lady Wolves surge ahead, despite the numerous entanglements leading to jump balls on several plays. At the buzzer, Wrangell led 30-7.

Petersburg didn't score in the fourth period until 3:24 left on the clock. They added four more points but it wasn't enough, and the Lady Wolves won, 39-13.

In Saturday's game, it seemed like no matter where Petersburg's offense was, they were swarmed by the Lady Wolves. Once again, Wrangell surged ahead in points, beating their opponents in every period. They led 13-2 in the first, 26-13 in the second, 30-17 in the third and won the game 51-21.

The Wrangell girls junior varsity basketball team held Petersburg nearly scoreless in Friday's game, denying the visiting team any baskets in the first period. Petersburg would score only one point during the second period, none in the third and two in the fourth. Meanwhile, Wrangell steadily sank baskets throughout all four periods to win 44-3. Petersburg fared better in Saturday's game, but Wrangell won 23-15.

The junior varsity boys had a solid defense in both Friday and Saturday games, trading leads with Petersburg throughout both games. Where Wrangell was able to quickly steal and drive the ball, Petersburg was able to block and gain points. Both games ended in favor of Petersburg, 28-23 and 48-33, respectively.

The varsity teams have this weekend off and are scheduled to compete at regionals in Juneau March 8-11.


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