The streak is snapped.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Palmer Moose scored a girls basketball win over the Wasilla Warriors. Palmer notched a 60-55 victory over the Warriors Thursday evening at Wasilla High School.
“It’s just huge,” Palmer head coach Keith Williams said by cell phone. “With the tough season and COVID, it’s just the perseverance and persistence that the girls have that’s been amazing.”
Before Thursday, the Moose had not beaten the Warriors since a 37-30 win on Feb. 10, 2009. Williams said the Moose are well aware that their two biggest rivals — Wasilla and Colony — are two of the top 4A girls basketball teams in the state just about every year, and difficult competition every season. The third-year head coach said he tries to look at the bigger picture.
“The girls know about it,” Williams said of the Warriors and Knights. “I just really want to focus on competing and the process, and the wins will come.”
Williams said there is also the mental aspect.
“A mindset shift. And that’s probably the hardest thing with COVID. The mindset from woe is me to I do belong here. I do belong amongst the Colonys and Wasillas,” Williams said.
Williams said the work his players put in, from the 6 a.m. workouts to the offseason training, is part of that process.
“It’s like an iceberg. The 10 percent, the victory, everybody sees. That’s above the water. The 90 percent is the coaching, all of the effort, the sacrifice nobody sees. That’s what I love about the girls the most. They’re willing to sacrifice for the team,” Williams said.
Palmer’s lone senior, Catherine Uschmann, scored a team-high 19 points in the victory. Uschmann hit a three-pointer and scored seven points during a 16-10 second-quarter run. She was also 8 of 10 at the free throw line. Paige Marshall finished with 14 points for Palmer and Kinzey Hutchings added a dozen.
Williams called the victory an overall team win.
“Everything came together,” Williams said. “Normally we do it for three quarters or do it for a half. Today, everything came together.”
Williams said this is the type of win the Moose can build on.
“If we’re building the season I think this is the great foundation. That gives us everything we need to do to put the framework up for our season,” Williams said. “This is something they’ve done. It’s not, they wonder if they can beat Wasilla. They literally beat Wasilla.”
Bella Hays scored a game-high 20 points for the Warriors in the loss. Sierra Baird hit a trio of three-pointers and finished with 17. Sheridan Green added 14.
Contact Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com.