Clausius: Lady Raiders 'play with inspiration' at tournament
Unalaska head coach Casey Clausius knew going into the 2016-17 season that his young team would be reloading and forced to learn on the fly. Fielding a team of three freshmen with no seniors has meant a lot of flying thus far.
By all accounts, the Lady Raiders are flying very well. The team proved that this past weekend with a solid effort at the Cordova Tip-Off Classic. The Lady Raiders went 1-2 in the three-day tournament — which capped a brutal five games in six days stretch for the UHS girls.
"These games were nice to get underneath our belt," said Clausius. "It was nice to see positive growth, especially starting three freshman, one sophomore, and one junior."
Unalaska, which had kicked off its state-wide tour earlier in the week with a pair of games in Nome, got off to an impressive start at the Cordova tournament. Backed by a game-high 17 points from freshman Kayla Villamor, Unalaska upended Eielson by a 51-37 margin in their first-round matchup.
Villamor, who was named to the all-tournament team following the tournament, led the Lady Raiders in the win by throwing in 17 points. Alexis Magalong and Kiara Villamor also hit double figures with 10 apiece.
The Dimond Lynx junior varsity dealt Unalaska a tough 49-39 setback in the second round despite outstanding efforts from Kayla Villamor and Hailey Wilson.
Villamor tallied 16 points in the loss. Wilson added 10.
Unalaska closed out the tournament on Saturday with a 54-48 setback to Cordova. In that game, Villamor threw in 17 points, while Kiara Villamor chipped in 12.
"Seeing us compete in close games under short rest, it was nice to see what the girls are capable of on a daily basis," said Clausius. "The girls seemed to play with inspiration. I admire that in any individual," he added.
Unalaska kicked off its whirlwind tour on Monday with two games in Nome. On Monday, they picked up 10 points from Kiara Villamor and seven from Kayla Villamor in a 56-30 loss to Nome-Beltz. On Tuesday, they dropped a 57-30 decision to Nome despite getting double-digit outings from Wilson and Kayla Villamore.
Wilson pitched in 12 points in the game. Villamor tallied 10.