Savannah Ames makes a no look pass against Vanier as Tiffanie Potter trails the play. The Lady Panthers are off to a 5-0 start. See story below. JB

Skagway team to represent Alaska in 2005 Fulda Challenge

A Skagway team will represent Alaska in the 2005 Fulda Challenge which starts Jan. 29 in Whitehorse. Eric Coufal and Jessie Rapin will challenge a number of European co-ed teams in several winter events from Skagway to the Arctic Circle.
The event, sponsored by the German tire company and Tourism Yukon, comes to Skagway the morning of Jan. 31.
Yukon coordinator Susan Huff in an e-mail said the entourage will not be overnighting in Skagway this year. They will arrive by vehicles at 8 a.m. and have coffee and muffins at the White Pass rail depot before the mountain bike race scheduled for 9:30 a.m. The bike race will be the same as last year from the depot to Canada Customs on the Klondike Highway.
A preview of the event and the two Skagway athletes will appear in the Jan. 28 Skagway News. For more information, go to

Skagway mushers finish in top 10 at Copper Basin 300

Two mushers with Skagway connections finished in the top 10 at this week’s Copper Basin 300.
Allen Moore, a veteran musher from Two Rivers, claimed his first victory on Monday when he won the 2005 Copper Basin 300. Moore, who finished fifth in last year’s race, crossed the finish line in Glennallen at 2:40 p.m. Monday, clocking in at 52 hours, 32 minutes. He completed the 300-mile race with 11 dogs, dropping just one dog since Saturday’s start.
In second place was CB 300 rookie Matt Hayashida, who finished at 3:58 p.m. with seven dogs for a total time of 53:50. Hayashida lists his hometown as Wasilla, but he spends his summers giving dog sled tours near Skagway. Hayashida ran his own team for this race, but he’s a two-time finisher of the Iditarod after driving the puppy team to Nome for four-time Iditarod champion Martin Buser of Big Lake.
“Since 2001, my wife, Sarah, and I have owned and operated Rubicon Kennels,” Hayashida wrote in his Copper Basin 300 musher biography. “Most of the dogs were born and raised on the Denver Glacier near Skagway where we give our tours. We are running in the CB300 to race our dogs on challenging trails against some of the best competition.”
Another musher with Skagway connections, Hugh Neff, finished in 10th place, arriving at 9:43 p.m. on Jan. 10. Neff, a race veteran who worked for Alaska Excursions in Dyea last summer, will be participating in both the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod this year. He grew up in Chicago and now calls Skagway his home.
The News will profile Neff prior to the Quest and follow his progress. - AP/ Juneau Empire/Skagway News

SHS girls roll, boys take a tumble in season openers

The Skagway varsity girls basketball team defended the home turf in the Don Hather Tourney and added two conference wins over Hydaburg early this week to jump out to a 5-0 record.
“It’s a good place to be,” said coach Lara Labesky, after her team played its fifth game in six days, trouncing Hydaburg 61-18 on Tuesday night.
The Lady Panthers were never really challenged in the tournament or against the visiting Warriors.
Skagway’s team balance showed just after the opening tip of its first game against Whitehorse Vanier when Audrey Neitzer hit three straight jumpers – serving notice that the Panthers have many more weapons than all-state guard Savannah Ames.
Ames has hit double figures in every game, but big nights also have come from Candi Ketterman (23 points versus Juneau), Tiffanie Potter (13 versus Hydaburg), and Neitzer (11 versus Hydaburg).
The only time Skagway was threatened came in the Juneau game, and only briefly. Juneau’s young JV team was able to contain Skagway in the first half, with the Crimson Bears even closing within one point about midway through the second quarter.
Skagway led at the half by seven but started off the third quarter with three steals and converted lay-ups on the ensuing fast breaks. Juneau’s Nellie Metcalfe then scored its only bucket of the quarter, and Skagway’s Candi Ketterman responded with a three-pointer, igniting a 13-0 run to end the quarter. Ketterman had 17 points in that third quarter as the Panthers ran away with the win, 52-26.
Skagway had a rough first outing with Hydaburg in the team’s first league action, but still dominated, 47-12, behind Ames’ 23 points. Labesky’s main concern in the second game was not getting anyone hurt. She packed her team in a zone and the score was a low 11-0 after one period. Hydaburg was able to match cold-shooting Skagway 8-8 in the second period and even closed to 19-11 on a three-pointer by Marita Tolson to open the second half.
But then Labesky let her girls loose. Skagway picked up the intensity with its swarming man-to-man defense, got a big three-pointer from Potter, and forced numerous turnovers that turned into fast break buckets for nearly every Panther on the court. By the end of the third quarter, Skagway led 37-13, and had an even bigger fourth quarter to win 61-18.
Labesky likes what she sees so far from this Panther team, and how it is spreading out the scoring.
“I’m really pleased with how we started,” she said. “I can sit Savannah down and everyone steps up. This is the first year I feel like we truly have depth .... and performance out of the freshmen - I’ve never had that before.”
Next up for Skagway is a date at Hoonah on Jan. 21-22. The Braves will be confident after going 3-0 as well at the Hather tourney, and they can be especially tough at home, Labesky said.
Skagway’s boys team had a tough tournament against the bigger Whitehorse and Juneau teams, but felt they had a chance against Thorne Bay.
The Panthers opened up well in both games against the Wolverines, leading at halftime of both games. But an injury to forward Tom Littlefield hurt the team the first night in a close 36-33 loss, and the undermanned squad seemed to just run out of gas the second night, when Throne Bay outscored the Panthers 26-7 in the second half.
Still, there were bright moments. Junior Trevor Cochran found his shot in the Juneau game (13 points), senior John McCluskey had a big night in the opener against Thorne Bay (16 points), and freshman Jake Henricksen has been able to play some point guard and put up some numbers. The team as a whole is playing with more confidence each game.
Coach Mark Jennings said after Tuesday’s loss that the team has cut its number of turnovers with each game it has played. Losing Littlefield was tough, he said, especially after he had just shown his potential by grabbing nine rebounds in the first quarter of that initial Thorne Bay contest.
Littlefield has a bruised hip and knee and could be out six weeks, but Jennings added another player this week when Josh Cotton joined the roster.
“The freshmen are learning something new with every game, but it’s a long hill to climb,” Jennings said. “I’m growing with these kids.... They are a great group to work with. There’s a lot of personality on this team.”
The boys can expect a tough series at Hoonah, which went 3-0 at the Hather Tournament, including a thrilling 74-70 OT win over Juneau. The Braves are probably the strongest team in the Southeast 2A division this year.

GIRLS (5-0, 2-0 conf.)
Jan. 10 - at Skagway 47, Hydaburg 12: SGY - Ames 23, Moran 6, Cry. Ketterman 5, Can. Ketterman 5, Potter 4, Neitzer 2, M. Harris 2; HYD- Cline 6, S. Guthrie 2, L. Fawcett 2, Jones 2.
SGY 12-8-16-11=47
HYD 2-0-0-10=12
Jan. 11 - at Skagway 61, Hydaburg 18: SGY- Ames 15, Potter 13, Neitzer 11, Can. Ketterman 9, M. Harris 7, Moran 5, Cry. Ketterman 1; HYD- Sam. Fawcett 9; Tolson 3, Cline 3, S. Fawcett 3, S. Guthrie 1.
SGY 11-8-18-24=61
HYD 0-8-5-5=18

BOYS (0-5, 0-2 conf.)
Jan. 10 - Thorne Bay 36, at Skagway 33: TB- Grant 17, Gray 12, Carl 5, D. Campbell 2; SGY- McCluskey 16, Cochran 6, Henricksen 6, Dennis 3, Littlefield 2.
TB 8-8-9-11=36
SGY 10-13-4-6=33
Jan. 11 - Thorne Bay 34, Skagway 20: Gray 12, Grant 12, Carl 4, Wolford 6; SGY- McCluskey 8, Cochran 7, Henricksen 5.
TB 3-5-12-14=34
SGY 5-8-5-2=20