Yesterday in the Alaska State basketball tournment, Barrow High took on Mt. Edgecumbe, a private school from Sitka, a small town near the state capital of Juneau. Barrow, you may have heard, is on Alaska's northern coast, and the home of the oil industry which services Prudoe Bay, North America's largest oil deposit. The sun stays below the horizon 24 hours a day for 2 months every year in Barrow. Sitka, like Juneau, sits well down the southeastern arm of the state, which runs much like a vertical panhandle down the western side of Canada, halfway to Washington.
The schools are 1,300 miles apart.
While Barrow was playing Mt Edgecumbe, 32 college teams were playing 16 games in the NCAA basketball tournment. Only 6 of those games featured teams from campuses farther apart than the two Alaska schools.
Barrow and Mt. Edgecumber are about the same distance apart as Thursday-opponents Air Force and North Carolina, Princeton and Texas, and Stanford and UTEP.
Of course, you can drive between all those schools. To get to Sitka, you must take a boat. You CAN drive to Barrow, barely, but there's really only two reasons to do so, because, as Barrow's head coach says:
'There are only two season in Barrow. Whaling season and basketball season."
And he backed it up, too: Barrow 55, Mt. Edgecumbe 47.