South and Bartlett high schools' girls hockey team is now the best in the state, after defeating their Dimond-West opponents.

The celebration has started for the South-Bartlett squad, which secured the state high school title with the 3-1 win.

"Everything is just so surreal right now, I've been doing this for the last four years, and getting state champs my senior year, it's amazing, I can't describe anything else," said center Amber Steinhilpert, a senior.

"It feels real great to win after all these years. It's my junior year, my sister played on the team, we haven't won this well in a long time," said defense playrt Olivia Carman, a junior.

The two teams started started playing against each other in November, with their season very much in doubt after a grant from the Scotty Gomez Foundation ran out late last year.

The Anchorage Hockey Association stepped forward with $50,000, which kept the program going for at least one more season. The association will also pay for next year.

"It's been a great year; we had a lot of fun, finances are still a bit short, but we made it for this year," said AHA spokesperson Brian Gross. "And we're going to go for it again next year, and try to keep the girls on the ice."

That is great news for returning players.

"I remember when the team got shut down, I was real sad," Carman said. "But now that it's back, I'm real excited I can keep playing for my high school."

"I'm definitely coming back, definitely coming back!" said forward Maggie Martins. "This is one of the best experiences I've ever had, it's awesome." 

Martins and the rest of the South-Bartlett squad will now have a chance to repeat their victory next season.

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