Bringing back Panther spirit

Elementary student Amanda Jensen (right) joins in cheering along with the girls. - JB

Cheerleaders return to make waves at basketball games

This year’s cheerleading girls are focused on reviving Panther spirit in the community. However, from the beginning, the troop had to overcome criticism from all around.
“This community, we saw, had absolutely no spirit. When the idea of cheerleaders coming back to Skagway (was raised), everyone was against it,” Captain Kortney Downen said. “Even teachers were saying to us that they thought it was impossible to start up and that it wouldn’t go anywhere.”
The nightly practice started at 5:30 in the Elma McMillen room instead of the library, due to lack of room. Captain Downen and Brandie Schneider joined Colleen Ketterman, Candi Ketterman and Michelle Harris who came straight out of basketball practice. They immediately started to talk about new moves and the possibility of cheering for the basketball games in Whitehorse on February 8-9.
“People don’t realize how much we put into our sport,” Colleen Ketterman points out. “Our day starts usually we go to school at 8:20, go to basketball practice at 4. go to cheerleading, then we go home around 7, eat dinner and do our homework. By then it’s 10 o’clock. There was our day. And we wake up and do it all over again the next.”
“Cheerleading is so fun for us, we do new cheers, we do stunts and all, but the biggest downer is no one is as enthusiastic as us,” said Candi Ketterman.
“We’re doing all this stuff and everyone is dead in the audience,” added Harris.
All agreed, but then backtracked and admitted the elementary girls do cheer along with them, no matter what.
“Nobody sees this as a sport,” Schneider said, “They see this as a bunch of girls jumping around, shouting stuff. But this is a sport, just as much as basketball.”
“There is so much that goes into this sport,” Candi Ketterman says. “We have to memorize all the cheers, remember what moves go with those cheers, and remember which stacks go with which cheers. People don’t see that from the audience.”
Coach Linda Calver was absent from the practice to comment.
Captain Downen said that all they wanted to do is bring back school spirit: “There is no school spirit. When we do pep assemblies and we ask the audience to get involved, they either clap politely, or look at us like we’re insane.”
Even with little support, the team pushes on and is determined to raise school spirit.
“We aren’t here for us, we’re here for the school and the community,” Downen said.

Clockwise from top: Cheerleaders Brandie Schneider, Michelle Harris, Captain Kortney Downen, Colleen Ketterman, and Candi Ketterman, “stack -up” at practice for their next game. -LS

Juneau takes rematch

The Juneau JV team rallied from a 10-point deficit in the middle of the third quarter to claim a 51-44 victory over the Skagway varsity on Jan. 25.
Josh Monagle scored 12 points to lead Juneau, with Kyle Huntsman adding 11. Scott Lesh scored 14 points and Kyle Fairbanks added 12 to lead the Panthers. Juneau’s defense held SHS’s Jarrett Brown to just two points. Brown scored 32 points when the two teams played on Jan. 10, leading the Panthers to a 60-57 victory. – JUNEAU EMPIRE

Kyle Fairbanks dribbles on a breakaway in Juneau. – Charles Bingham,Juneau Empire


Jan. 25 at Juneau JV 51, Skagway 44: JUN-Monagle12, Huntsman 11, Derbesy 7, Bickmore 5, Cooper 5, Saldiver 5, Leder 2, Zora 2, Hutchinson 2; SGY- Lesh 14, Fairbanks 12, Moore 7, Neitzer 5, Knorr 4, Brown 2.
Upcoming Games
Jan. 31-Feb. 1: at Hoonah; Feb. 7-8: at Whitehorse; Feb. 10-11: host Whitehorse girls and Thorne Bay boys in Skagway.