Nanooks emerge victorious from Region 1 matchup

Exterior building of Nome Beltz Highschool

The Nome-Beltz boys’ basketball team swept Utqiagvik at home last week, besting the Whalers 65-43 on Friday, Feb. 17, and 62-55 on Feb. 18.

On Friday, NBHS senior Jade Greene led with 26 points and sophomore Finn Gregg tallied up 23 points. In Saturday’s matchup, Gregg led with 26, while Greene put up 23.

With the wins, the Nanooks are 16-2 overall and 5-0 in the 3A Western Conference. Head coach Patrick Callahan reached a major milestone on Friday, as he coached his 500th game for the Nanooks.

Callahan said the second day of a Region 1 matchup is always more difficult than the first.

“Most places in the world, you play a team once and then a month later you play them again,” Callahan said. “In Region 1, because of the way travel costs are, you always play back-to-back with the same team … So, the tendency of a young team is always to think it’s going to be easier on day two. And it’s always harder because the other team wants to come out and show that they were better than the first night. And that’s the way it played out.”

Callahan added that the team is young, but able to take away the big wins.

“We have a young team that, you know, we get away with some things where we argue a little bit on the court. We take pretty marginal shots quite a bit and that can bite you. So, we got away with it today. But they are still big wins. Barrow’s super traditional, always the top team in the league,” Callahan said.

Causing Whaler turnovers was part of Nome’s strategy, Callahan said.

“We followed our game plan,” Callahan said. “That’s what we were hoping to do, is create some havoc up front without giving up layups on the back end.”

Gregg was wild at the free throw line after frequent fouls by the Whalers — he went 11-11.

“We just had to pull together as a group. We were down at the half. It’s a tough environment playing them, but we stuck together as a team and hit some shots. We got some good stops there at the end and pulled it out,” Gregg said.

While Gregg was outstanding at the free-throw line, Greene was great from 3-point land, dropping 4 of his 11 attempts. The Nanook girls’ team fell to Utqiagvik on the road on Friday and Saturday, 48-24, and 54-25.

The Nome-Beltz boys will travel to Bethel Friday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, Feb. 25, to face the Warriors. The Nanook girls will be at home against Bethel.

Photo at top: Nome-Beltz High School. Photo by Brisa Alarcon, KNOM.