‘Smart team’ completes season at State Tourney

Coach Lee “Toogie” Hartson gathers his team before hitting the court against Cook Inlet. - JB

State Tourney Notebook by Jeff Brady

ANCHORAGE – In spite of its sixth place finish, the Skagway High boys basketball team did carry away some major hardware at the State Tournament.
With its 3.584 team grade point average, the SHS boys were honored with the All-State Team Academic award.
“Check this out,” said a proud captain Jerod Moore, as he came off the court after accepting the trophy from Lieutenant Governor Loren Leman. “We are the smart team.”
And it was a Southeast sweep. The Kake girls, which took fourth place at the tourney, also were the girls All-State Academic award winner, with a 3.38 GPA.
Two of the smartest of the smart were also selected to the State 2A All-Sport team: Panthers Aaron Neitzer and Jeremy Kilburn.

Jarrett Brown drives hard on the base line agains Unalakleet.

Brown makes All-Tourney, All-State
Skagway’s Jarrett Brown finished the tourney tied with Hydaburg’s George Peratrovich for the most points (77 in three games) and the second best average (25.7 ppg). Nenana’s Clayton Edwin had a 28.5 ppg. average in his team’s two losses.
Brown made the All-Tourney team and went on to collect second team All-State honors from Alaska sportswriters. He just missed making first team with Hydaburg’s Peratrovich (2A Player of the Year) and Darren Edenshaw. With Brown on the second team was Vinny Edenshaw from state champ Hydaburg.
Brown, who transferred from Hoonah last summer, was grateful for his Skagway experience. He is back in Hoonah, having made a promise to his mom that he would return there to graduate after the basketball season, if she let him transfer to Skagway last summer, he said by phone this week.
He learned of the All-State selection from Skagway’s Savannah Ames. Of his experience in Skagway, Brown said, “It went pretty good, as good as I had hoped. My goal all through high school was to get to State.”
He just wished they had gone farther at State.
“We were all pretty sick,” he said. “That’s not an excuse, but I’m sure we could have played better if we weren’t coughing the whole time.”
Brown was the player of the game in Skagway’s loss to second-place Cook Inlet. A player from each team is selected. Scott Lesh was the Skagway player of the game in the victory over Tok, and Kyle Fairbanks received the honor for the heart-breaking loss to Unalakleet.

Skagway cheerleaders and diehard fans watch the team break the huddle before its final game on Saturday morning.

Reunion in the stands
Word of Skagway’s appearance at State Tourney spread through Anchorage, the Mat-Su and even up the Parks Highway to Fairbanks. The stands behind the Panther bench became Reunion Central.
Seen in the stands from the Anchorage bowl and Mat-Su, with families often in tow were: Tim Alderson, David Knapp, Tom and Kelly Selmer, David and Teresa Moore, Elizabeth Ruff, Dan, Mark and Crissy Tadic, Ann, Stephanie and Michael Eddy, Ken and Allison Nore, Big Ray Calver, P.J. Moore, Ross and Cheryl (May) Sullivan, and others.
Down from North Pole was Lorinda (Kasler) Wilkes and from Fairbanks, Kathryn Knorr.
And Ted VanBronkhorst, former math teacher and now principal at Aniak, came over from the 1A Tourney at East High, where his boys team took fourth, to wish the Skagway kids well.
All total, counting the fans that made the trip from Skagway, the Panther faithful filled a section of bleachers at Service High.
Alderson and Tom Selmer relived their State Tourney experience on the Service court, which almost mirrored this year’s sixth place Skagway effort, although the losses were much more painful. The entire team caught food poisoning before its 1993 tourney opener against Tri-Valley, rebounded to blow out Pt. Hope, and played most of its final game without Selmer, who broke his upper jaw and lost several teeth early in the final game.
“My state career ended right over there, two minutes into the game,” Selmer lamented, describing the incident in detail.
Skagway was playing Grace Christian, a private school that catered to some of Anchorage’s wealthier citizens.
“There were lots of dentists and doctors who came out of the stands,” Alderson said. “They helped Tom while we crawled around on the floor picking up teeth.”
Ten years after, Selmer says the new teeth that he received courtesy of that trip to State are holding up fine.

What the Dickens?
No turncoat suspicions, until Supt. hits border crossing
Incredibly, Unalakleet fans, upon seeing former teacher Michael Dickens, thought they could talk him into coming over to their side to cheer for the Wolfpack.
Not a chance, said Dickens, now the Skagway School superintendent.
“I taught all the (Unalakleet) kids who were playing,” he reported to the School Board March 31. “They tried to get me to sit with them, but I resisted.”
In fact, Dickens also wooed his daughter, who attends UAA, and her boy friend, over to the Skagway side to cheer for the Panthers.
However, the Unalakleet connection may have got Dickens in trouble on the way home.
After the long, 800-mile drive from Anchorage, the school superintendent almost didn’t get into Skagway, he told the board. It seems a new Customs and Border Protection inspector, who was unfamiliar with who runs the local school, was suspicious about Dickens’ Alaska Driver’s License – issued in the Bush years ago with the old state seal hologram.
A Skagway Police Officer had to make the trip up the hill to verify Dickens’ ADL.
“I’m lucky he recognized me, or I might have missed the board meeting,” he said.

Clockwise from top: Guard Kyle Fairbanks plays tough defense, staying in front of his opponent, Scott Lesh flies high for a jumper, reserves John McCluskey and Lucas Heger (34) trap a Tok Wolverine, and center Thomas Knorr puts up two after a big rebound.– Photos by Jeff Brady



March 27 - Cook Inlet Academy 70, Skagway 46: CIA- Hillyer 18, Peterson 14, Myers 12, Hall 10, Nettles 9, Franchino 6, Gabriel 1; SGY- Brown 22, Fairbanks 9, Moore 5, Lesh 4, Kasler 3, Heger 2, Neitzer 1.
Other scores: BOYS- Bristol Bay 60, Nenana 52; Hydaburg 84 Unalakleet 58, Point Hope 58, Tok 49. GIRLS- Bristol Bay 58, Tok 34; Unalakleet 44, Kake 34; Point Hope 67, Matanuska Christian 51; Ninilchik 55, Angoon 27.

March 28 - Skagway 67, Tok 50: SGY- Brown 32, Lesh 15, Fairbanks 8, Moore 6, Knorr 4, Neitzer 2; TOK- Thomas 10, Olson 9, Kraemer 8, Coulman 8, Rallo 5, Demit 4, Bernhardt 4.
Other scores: BOYS- semifinals, Hydaburg 75, Bristol Bay 58; Cook Inlet Academy 46, Point Hope 41; consolation round, Unalakleet 66, Nenana 54. GIRLS- semifinals, Unalakleet 53, Bristol Bay 42; Ninilchik 49, Point Hope 35; consolation round, Kake 49, Tok 39; Matanuska Christian 59, Angoon 50 OT.

March 29 - Unalakleet 62, Skagway 58: UNA- D. Towarak 17, Doty 13, Erickson 11, Johnson 7, Turner 7, M. Towarak 5, Ivanoff 2; SGY- Brown 23, Lesh 13, Fairbanks 11, Moore 6, Neitzer 3, Knorr 2.
Other scores: BOYS- championship, Hydaburg 59, Cook Inlet Academy 56; 3rd-5th place, Point Hope 81, Bristol Bay 53. GIRLS- championship, Ninilchik 44, Unalakleet 26; 3rd-5th place, Bristol Bay 57, Point Hope 53; 4th-6th place, Kake 50, Matanuska Christian 46.

For more information abou the State Tourneament, see the March Madness Alaska link at www.asaa.org