Skagway guard Thomas Etue, left, makes a behind the back pass in mid-air to forward Nick Ackerman for a layup against Angoon last month, and Kaylie O'Daniel soars for a floater in the lane. The Panther teams play their final homestand of the year next week against Kake. The seniors will be honored on Thursday night. Jeff Brady

Skagway girls take command of region
Boys thump Thorne Bay, can’t handle Klawock, nip Hydaburg on long trip

 The Skagway varsity teams were nearing the end of a long road trip as this issue hit deadline. With just two contests left on the eight-game trip, the girls had stretched their unbeaten streak to 21, while the boys had lost just twice on the trip.
The two teams opened at 3A Petersburg on Feb. 2 and had no problem with the Vikings’ junior varsity squads. The next night, the same was true in a scrimmage against the PHS varsity teams. The girls won 53-41 and the boys prevailed 53-35.
Then it was on to Prince of Wales island, where the crowds and calls are often unforgiving. The schedule was strangely split up, with the teams taking on Thorne Bay for one game, then moving on to Klawock for two games in three days, and then heading back to Thorne Bay.
Thorne Bay was no match for either Panther team. The girls won big, 64-16 and 69-31. By the end of the first quarter on Tuesday night, with a 29-6 lead, co-coach Mark Jennings was going to his bench. And those players got lots of points. Kayla Henricksen had two outstanding games, knocking in three-pointers and hitting double-figures.
Boy’s coach Chris Wassman also got to tap his bench, as his team rolled to 54-32 and 67-20 wins. Quinn Weber was the three-point machine in the final contest against Thorne Bay.
Over at Klawock, however, it was a different story. The gym was packed and the boy’s games especially were described as “foul fests” on the radio. Skagway kept it close in the first game. The teams were tied 19-19 at one point in the second quarter, but Klawock then kept stretching its lead behind guard Rick Carlisle’s 35 points to win 71-54. In the second game of the series, Skagway got in early foul trouble and fell behind by more than 20 at halftime, and the Chieftains did not let up, winning 81-41.
The Lady Panthers were challenged early by Klawock in both of their contests, but Skagway went on huge third quarter runs to put both games away, 52-33 and 49-21. It was sweet revenge, of sorts, against many of the Klawock girls who beat the Lady Panthers in the region and state volleyball championships in December.
The Skagway girls, with a solid 10-0 league record, secured top seed in next month’s region tourney. They still had non-conference games at Craig mid-week to try to stay unbeaten. The boys bounced back against Hydaburg Wednesday 58-54, and had one more game against the Warriors to keep their hopes alive for a number two seed at tourney. Check the SHS Basketball Page at www.skagwaynews.com for results of those games.
The Skagway teams return to play their home finales next week against Kake on Feb. 17 and 18.

J-HIGH TROPHY HAUL – Front row, Hannah O’Daniel, Jade Cook, Zack Wassman, Donovan Henson; middle row, Zoe Wassman, Yasha Saldi, Elena Saldi, Trevor Cox, Alexandra Weber, Aidan Klupar; back row coach Michelle Carlson, Taylor Carlson, December Hayes, and coach Rick Ackerman. Mark Saldi

Yasha Saldi makes a pass to Zack Wassman against Juneau. Mark Saldi

Junior High teams win divisions in Haines

 Skagway’s junior high basketball teams went undefeated at the Haines Triple Threat Tourney at the end of January.
The girl’s team posted a 3-0 record and the boys were 5-0 in the C Division bracket.
Coach Rick Ackerman said it was an impressive showing, especially since there were just seven girls and five boys on the Skagway teams.
“After two months of working hard, I’ve never seen them come together and play as well as they did,” he said. “You knew it was going to be good when Yasha (Saldi) opens up with a 20-footer that hits nothing but net.”
And it got better for both Skagway squads, as they knocked off teams from Haines and Juneau.
“The girls were incredible,” Ackerman said. “Hannah (O’Daniel) took it to the defense and was able to handle open court pressure. And December (Hayes) kept putting balls back up and in.”
O’Daniel was the MVP of the C Division, and Jade Cook also was selected to the All-tourney team.
The boy’s squad was led by MVP Zack Wassman and All-tourney selection Donovan Henson.
Ackerman said the highest compliment that they could have received came from a Juneau coach who tried to beat them any way he could. After Skagway beat both his squads, he asked if he could combine his teams’ best players for the championship game. And Skagway beat them too.
“The kids were just incredible,” Ackerman said.