SENIOR NIGHT MOMENTS – Top, boys coach Mark Jennings talks about seniors Blake Fletcher and Danny Moore, and below seniors Jayce Ellis and Anna Korsmo hug their moms. Rori Leaverton, not pictured, also was honored. See more shots on the SHS Basketball Page. Jeff Brady
Skagway teams ready for regionals
Girls open with Hoonah, boys will face Klawock in opening round
By JEFF BRADY
Both Skagway High basketball teams will be in action on the first day of the Southeast Region 2A Tournament next Wednesday at Mount Edgecumbe High School in Sitka.
The girls finished the regular season with a 6-4 conference record to land them in third place, while the boys finished 5-9 in league play to earn them the tourney’s sixth seed.
The Lady Panthers will play at 4:30 p.m. against either Angoon or Hoonah. Those two teams played this weekend and the outcome will determine whom Skagway will draw.
The Panther boys will play Wednesday at 8 p.m. against Klawock, the third seed in the boys bracket.
Coach Mark Jennings this week said he likes both team’s chances, despite the recent setbacks at Yakutat.
After sweeping Hoonah in their home finales, the Panther teams were shut out of wins in Yakutat to end the regular season. See complete results on the SHS Basketball Page on our website.
Jennings, who co-coaches the girls with Lara Labesky, said he likes having to play on the tourney’s first day, versus having a bye.
“If you’re sitting around waiting (an extra day), your legs get cold,” he said.
The Lady Panthers shouldn’t have a problem with either first round opponent, having knocked off both Angoon and Hoonah by large margins this season.
Next up likely will be Yakutat. The two rivals went “toe-to-toe” last week, with Yakutat nudging ahead down the stretch and making their free throws after Skagway was forced to foul.
“They are a lot like us, having lost three starters (from last year’s teams that met in the region and state championship games),” he said.
He said playing on a bigger court also should help Skagway, noting that the Lady Panthers are in really good shape. He said they will just need to “show the fire” to get back to State.
That would mean getting to the championship game against top seed Klawock on Friday night, and winning, or knocking off Yakutat twice in the double elimination format.
The Lady Panthers will have their chances to advance, and so could the boys.
Even though a lower seed, the Panther boys are excited about playing Klawock in the first round, Jennings said. They split with the Chieftains on the road a month ago.
“If we can shut down Klawock’s best player, we can do it,” Jennings said.
But the team may have to go without senior floor leader Danny Moore, who is battling a knee injury that was aggravated at Yakutat. “We’re not sure if we’ll have him for regionals,” Jennings said.
If they win the first game, then their next opponent would likely be Hydaburg, a team they took to overtime before losing on the road.
Then Yakutat would likely await in the championship, and they look strong with a mix of veterans and good young players that play pressure defense.
“Yakutat’s not big, but they are in your face,” he said. “If we are more disciplined about breaking the press, we can do a lot more. We’ll look at the tape and work on fundamentals.”
Tourney games will be aired on KHNS. Check updated schedule and results on our web pages next week.