The Skagway High boys basketball team poses after accepting their second place trophy in Juneau. - JB

Panther boys take second at Regionals
Earn trip to State with big win over Kake

The Skagway High boys basketball team travels to Anchorage this week for the First National Bank-Alaska State Activities Association 2A basketball championships - its first trip to State in four years.
While the Panthers did not win the Region V 2A championship last weekend in Juneau, they opened with a 52-29 win over Hoonah and then dismantled Kake in the semifinal round, 70-46, to earn one of the coveted berths at State. Skagway took the runner-up trophy with a 86-74 loss to top-ranked Hydaburg in the finals (see game reports in 3-28-03 issue).
The Skagway teams ferried home Sunday, and the boys had a day of rest and doing laundry, before heading out again on the ferry. They flew to Anchorage Wednesday, and their opening game against Cook Inlet Academy was scheduled for 8:45 p.m. on Thursday. If they won, they play in the semifinal game Friday at 8:45 p.m. against either Pt. Hope or Tok. All games are played at Service High School, with the championship scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Saturday.
Games will be aired on KHNS. For a complete tourney bracket and to follow results, go to the ASAA Website:
On the ferry ride home from Juneau, Skagway boys coach Lee Hartson said his team played well the entire tournament. With one more game under their belts than Hydaburg, they just didn't have the springs to keep up with the Warriors in the title game.
"We had a big victory over Kake," Hartson said, but noted that the tough semifinal takes a lot out of a team as you try so hard to win that game to get to State.
His biggest praise came for his four senior starters.
"The seniors did an excellent job throughout the tournament," he said, from Jerod Moore's hustle to kill a Hoonah comeback, to Kyle Fairbanks and Jarrett Brown's point production, to Aaron Neitzer's huge defensive game to shut down Kake's Shane Padgett. He also credited freshman Scott Lesh's deadly three-point shooting for"putting us over the top against Kake, and valuable contributions off the bench from Thomas Knorr and Jordan Kasler.
"I'm proud of every one of them," he said, citing their off-the-court behavior as well, which drew compliments from the Travel Lodge staff in Juneau.
State tourney is always something of a mystery, since 2A teams rarely get to see opponents outside their regions. Hartson likes this team's chances better than the other team he took to State in 1999, because it can ring up more points.
"The kids are hungry and relatively healthy," he said. "I like our chances of getting to the semifinals, and anything can happen after that."

Clockwise from top, Don and Betty Hather cheer a bucket by the Panthers; Jarrett Brown leaps over everyone for a jumper versus Hydaburg - he made all-conference with Kyle Fairbanks and Jerod Moore; Scott Lesh puts up a one-hander in the lane against Kake; and Aaron Neitzer blocks a Hydaburg shot. - Photos by JoAnn Lesh and Jeff Brady.

March 20 - Skagway 52, Hoonah 29: SGY- Brown 17, Lesh 12, Moore 10, Fairbanks 5, Neitzer 4, Knorr 2, Kasler 2; HOO- Bowen 12, Moritz 9, Kveum 6, D. White 2.
Other scores: Klawock 60, Yakutat 55; Kake 90, Angoon 44 .

March 21, Semifinal - Skagway 70, Kake 46: SGY- Brown 19, Fairbanks 17, Lesh 17, Moore 8, Knorr 6, Kasler 3; KAK- Padgett 14, J. Jackson 8, Knudsen 6, Mills 5, Demmert 5, L. Jackson 3, Ashenfelter 1.
Other scores: semifinal- Hydaburg 90, Klawock 55; consolation- Hoonah 51, Angoon 48.

March 22, Championship- Hydaburg 86, Skagway 74 : HYD- Dar. Edenshaw 30, Peratrovich 23, V. Edenshaw 20, Dav. Edenshaw 11, Frank 2; SGY- Brown 23, Fairbanks 17, Neitzer 15, Lesh 6, Knorr 6, Moore 4, Kasler 3.
Other scores: consolation final: Kake 73, Klawock 62; consolation runner-up Hoonah 71, Yakutat 57.

Lady Panthers settle for third place
Kasler sets stage for next year's title run
Skagway's girls basketball program has taken a long time to get back to the top half of the region. But the Lady Panthers are definitely there, finishing a strong third this year, a notch up from last season.
It could have been even higher. Skagway had the misfortune of having to play powerful Kake in the semifinal round, and saw their dreams of a trip to State crumble. But they bounced back to easily take care of Klawock in the consolation final and are poised for bigger prizes next year.
The team loses just one senior, Colleen Ketterman. All five starters - two sophomores and three freshman - will return next season with a mission to win a championship.
Skagway's two sophomores, Savannah Ames and Crystal Ketterman, were named by coaches to the all-conference team. Ames, the best guard in the region and a prolific scorer, was honored for the second time. But it was Ketterman's selection for her defense that pleased her coach the most.
Kasler, ending a 20-year teaching career – including 17 as a coach of either the boys or girls teams or activities director at Regionals – was given the honor of presenting all of the post tournament awards to players. He gave Crystal a big hug when she came forward to receive her medal.
"I always ask her to go out and guard the the toughest players," Kasler said. "She never gets and easy assignment. It was great to see her recognized for that along with Crissy Morris (Kake guard), kids who don't score a lot of points."
But for Skagway to improve next year, Kasler said, Ketterman and her teammates will have to take more open shots and work on their fundamentals in the off-season.
"The future is bright," he said. Next year's team, with the addition of a couple more players from the junior high ranks, will have the kind of depth and star power Kake had this year, he added.
"If the girls get serious about it, the championship should run through Skagway next year," he said, although the region will be tough.
Kasler said the best part of coaching in his final year was just being around a great bunch of girls.
"I've never had so much fun as this year coaching these girls," he said. "They came to practice and worked hard. There were no discipline problems, no attitudes. They were a coach's dream.
"The hardest thing about leaving is this team. They are almost like daughters to me."

For complete 2A Tourney game reports, pick up a copy of the March 28 edition

Clockwise from top, Crystal Ketterman goes spread eagle to knock away an inbounds pass, showing why her defense earned her all-conference honors; coach Kasler gathers his team during a time out; all-everything Savannah Ames goes up and under a Klawock foe; and Skagway cheerleaders Kortney Downen and Britanie Schneider pump up the Skagway crowd in Juneau - photos by Jeff Brady

March 20 - Skagway 60, Hoonah 32: SGY- Ames 34, Ca. Ketterman 10, Harris 7, Neitzer 3, Potter 2, Cr. Ketterman 2, Co. Ketterman 2; HOO- B. Skaflestad 13, K. Skaflestad 7, Peters 4, Hinchman 4, Wright 3, Yandell 1.
Other scores: Klawock 49, Hydaburg 42; Angoon 54, Yakutat 41.

March 21, Semifinal- Kake 61, Skagway 33: KAK- Knudsen 40, R. Jackson 6, Earnest 5, Ekis 4, Shaquanie 4, Gregory 2; SGY- Ames 17, Ca. Ketterman 11, Potter 3, Co. Ketterman 1, Harris 1.
Other scores: semifinal Angoon 49, Klawock 37; consolation: Hydaburg 46, Yakutat 44.

March 22, Consolation Final 3rd Place- Skagway 41, Klawock 30: SGY- Ames 23, Cr. Ketterman 6, Harris 5, Potter 4, Ca. Ketterman 3; KLA- Anderson 7, Wangerin 6, Nelson 5, A. Demmert 4, Ryno 4, Neece 2, C. Demmert 2.
Other scores: Championship- Kake 76, Angoon 48; Consolation 4th place Hydaburg 40, Hoonah 39.