The Hutchison Hawks won in four sets over the Valdez Buccaneers on Saturday to sweep the Aurora Conference volleyball powerhouse in a weekend series at Hutchison High School.

Valdez captured the Class 3A state title in 2017 and was runner-up in last year’s state tournament. The Buccaneers also are defending Aurora Conference Tournament champions.

On Saturday, Hutchison claimed the first set 25-17 and Valdez responded with a 25-23 decision in the second set. The Hawks gained the weekend sweep by winning 26-24 and 25-18 in the respective last two sets.

“As usual,” said Hutchison head coach David Halbrooks by phone, “they pushed us to our limits and tested us, and we had to make sure we were on our game for anything we do.

“Valdez always plays hard and we were able to pull this one out.”

The win on Hutchison’s senior day improved the Hawks to 7-2 Aurora for a three-way tie for first place with Valdez and the Monroe Catholic Rams.

Hawks senior players Bri Majors, Raven Drake, Tayla Edgerley and Allyonna Mandregan and team manager Jacob Edgerley, Talya’s brother, were honored before the game.

During the game, Drake produced 52 assists and 12 serves with four aces. Majors came up with 40 digs and had 13 serve-receives.

Mandregan contributed four kills and two blocks in Hutchison’s last home match of the season.

Hutchison got 18 serves and an ace from Grace Halbrooks, and 13 digs, 10 serve-receives and six assists from Sydney Scott. 

Jayda Russell led the Hawks with five kills and contributed three blocks.

Hutchison defeated Valdez 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 Friday.

Hutchison visits the North Pole Patriots for a nonconference match at 6 p.m. Monday.

Malemutes fall to Braves

The Lathrop Malemutes, of the Mid Alaska Conference, lost in three sets to the Mount Edgecumbe Braves volleyball team for the second straight day in Sitka.

Lathrop fell 25-17, 25-24, 25-17 on Saturday after losing 25-9, 25-12, 26-24 in Friday’s match against the Braves, of the Class 3A Southeast Conference.

Lathrop also played the Sitka Wolves on Saturday.

NP downs Delta

The North Pole volleyball team overcame a slow start to beat the Delta Junction Huskies in four sets Saturday in the Dan McHenry Gymnasium at North Pole High School.

The Huskies, of the Aurora Conference, won 22-25 in the first set. The Patriots, of the Class 4A Mid Alaska Conference, claimed the last three sets 25-14, 25-16, 25-21.

Ainsley Smith distributed 26 assists, serve aces and laid down seven kills for North Pole, 8-3 overall and 3-1 MAC.

The Patriots were aided by two aces and a team-high eight kills from Madyson Conley. Kinley Erickson had seven kills and Laura Donovan had four digs for North Pole.

Barrow beaten in D-III final

The Barrow Whalers lost 41-8 to the Houston Hawks in the Division III state championship football of the Alaska School Activities Association First National Bowl on Saturday afternoon at the Anchorage Football Stadium.

“Our offensive line struggled taking on the blitzes and stuff,” Whalers head coach Chris Battle said by phone.

It was Barrow’s third-straight appearance in the Division III final. The Whalers won in 2017 and lost to the Eielson Ravens in the 2018 title game.

Despite Saturday’s loss, Battle said he was proud of the Whalers.

“It’s exciting that they made it back for the third year in a row, It was good for them,” Battle said. “Anthony Fruean (senior quarterback) had been there three years and he won one. 

“It’s just a great accomplishment for our community and kids. To make it to the state championship game three years in a row is something special.”

Barrow got on the scoreboard in the first half Saturday with Ervin Feleti’s one-yard run and  Charlie Tuai’s two-point conversion.

Barrow finished the season at 7-2 overall and 4-0 Aurora Conference. 

It was the first state football title for Houston (10-0, 4-0 Peninsula Conference). The Hawks beat the Whalers 31-6 on Aug. 24 at Cathy Parker Field in Utqiagvik.

Rifle meets

The Valdez Buccaneers and Hutchison Hawks posted the top totals in Region VI rifle tri-meets Friday and Saturday at the Tanana Valley Sportsmen’s Association.

On Friday, Valdez compiled a 4,412 total with an air rifle team score of 2,231 and a smallbore effort of 2,181.  The Lathrop Malemutes were second with a 4,225 total from scores of 2,145 in air rifle and 2,080 in smallbore. 

The West Valley Wolfpack was third after recording respective air rifle and smallbore scores of 2,021 and 1,765 for a 3,786 total.

Valdezs Tiffany Larcom and Lathrop’s Kelsey Wade each had meet-high individual scores of 571. Larcom’s score was recorded in the smallbore matches and Wade’s occurred in the air rifle.

Valdez’s Sara Bauman shot 562 in the air rifle and West Valley’s Daina Maxey compiled a 555. Wade also led Lathrop in smallbore with 558 and Maxey led West Valley with a 552.

On Saturday, Valdez competed with Hutchison and the Delta Junction Huskies.

Hutchison registered a 4,343 total after scoring 2,197 for air rifle and 2,146 for smallbore. Valdez was close with a 4,329 total after tallying 2,231 in air rifle and 2,098 in smallbore.

Delta Junction finished with 4,213 from a 2,139 total in air rifle and a 2,074 in smallbore.

Bauman shot a day-best 562 individual score for air rifle. Hutchison’s Rylan Clavell registered 557 in the discipline and Delta’s Honor Fraley shot 552.

Hutchison’s Tristan Taylor had a personal-best 549 for the smallbore. Delta’s Carson Pugh shot 539 for smallbore and Valdez’s Sydney McKay finished with 535.

Contact News-Miner sports editor Danny Martin at 459-7586. Follow him on Twitter:@newsminersports.