Hather honored by National Wrestling Hall of Fame

School taking nominations for Hather Wall of Fame

The late Don Hather was honored this month by the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and Museum with a Lifetime Service to Wrestling Award.
Hather, a champion wrestler during his college years in Nebraska, earned his teaching degree and then taught and coached for 35 years. He was a coach of the year in two states, Nebraska and Alaska.
He coached teams in Hoonah and Tok before retiring to Skagway with his wife Betty. In Skagway, he mentored the high school teams and also served on the school board.
He was elected to the Alaska Athletic Hall of Fame for coaching and refereeing, and then for the Alaska High School Activities Hall of Fame for coaching.
The Alaska chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame nominated Hather, and he was then selected by the hall’s Board of Governors.
Betty Hather received the news in a letter dated Jan. 23.
“This award acknowledges that your life has been significant and you are leaving a benchmark and legacy that others are sure to follow,” wrote Lee Roy Smith, executive director National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Don Hather, who died last April in Skagway, will be honored at the 2013 state tournament in Anchorage.
He also was honored with his own wall at the Skagway School last year, and the district is now taking nominations for a new induction to the Don Hather Wall of Fame.
The wall is meant to honor a person or persons who have made exceptional contributions to the school district over several years. A one-to-two page nominating statement and a petition with at least 50 signatures from staff, students and community members is required for consideration. The school board will review nominations at its March meeting. – JB

Airk Cochran puts up a shot inside against Kake, and Jayce Ellis blocks a shot by alum Jaime Bricker. See more shots on the SHS Basketball Page. Jeff Brady

Panther teams regroup after long, tough POW trip

Boys throttle Kake; girls in hunt for second place

By JEFF BRADY

The Skagway High School basketball teams wrapped up their final homestand of the season this week and have one more away series before heading to region tourney.
In the past few weeks, the Panther squads completed a long road trip to Prince of Wales, and then returned for a pair of home series.
It all started at Thorne Bay, with the girls posting 42-20 and 40-9 wins, and the boys falling 47-37 and 45-37. Then the teams headed to Klawock, where the boys secured a big win, 47-46, but then fell 74-42.
The girls ran into a very strong Chieftains team that reminded coach Mark Jennings of the Panthers a couple years ago. The girls lost their first league games of the season, 64-37 and 60-16.
In the final games on the island, it was just the boys playing at Hydaburg. The first game went to overtime, with the Warriors winning 56-53, and the home team was more in control the second night in a 61-37 victory.
Jennings, who led both teams during the road trip, said the Skagway boys played some good games.
When they returned home, their progress was evident against a young Kake team. Skagway beat the T-Birds 58-15 and 58-20.
“We played really well against Kake,” Jennings said. “Danny Moore has really stepped up his game.”
Moore fired in 24 and 19 points in the two games. Also hot was KC Mayo off the bench. He hit three 3-pointers in the first game and added another in the second game. Zack Wassman led a great defensive effort, and Airk Cochran and Nick Ackerman were strong on the boards and getting inside shots on offense.
The only weakness was free throw shooting, and after the team made just 3-for-17 in the second game, Jennings said he “made them run.”
He said this week’s games versus Hoonah (played after this issue’s deadline) are huge, and the Panthers need victories to stay in the middle of the Southeast 2A pack.
The girls meanwhile had not played a real game since POW, having just scrimmaged the Yukon Arctic Winter Games team and an alumni team. They beat the Yukon handily, 39-20, but fell in a tight game with the alumni, 38-35.
Co-coach Lara Labesky said the team had a “reality check” in Klawock, but came back and worked really hard in practice “to get a handle on what went wrong.”
After a flat start against the Yukon, they had a good talk, made some adjustments, and executed in the second half, she said. Rori Leaverton led the Panthers with 19 points, and Anna Korsmo posted 17.
Then, during the alumni game, despite getting behind double-digits after a parade of long treys from former star Savannah Ames (23 points), the SHS team came back in the final minutes and almost forced overtime. Korsmo had the hot hand with 17 points, and Hannah O’Daniel hit for 10.
The girls also need wins over Hoonah, and then need to do well at Yakutat next week to snag second seed at region tourney. Labesky said they can do it.
“We definitely have improved,” she said. “After POW we came together as a team. We are stronger mentally and are better prepared to play against a tough team.”
See updated results from the Hoonah games on the SHS Basketball Page at www.skagwaynews.com.