FAIRBANKS, Alaska - The West Valley Wolfpack struggled in their first match of the New Year against the Thunder Mountain Falcons.
They fell 59-50 to the Falcons, as they had no answer for the big man presence between the Toutailepos, as both Vaipuna and Meki wrecked havoc on the boards and knocked down some big time shots.
Despite the issues on the glass, the Wolfpack did hold a 32-25 lead heading into halftime as they scored 24 in the second quarter.
In the frame, both Ty Thomas and Terrell Peter scored twice from downtown, but the three point magic touch seemed to wane in the second half, as the Falcons put on the brakes defensively.
Vaipuna put on the finishing touches with a timely three point shot in the fourth, and West Valley received offensive foul calls late in the final frame to put the nail in the coffin.
West Valley will look to bounce back on Saturday when they face the Chugiak Mustangs at 12:30 p.m.
Jalon McCullough is the local kid who returned to the Alaska Nanooks, and currently leads their offense in assists.
Even though he comes off the bench, he is entrusted with the keys of the offense under Head Coach Greg Sparling.
And Jalon loves being part of this Nanook squad.
"It's great, I remember when I was a young boy coming out and watching the games. And now it's a great experience playing for your hometown, now I am in a jersey out there playing on the court so it's pretty humbling and pretty blessed to be where I am," said McCullough.
Jalon starred for the Monroe Catholic Rams during his time here in the Interior, becoming a three time #A state champ and was named to the first team all-state. And he made his way back to Alaska after playing for the Peninsula College Pirates.
"I mean you kind of like the quarterback of the floor making sure guys are in their spots, mainly making sure the boat is sailing smoothly. Just go out there and make sure their tuned up. Like I said earlier, we are taking it game-by-game, every single game in the GNAC is a big game it doesn't matter who we are playing. I think that we need to come in focused and stay hungry and it will take care of itself," said McCullough.
Jalon got to be part of history as the Nooks beat the Anchorage Seawolves for the first time in 5 years, and he loves learning under Coach Sparling.
"It's great, I love the energy that he brings to the team and it's different for us and we like that. I think our challenge is just getting defensive stops. We have a lot of talented guys on our team that can shoot the ball and score the ball. So I think if we gets stops and get the ball up the floor, we'll be alright," said McCullough.
Jalon and the Nanooks have a long schedule ahead of them, but right now they are just taking a game at a time.