Basketball coach Kent Fielding talks about his seniors (left to right) Polly Brown, Nick Ackerman, Airk Cochran and Jake Grieser, during the Panther’s last home game of the season against Yakutat. Katie Emmets

Panthers drop two at 1A Tourney

By JEFF BRADY

The Skagway High Panthers finished the season with a 9-17 record after dropping its final eight games, including some close contests on the road and at the region tournament in Juneau last week.
The highlights for Skagway came during some of the contests. Hannah O’Daniel won the girl’s free throw contest, and Airk Cochran finished second in the boy’s. Representing Skagway on the all-conference teams were three members of the Skagway co-ed team, Polly Brown and Hannah O’Daniel on the girl’s team and Trevor Cox on the boy’s team.
Skagway would have liked a better finish on the court to close out the season.
The Panthers’ home finale was spoiled by Yakutat Feb. 22-23 as the Eagles won 66-34 and 57-34. It was the final home games for seniors Brown, Cochran and Nick Ackerman.
The team then hit the road where they played close games against both Angoon and Kake, but lost all four. Angoon won 55-48 and 44-40, and Kake prevailed 51-38 and 40-37.
This dropped the Panthers down to seventh place in the league standings and pitted them against Yakutat in the first round on March 6.
The Eagles jumped out to a 16-0 before Skagway got on the board with a three-pointer by Cochran and a nice shot by O’Daniel. However Skagway had trouble with the Yakutat press and was down 43-13 at the half and 54-19 after three quarters. Cox, Cochran and Donovan Henson made some good shots in the final quarter to cut into the lead, but Yakutat prevailed 60-31. They would go on to face Klawock in the finals, which Klawock won. Kalen Klushkan and Josh James had 14 apiece to lead a balanced Eagle offense.
Skagway was led by Cochran with 12 points and Cox with 8.
Skagway dropped to the double elimination bracket in its next game versus another recent foe, Kake. This game was much tighter, and Ackerman and Cochran had huge games for the Panthers in what would be their final high school contest.
After falling down by 6 early, Ackerman made a big 3-point play to put Skagway on the board, and a runner by Cox made it 6-5. But Kake’s Charles Jackson answered for his team and the T-birds were up by six again at the end of the quarter.
Polly Brown made a big 3-pointer in the second quarter to keep Skagway close, but they had trouble getting closer than five or six points. Then one of Skagway’s playmakers, Zach Wassman went out with an ankle injury and never returned.
Skagway was down 28-20 at the half and kept trying to chip away at the lead in the second half. Cochran had a big third quarter, and Ackerman a bigger fourth quarter, but Skagway never got closer than five on three occasions. Final score was 60-53.
Ackerman led Skagway with 20, while Cochran tallied 18 and Cox 9 to lead Skagway. Kake scoring was not available.

UPDATE: See more scores and stats at: 2012-13 SHS Basketball Page.

ALeft, Airk Cochran fakes a pass before dribbling around a Yakutat defender in the Panthers first tournament game. Right, Zack Wassman gets off a shot before a Kake player could get to him in the Panther’s second tournament game. Katie Emmets

J-High boys win Haines C division

The Panther junior high teams wrapped up their season Feb. 22-23 at the Triple Threat Tourney in Haines, with the Skagway boy’s team taking the C Division.
The boys were undefeated in four games, topping Haines 31-22, Juneau Hooptime Blue 27-23, Hooptime Red 39-29, and Hooptime Blue again in the championship game, 42-31.
Eighth graders Nathaniel Leggett, Alex Ackerman and Colton Belisle were the big scorers for Skagway.
The girl’s team opened with losses to Hooptime Blue 14-11 and Hooptime Red 30-14, but they then were able to notch their first win of the season.
With a huge performance by eighth grader Hailey Jensen and some big shots by seventh grader Kara Whitehead and sixth grader Madison Cox, the Lady Panthers beat Haines 28-6.
They then fell to Hooptime Red 43-25 in their final game.
The teams were coached by Reid Lawson and Jimmy Cook. – JB