Seward got off to a hot start by steamrolling Houston high school in round one of the 2019 3-A Regional Basketball Championship. Round two was played against Anchorage Christian School, a rematch from the previous week that ended with Seward on the wrong side of the scoreboard. After that loss, Seward played Kenai for a chance at the bronze medal, but came up short.
Seward closed out the first night of the tournament against the Houston Hawks in what may have been one of the more dominant performances of the entire tournament.
Houston had no answer for the Seahawks defense, which allowed only four points in the first period and one in the second, for a total of five points in the first half. The Seahawks offense also went unchecked; Scoring 40 points for a comfortable 35-point halftime lead.
Head Coach Al Plan was ecstatic with the Seahawks performance.
“I think it’s a testament to the way we practice,” Plan said. “We do this all the time at practice and we’ve been working on it all year and I think it’s transitioned nicely onto the court.”
Advancing to the semi-finals, the Seahawks went up against the top seed ACS. Ranked 5th in the state, ACS entered the tournament with only two losses in the year, each of which were to the top ranked teams in the state, Dimond High School and Colony High School.
Backed by the student body section and other Seahawks fans, Seward had a healthy home court advantage. With a fired-up crowd and a trip to the finals on the line, the Seahawks gave ACS everything they had.
But the Seahawks could not overpower ACS’s court control and shooting, losing 57–35. The game had a bit of a silver lining. Seward’s defense held the Lions offense to a season-low 57 points, which is 20 points under the Lions’ season average points per game.
“It was a lot of fun and I wish every game could be like this,” Plan said. “There was a lot of intensity and the student body and fans were fantastic with the way they supported our team
“You wouldn’t have known this was a 20-point game from the crowd’s reactions.”
The loss to ACS meant Seward had to face peninsula rivals Kenai in a battle for the bronze medal. Seward had beaten the Kardinals twice earlier this season, but the third time seemed to be the charm for the Kardinals.
With both teams matching each other shot for shot, the first half was a slug fest. Kenai snagged a couple of baskets towards the end of the half, leaving the Seahawks trailing by four going into halftime.
Missed free throw opportunities and several shots falling short hurt the Seahawks as Kenai took a seven-point lead by the end of the third. The gap was all Kenai needed to coast by Seward and take home the bronze with a final score of 51–41.
“It’s tough to lose a game like that,” Plan said. “Obviously you want to win them all, but today we had a little trouble at the free throw line, and some shots came up short that we don’t normally miss.
“Kanai’s a good team and I think if we played them 10 times in a row, we’d go 5–5”
The loss meant the Seahawks placed fifth in the tournament. Anchorage Christian, Grace Christian and Kenai took first, second and third place respectively.
Seward still had plenty to celebrate. Five Seahawks were honored during the awards ceremony. Awards were given out for sportsmanship, first and second All-Region Teams, conference MVPs and for Coach of the Year. All the awards were voted upon by all the coaches from around the region.
Senior Josh Jarvis represented the Seahawks for the tournaments Sportsmanship Awards. Sophomores Sam Koster and Max Pfeiffenberger were named to the second All-Tournament Team. Junior Connor Spanos was named to the first All-Tournament Team.
“It’s nice to be recognized but that’s not the reason I play,” Spanos said. “I don’t really know what to say about it, but it feels good.”
The last Seahawk to receive an award was Head Coach Al Plan who was named Coach of the Year.
“I have an amazing coaching staff,” Plan said, “Any accolade is appreciated, but it’s hats off to the kids and assistant coaches for helping me so we could be where we wanted to be.”
The Seahawks ended their season with a 13–16 record and had numerous highlights along the way.
Seward placed third in the Delta Junction Tournament in January, won a pair of games over state-bound Nome-Beltz, held ACS to a season low in points scored and finished the season ranked 10th for 3-A schools.
“We had our ups and downs this season,” Plan said, “But I think we did a lot better than a lot of people thought we were going to.”
All but two varsity players will be returning for the 2019–2020 season.
“My favorite part of playing basketball is this group of guys,” Josh Jarvis said. “The guys on this team are very talented, and I think they can beat anyone in our region.
“Playing with them has been my favorite memory.”