Panthers Nick Ackerman, left, and Airk Cochran, right, converge to knock a ball loose from a Porter Creek Ram in action on Dec. 15. In the background are Polly Brown and Trevor Cox. Jeff Brady

Skagway Panthers coed team opens season with two wins

By JEFF BRADY

Skagway High will have just one basketball team on the floor this season, a coed group that likes to run and already knows how to win.
With only about 15 kids in the high school this year, there were not enough students for a girl’s team, but two veteran girls have joined the boys and one is starting.
The Panthers, under new coach Kent Fielding, have a starting five consisting of seniors Airk Cochran at power forward and Polly Brown at small forward; juniors Zack Wassman at shooting guard and Nick Ackerman at center; and freshman Trevor Cox at point guard.
Coming in off the bench are senior Jake Grieser and sophomore Hannah O’Daniel, along with two eighth graders, Colton Belisle and Alex Ackerman. Skagway was able to plead a hardship case to the Alaska School Activities Association due to the low enrollment, which allowed the team to have eighth graders play varsity. The team also hopes to add junior Donovan Henson after the holidays for a full squad of 10 players, a decent size team for a 1A school.
That’s the other big change. Skagway and all the other small schools in Southeast have moved from the 2A classification to 1A. If they make it to State as one of the top two small teams in Southeast, they will be in a new 16-team 1A state tourney field.
Before the season opener on Dec. 14-15 against a junior varsity team from Porter Creek in the Yukon, Fielding said he did not know what to expect.
“We’re still rounding out the team, and it will be a series of rebuilding years,” he said.
But then the team really took it to the Rams, winning 48-13 and 50-9.
“It was a good start, I guess,” Fielding said after the lop-sided season openers. “We did really well on defense and some of the offensive plays seemed to work. I was glad to get everybody in and we tried to get everyone to score. It almost worked today. We’ll see what happens in Juneau.”
The team’s next outing was a tournament at Thunder Mountain on Dec. 20-22, but only seven players were making the trip during the school holiday period. Watch for score updates in the SHS Basketball Page on the News website.
The team will be at full strength when it hosts the Don Hather Tournament Jan. 11-13 (see schedule in WP&YR ad on page 4). Then they host Klawock Jan. 14-15 and Thorne Bay Jan. 21-22.

NET RESULTS
Dec. 14 - at Skagway 48, Porter Creek JV 13: SGY- Wassman 16, Cochran 10, N. Ackerman 8, Cox 7, Brown 3, Grieser 2; PCJV- Klassen 7, Lee 4, Jensen 2. SGY 18-6-9-15=48, PCJV 4-2-0-7=13.
Dec. 15 - at Skagway 50. Porter Creek JV 9: SGY - Cochran 15, N. Ackerman 9, Cox 8, Wassman 7, O’Daniel 4, Brown 3, Grieser 2, Belisle 2; PCJV - Masson 3, Lee 2, LeFebre 2, Ouimet 2. SGY 17-11-18-4=50, PCJV 0-2-3-4=9.

UPDATE: The Panthers were 1-2 at the Thunder Mtn. tourney. See scores and updates as the season progresses on the 2012-13 SHS Basketball Page.