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Bethel Warriors and Lady Warriors win close games to advance to regional tournament finals

 Senior captain and the game's point leader, Peter Crow, sets up a free throw.
Olivia Ebertz
Senior captain Peter Crow sets up a free throw during a Bethel Warriors basketball game in January 2022.

Both the Bethel Regional High School Warriors and Lady Warriors won close contests in the first games of the 3A Western Conference Regional Tournament on March 10. If they win their regional championship games, they will advance to the state tournament.

In a March 10 game that went into overtime, the second-seeded Lady Warriors beat the third-seeded Nome Lady Nanooks in a gritty finish, 50-46.

“We knew that it'd be a battle,” said Regina Lieb, head coach of the Bethel Lady Warriors. “They had to be mentally, physically tough and stay in control, it was a pretty fast paced game. Very, very physical. And it just was an emotional game across the board.”

She said that this team has overcome challenges this season, coming together after a year of basically not playing organized basketball because of the pandemic.

“But this team really has gelled. They've worked well together. They believe in each other. And I think that's kind of what helped them get to where they are today,” Lieb said.

The third-seeded Bethel boys also won a thriller, upsetting the second-seeded Barrow Whalers 49-46.

“It was a really close game,” said boys head coach Eric Jung. “We tied right at the very end of halftime and then Peter Crow made a, basically a buzzer beater 3-pointer to put us up by three at halftime. And then the second half, we stayed just right at that margin. We'd get up by five, they'd close it to a two point game. We get up by four, they close it to a one point game and it just stayed really, really close the whole way in the second half. It was a great game.”

This boys team features many underclassmen, but Jung said that some of the freshmen, like Madden Cockroft and Gus Erickson, are no longer looking like freshmen.

“Having a young team, I knew we were going to struggle earlier in the season, and it's starting to click for some of them,” Jung said.

Before the big game, Jung is planning to tell his team, “Hey, enjoy the moment. You battled hard to get here. Make sure you enjoy it because you only get a couple of these in your lifetime.”

The girls team will play the Barrow Lady Whalers on March 11 in the regional tournament finals at 6 p.m., followed by the boys playing the Nome Nanooks at 7:30 p.m. Tune into KYUK 640 AM for live broadcasts of both regional championship games.

Greg Kim is a news reporter for KYUK covering environment, health, education, public safety, culture and subsistence. He's covered everything from Newtok's relocation due to climate change-fueled erosion to the Bethel chicken massacre of 2020.
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