Grace Christian Grizzlies get revenge, dominate 3A boys basketball title game

Grace Christian boys win the 3A state championship, getting revenge on last years loss.
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 9:31 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Saturday’s Class 3A boys state basketball championship had a bit of a familiar feel.

In this same game last year, the Nome Nanooks shocked the Grace Christian Grizzlies to win the state crown.

This time around, the only thing that was shocking was how dominant Grace Christian was, defeating the Nanooks 64-33.

The Grizzlies have beaten opponents in all divisions this year, much of that owing to their senior leadership. Nearly their entire starting five are seniors and have been playing together for years, something that was evident right from the opening tip.

The Grizzlies showed just that on the biggest stage in the biggest game of the year, coming out and taking a 20-point lead after the first half. In last year’s match-up, the Nome Nanooks held right with the Grizzles and ended up beating them in the final seconds of the game.

That scenario couldn’t have looked further away this year. The Nanooks came out firing in the third quarter, trying to get back into it, but no matter what they did, they couldn’t overcome the size and skill of the Grizzlies.

“It’s pretty special,” senior Sloan Lenfter said. “Basketball is temporary, four years for high school anyways. To be able to do it with the group of guys we had ... this year our deal this year was ‘unbreakable,’ which is written on our chest and regardless of the outcome, we surrender the outcome, so it’s basketball but ultimately, it’s a brotherhood that we built.”

Grace Christian had had a storybook year, winning nearly every big tournament they entered, many of those against 4A competition, even winning the Alaska Airlines Classic against big teams from out of state.

Despite all of that success though, it’s not the actual basketball that Lentfer said he is going to take with him.

“I’ll remember my teammates, basketball — I’ll forget about all the emotions, but every single teammate I want to call in 10 years and hang out and stuff and that’s what I’ll remember,” Lentfer said.

With a ton of senior talent graduating, it is hard to say what the Grace Christian boy’s basketball team will look like next season, but this year, was was no doubt they were the best 3A team in the state by a wide margin.