Basketball teams from around Alaska are in Anchorage for the The Rally the Regions tournament, which gives them a chance for a court full of new competitors.

“You get more experience of different styles of play,” said Coleson Voran, a senior at Tanalian School in Port Alsworth. “Some people play at a slow pace, some play at a fast pace. Different styles of how to run the ball and defend.”

There’s also a cultural element to the tourney.

This year, each team had to decorate a letter in a theme that represents their hometown.

When put together, the letters spell out “Alaskans.”

“Every part of the state is unique and different. But there are a few things that are common bonds,” said tournament director Heath Day. “One is that we are all Alaskans, so we get to use that title. And basketball is definitely another common bond everyone shares.”

Team Wrangell decorated their N with pictures of the Stikine River. Team Tanalian took the opportunity to showcase subsistence on the letter S.

“We’re right in the middle of Lake Clark National Park so it’s very beautiful there, a lot of mountains and a lot of rivers, the lake. So subsistence salmon, salmon fishing is a big thing we do,” said junior Caleb Alsworth.

The Wrangell girls are last year’s returning champs. Senior Kaylyn Easterly said the tournament is a great way to kick off the season.

“You get to see how our team progresses throughout the year and we get to see what we need to work on and what improvements we need to change throughout the season,” she said.

The tournament continues through Saturday, Jan. 4 at Dimond High School.

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