Nome-Beltz wins its first Class 3A boys basketball state championship

Nome wins 3A state championship
Published: Mar. 27, 2022 at 5:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Nome-Beltz Nanooks took down the Grace Christian Grizzlies 49-47 to take home their first ever Class 3A boys basketball state championship.

“It is crazy. We have never brought one back before, we’ve been to the state title so many times and we’ve never brought one back, so it’s nice to finally have our coach bring one back home,” senior Caden Hanebuth said.

With just 47 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter and the score tied at 47, the entire lower bowl of the Alaska Airlines Center seemed to be on their feet, waiting to erupt at what would happen next.

By that point in the game, senior Dawson Schaeffer for the Nanooks had 23 points, but on the most important possession of the game every Nanook player on the floor touched the ball. The ball movement helped to open up the lane for Schaeffer, who drove into the paint and hit a picture perfect floater to put the Nanooks up 49-47 with just seconds to play.

“I don’t know I feel like we had nothing to lose and we knew we were as good as these guys. So yeah, I don’t think we had any pressure. I knew we were going to win we all knew we were going to win,” senior Dawson Schaeffer said.

Grace Christian would get a couple of tough looks to try and force overtime, but their attempts came up just short as the Nome-Beltz Nanooks celebrated being on top of the 3A boys basketball world. The Nanooks made it through the hardest possible path to the trophy, having to beat the top seeded Houston Hawks and the second seeded Grace Christian Grizzlies.

“We’re underdogs, everyone thought we were the underdogs. We had to come out, we beat Houston. We figured we could do the same against Grace,” Hanebuth said.

Dawson Schaeffer was the clear player of the game after scoring more than half of his teams points and hitting the game winning shot. However, Caden Hanebuth also stood out — despite only scoring one point on the night — the team seemed to run through him. Hanebuth was the cool, calm force that set the pace of the game while Schaffer provided the fire that put the exclamation point on each possession.

The team confidence was evident on the game-winning possession as nearly everyone on the floor for the Nanooks touched the ball before Schaeffer nailed the championship-winning shot for Nome and sent an entire crowd and community into a frenzy.

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