Crystal Ketterman breaks free from an Angoon wrestler during the Southeast Tourney where she took third place and advanced to State. Photo by Klas Stolpe, Petersburg Pilot

Crystal Ketterman pins opponent at State Meet

Senior wrestler Crystal Ketterman not only made it to State meet this year, she won a match.
In her opening match at the 1A-2A-3A Tournamet in Seward on Dec. 9, Ketterman was pinned by Ramon Ponce of Nome in the fourth minute. This dropped her into the consolation bracket, where she scored her victory, an impressive pin of Josh Keeling of Anchorage Christian School at the 2:08 mark of the match.
Ketterman said she was mad after losing the first match and “tried to give it my all.”
She then went the distance in the next match but was decisioned by Shauna Hageman of Eieleson, 12-4.
“I felt like I could have done a lot better,” she said. “I was a little overwhelmed, but it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I was just happy to be there.” – JB

Volleyball team drops two matches at State

The SHS volleyball team’s first trip to a state tourney in over a decade resulted in a couple of early losses, but the team gained valuable experience, said coach Becky Jensen.
“We did get on statewide TV but we were nervous,” she said. “We couldn’t get in control.”
Skagway, the Southeast 2A runnerup, faced defending state 1A-2A-3A champ Barrow in its opener on Dec. 9. After losing 8-25, the Panthers bounced back for a 25-19 win. But Jensen said they just couldn’t get a momentum and lost the next two games and the match 19-25 and 9-25. Audrey Neitzer was the player of the game for Skagway.
In the loser’s bracket, Skagway next faced 1A Koliganek, which defeated the Panthers in three straight (12-25, 18-25, 16-25). Jensen said the Panthers got confused with some of the whistles on the next court, where the Mixed 6 tourney was being held.
Senior Savannah Ames was the player of the game and also was named to the All-Tournament team. Five-time Southeast 2A champ Hoonah got to the semifinals before losing to eventual state champ Dillingham.
Jensen loses just Ames and foreign exchange student Florence Schlageter from this year’s team. “If everyone comes out, we should have a strong team again next year,” she said.

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J-high teams fall to big schools
The Skagway junior high teams were unable to post any victories at the annual Fast Break Tournament in Juneau Dec. 10-11 but played well against bigger schools, said their coaches.
“It was good to play tough competition, they improved a lot,” said boys coach Mark Jennings.
The boys played top seed Ketchikan twice, Floyd Dryden’s A team, Juneau Christian and D-Z, all of which played eighth graders. The Skagway boys had no eighth graders, but even when they were being blown out, they never quit hustling, Jennings said.
Girls coach Lara Labesky said the teams they faced were “way bigger.”
The first game was hard, she said, but as the games went on, they steadily improved. Against top seed Ketchikan, Skagway played them better than other teams, losing 26-13. “I’m real pleased with how we played,” she said.
The girls landed Paige Hahn on the all-tourney team, and also won the team sportsmanship trophy.

Varsity teams get ready for season
This year’s varsity basketball season should play out similar to last year’s for both girls and boys teams.
The girls, the defending Southeast 2A champs, are expected to make another run at State, while the boys are still rebuilding and hope to surprise some teams.
Working to improve on last year’s 15-5 record, the Lady Panthers have their sights on not only taking region again but doing better than the fifth place finish at State last season.
With the entire team back, all the elements are in place. The girls are led by two all-conference senior guards, scoring machine Savannah Ames and defensive standout Crystal Ketterman. As well, returning junior starters Candi Ketterman, Audrey Neitzer and Tiffanie Potter are scoring threats, Michelle Harris is the most feared sixth player in the league, and a good corps of freshman have been added: Teslyn Korsmo, Allie Doland, Erica Harris, and Sierra Moran.
“Everyone is really motivated and excited for the season to start,” Labesky said.
Knowing they are good, the key for the team will be to stay focused night after night. “We can’t let our guard down,” the coach added. “Other teams will be gunning for us.”
She expects Yakutat to be tough competition again for the Southeast 2A title. One thing that will help this year, Labesky said, is having an assistant on the bench. Alexia Afzali will be her “second set of eyes,” she said.
The Skagway boys lost three seniors from last year’s team and are down to just eight players to start the season, but coach Jennings said they are motivated to play good defense and improve on last year’s 4-16 record.
Leading the team will be senior forward John McCluskey, who is “coming in with a different attitude,” and junior guard Trevor Cochran, who probably will be pressed into playing point. Injuries unfortunately have hampered Cochran, but he is a potential all-conference performer and hopefully will have a breakout year. Sophomore Makeah Twitchell is the only other returning letterman.
Joining the team this year are exchange student Kahled Jezini, sophomore Trevor Van Houten, and freshmen Lachlan Dennis, Jake Henricksen, and Tom Littlefield, who is a great leaper.
“It’s still a rebuilding year,” Jensen said. “They play good defense, so that will be our focal point coming out. If we keep the score down, we have a chance to win and stop some teams.”
Jensen said Hoonah should be the team to beat in league play. Three-time defending champ Hydaburg did not have enough players for a team this year.
The annual alumni games are scheduled for Dec. 30 beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the season starts with the Don Hather Tourney the following weekend. During the tourney, the Skagway teams will face the Juneau JV team, and Whitehorse’s Porter Creek and Vanier. Hoonah’s boys and girls teams, the Hydaburg girls, and Thorne Bay boys will play those teams as well. After the tourney, Skagway will play the Hydaburg and Thorne Bay teams Jan. 10-11 at home to begin league play.