Hoonah’s Jessica Skaflestad and Skagway’s Candi Ketterman and Tiffanie Potter chase down a loose ball.

Skagway girls unbeaten at Hather Tourney
Panther boys bounce back to scare Hoonah; big scoring from Knorr

Led by offensive MVP Savannah Ames, the Skagway Lady Panthers opened up the season with a sweep of teams during the Don Hather Tourney Jan. 8-10, and then added a second conference win over visiting Hoonah.
The Panther boys struggled in their first three games, but they gained confidence with every quarter, and came close to a victory in its second shot against Hoonah.
In their first two games, the Skagway girls blasted Whitehorse Vanier 42-18, and then gave an identical performance with a 41-18 win over the Juneau-Douglas JV team. Ames was the only Panther in double figures with 25 and 21 points respectively in those first two wins. In its third game of the tourney, which counted in conference standings, Skagway prevailed over Hoonah 45-30, and had a more balanced attack with Michelle Harris and Candi Ketterman scoring 10 points each to go with Ames’ 18.
The Skagway and Tok girls finished with 3-0 records to share top tourney honors, and those two teams will meet at the Tok Invitational next month.
Because of weather delays, Skagway’s first scheduled game against Hoonah on Jan. 7 had to be moved to Monday, Jan. 12, but this worked to Skagway’s advantage. Players who would not have had enough practices to be eligible on Jan. 7, were able to get in a couple of shoot-around practices over the weekend to be cleared to play on the 12th. For the girls, this meant the addition of defensive star Crystal Ketterman, and for the boys, point guard Garrett Henry.
The Lady Panthers put seven girls in the scoring column in its second win over Hoonah, 53-36, with Ames posting her best effort yet, a 34-point performance, including three treys and a perfect show at the free throw line.
Lady Panthers coach Lara Labesky said the wins were a great start but she’d like to see more balance on offense.
“I’m certainly pleased we won, but our execution sometimes felt like we were taking holidays out there,” she said. “I saw glimmers of really good things to come, but it never held up for whole game, or even a whole quarter,”
The team focused on defense and conditioning drills after the tourney to get ready for this week’s trip to Prince of Wales, where they will face Klawock and Hydaburg. Half of the team was away during the holiday break right before the Hather tourney, so it was good to have everyone on the floor for practices, she added, to get in the flow of their offensive and defensive sets.
The Panther boys were in the same predicament over the holidays, and did not have a full team until its fourth game. Skagway opened against eventual tourney “winner” Haines and was outscored 48-18. Tourney offensive MVP Chad Stigen led the Glacier Bears with 12, while Thomas Knorr led Skagway with 9.

From his post position, Thomas Knorr eyes the bucket for a shot over Hoonah’s Matthew Brown.

Skagway didn’t fare much better on the scoreboard in its second game against the Juneau-Douglas JV team, losing 58-21, but the team showed flashes of good things to come. Knorr had all of Skagway’s 21 points, and got a big roar from the crowd when he swatted a shot by former Panther Scott Lesh, who was held to just 6 points against his old team. Lesh was heckled by a few boo-birds in the crowd, mostly in jest by friends on the Haines team, and posted a 28-point effort against the Glacier Bears later.
Knorr showed even more against 2A rival Hoonah that he is Skagway’s new “go-to guy.” The key for Skagway was getting the ball up the floor without turning it over, and setting up the offense to work the ball into Knorr. Although they still had problems with turnovers, Skagway was able to double its point production from the first two games. Knorr scored 20, Trevor Cochran added
10, and Kyle Mulvihill 8 in the 71-44 loss, while Florian Wischnat gathered in 12 rebounds. Devin Moritz (27 points) and Dustin Bowen (20) rained in treys to lead the Braves offense.
Hoonah was certainly tired, and maybe a tad overconfident when it hit the floor Monday night for a second time against Skagway, and coach Joe Digranche warned them that Skagway would be ready. From the opening tip, the Braves would see a different opponent.
“What a difference a point guard makes?” remarked a referee, after watching Skagway’s Garrett Henry move the ball up the floor with relative ease on the first few Skagway possessions. While the Panthers were unable to stop Moritz from nailing four 3-pointers, they were able to stay close, down 20-11 after one period.
“Our confidence was rising pretty much every quarter,” said Skagway coach Mark Jennings. “You could figure out that once we could tell who our leaders were on offense and defense, we were more confident in what we were doing.”
Skagway got its “inside-outside” game working in the second quarter, and roared back to take a four-point lead, before the Braves tied the score, 30-30 at the half.
“We spread out the scoring when we go inside-outside,” Jennings said. “If they collapsed on Thomas then he’d kick it out, and Trevor, John (McCluskey), Hank (Burnham) and Garrett hit shots.

Zack Breen, held by mom Amy and supported by aunt and Skagway girls coach Lara Labesky, shows the cake they nabbed at a halftime auction.

“When I called (retired coach) Jeff Kasler and started this job, he said to keep it simple, and I know what it means now. I’m learning as much as they are.”
Hoonah had a big third quarter to go up by nine points again, but Skagway cut it back to four a few times, though could never make it closer as Hoonah always seemed to answer a Skagway rally with another trey. Hoonah won 68-59 behind 11 three pointers. Skagway’s Knorr led all scorers with 26 points, Henry added 13, and Cochran 11. Moritz led the Braves again with 24, Bowen had 16, and Josh Dybdahl 14.
The Panthers will play defending regional and state champ Hydaburg and Thorne Bay on the road trip this weekend to Prince of Wales.
“We’ll have some tough games, but the kids’ confidence is up,” Jennings said. “You could tell even in practice this week, they are more comfortable with what they’re doing.”

Jan. 8-11 • Skagway, Alaska

Haines 55, Tok 38; Haines JV 48, Skagway 18: HNS- Stigen 12, Ferin 7, D. Stickler 7, Berry 6, Narum 5, Combs 3, Bilie 2, Egolf 2, Lende 2, W. Stickler 2; SGY- Knorr 9, Cochran 4, McCluskey 3, Wischnat 2. Haines 73, Vanier 38; Haines 72, Porter Creek 48; Juneau-Douglas JV 58, Skagway 21: JDHS- Miller 14, Kohan 10, Brantner 8, Zura 6, Lesh 6, Baker 6, Ashe 2, Fagerstrom 2, Ebron 2, Capacci 2; SGY- Knorr 21. Tok 53, Hoonah 50; Haines JV 67, Porter Creek 62; Vanier 53, Tok 49; Haines 57, Juneau-Dougla s JV 56; Hoonah 71, Skagway 44: HNH- Moritz 27, Bowen 20, Lindstrom 11, White 5, Skeek 4, Skaflestad 2; SGY- Knorr 20, Cochran 10, Mulvihill 8, Burnham 4, McCluskey 2.
Offensive MVP: Chad Sitgen, Haines
Defensive MVP: Daniel Stickler, Haines
All-Tourney: Dustin Bowen, Hoonah; Chad Stigen, Haines; Luke Miller, J-D; Thomas Knorr, Skagway; Cory Coleman, Tok; David Berry, Haines; Will Egolf, Haines; Scott Lesh, J-D; Rob McKinnon, Vanier; Milos Stojkovich, Porter Creek.
Free throw contest: Daniel Stickler, Haines
3-point shooting: Dustin Bowen, Hoonah (13 in 60 secs.)
Jan. 12 (after tourney) Hoonah 68, at Skagway 59: HNH- Moritz 24, Bowen 16, Dybdahl 14, Lindstrom 11, Brown 3; SGY- Knorr 26, Henry 13, Cochran 11, Burnham 7, McCluskey 2.

Former SHS player Scott Lesh looks to make a baseline pass against Haines’ Will Egolf.

Tok 63, Haines 33; Vanier JV 31, Tok JV 13; Skagway 42, Vanier 18: SGY- Ames 25, Moore 6, Potter 5, Harris 4, Neitzer 2; VAN- J. Tait 7, Fraser 3, Reaume 2, R. Tait 2, Rowat 2.; Vanier 46, Tok JV 26; Skagway 41, Juneau-Douglas JV 18: Ames 29, Can. Ketterman 5, Potter 4, Harris 2, Moore 2, Neitzer 1; JDHS- Post 5, Kimlinger 4, Klein 4, Quimpa 4, Lietz 1. Haines 44, Porter Creek 40; Tok 45, Hoonah 29; Tok 46, Juneau-Douglas JV 36; Haines 35, Vanier 29; Skagway 45, Hoonah 30: SGY- Ames 18, Harris 10, Can. Ketterman 10, Neitzer 3, Potter 2, Moore 2; HNH- Peters 10, Lampe 7, K. Skaflestad 7, J. Skaflestad 3, Ames 2, Wright 1. Hoonah 42, Haines 35.
Offensive MVP: Savannah Ames, Skagway
Defensive MVP: Annie Morgan, Tok
All-Tourney: Kasey Lamphehr, Tok; Naomi Gladish, Porter Creek; Jenna Tait, Vanier; Kerstin Kimlinger, J-D; Romanie Roach, Tok; Ivanca Jones, Haines; Savannah Ames, Skagway; Rebecca Cleary, Tok; Jessy Post, J-D; Cassandra Peters, Hoonah.
Free throw contest: Jessy Post, Juneau-Douglas
3-point shooting: Ivanca Jones, Haines (12 in 60 secs.)
Jan. 12 (after tourney) - at Skagway 53, Hoonah 36: SGY- S. Ames 34, Can. Ketterman 5, Potter 4, Harris 4, Neitzer 2, Moore 2, Cry. Ketterman 2; HNH- Lampe 11, K. Skaflestad 9, Wright 8, Peters 4, K. Ames 4.