By JEFF BRADY
KETCHIKAN - The Skagway teams earned the well-deserved Sportsmanship Award at the Region V 2A Tourney last week.
Sometimes this award is given as a polite nod for finishing last, but in Skagways case placing two teams high in the consolation rounds team hustle had a lot to do with the award, along with being good sports on and off the court.
The Skagway boys reached the semifinals by knocking off Kake in a one-point thriller, and gave eventual champion Hydaburg its stiffest opposition of the tourney. In the consolation final for third place, the boys were just out-manned by bigger Yakutat, and had to settle for fifth place.
Desiree Boswell battles in the paint with Klawock's Kaliegh Ryno in the 4th place game.-Scott Lesh
The Skagway girls had their highest finish at the tournament in many years. After falling hard to Angoon in the opener, the girls received a bye to the fourth place game and dismantled Klawock down the stretch to win its final outing of the season.
Im very pleased with this victory, said coach Gary Trozzo after the game. We came close in this game (for fourth) the last couple of years and were able to pull it off. Im very pleased for the girls and very happy for them.
It was a good way for the team to end the season. After a strong start, the team hit a lull in the middle of the season following a string of injuries the worst to senior guard Ashley Law. She sprained her ankle and then would recover, re-injure, recover, re-injure and never got back to 100 percent, Trozzo said. It also probably kept her off the all-conference team.
Her injury hurt us more than we thought it would, Trozzo said, putting too much pressure on Savannah (Ames) to score.
Trozzo said he is looking forward to next year. Ames made the all-conference team as a freshman, and the team will be welcoming more dynamic freshmen next season.
I just hope the girls stick with the program all four years, Trozzo said. You need that to develop the skills.
Skagway All-Conference players Kyle Ellis and Stan Bush use a pick-and-roll in the semi-finals.-Kristin Brown
Skagway landed two boys on the all-conference team. Senior Stan Bush earned it for his all-court hustle, along with the teams leading scorer, junior guard Kyle Ellis.
Boys coach Lee Hartson was pleased with his teams effort, but said the team also has set some goals for getting back to championship form.
I was really happy with the kids, said Hartson. We played really well. We easily could have won all three games and even had our chances against Hydaburg.
Hartson said Skagway just didnt have the point production it needed to stay with the top teams.
We didnt have enough scoring, he added. We played great defense and got the ball up and down the floor but we didnt have enough shooters and need to work better getting shots in a set offense.
Hartson has a plan to get the team to the top level. He met with the kids after the tourney, and they talked about going to team and position camps this summer, as well as trying to scrimmage weekly against the Yukon development team. Hartson said his project this summer will be developing 6-4 sophomore Thomas Knorr into a force in the post.
To get back to the championship level, we have to really step it up next year, Hartson said. I told the kids that for us to advance further than this, we have to play year-round (like other teams ... We need to shoot 100 free throws and play every day.
Panther boys 2A game reports from Ketchikan
Quarterfinals: Skagway 58, Kake 57
SKG- Ellis 15, Neitzer 12, R. Bush 11, S. Bush 7, Moore 4, Henry 4, Shockley 3, Ames 2; KAK- Anderson 23, Mills 14, Karam-Oko 13, Padgett 4, L. Jackson 3.
This game was billed as the best first-round match-up and didnt disappoint the fans, as it game down to the final ticks.
It didnt begin that way, however. Slow starts unfortunately have been the norm for the Panther boys this year, and in the tourney opener they fell behind 17-4 in the first five minutes under a relentless full-court press by the T-Birds.
Skagway finally settled down. Looking like Hannibal the Cannibal with a mask to cover his broken nose, Russell Bush hit a three-pointer from the wing at the 3:40 mark . It was Skagways first field goal and provided the jump-start the team needed. The Panthers reeled off 13 straight points to tie the game, getting some big buckets down low by Stan Bush and sixth man Aaron Netizer, and even took the lead briefly before Kake took it back, 20-19, at quarters end. The tempo would go back and forth the rest of the afternoon.
Russell Bush takes a floater in the Hydaburg- Skagway game.-Kristin Brown
Both teams were in early foul trouble, so relied heavily on their bench play, and this is where Skagway eventually would have the advantage. Skagways bench would outscore Kakes 19-4. Neitzer spelled Tyson Ames and got needed points in the paint, and Chris Shockley and Garrett Henry took turns subbing for Jerod Moore. Shockley made a statement to start the second quarter - Kake left him alone in the corner for a three-pointer, daring him to shoot it. He nailed it, and Skagway would cruise to halftime with a 36-29 lead. Kyle Ellis was able to penetrate the middle for three buckets and led the Panther scoring with 11 at the half.
The Panthers had more fouls than points in a stagnant third quarter, as Ames, Moore and Ellis picked up their fourth fouls. Skagway let Kake back in the game and the rest of the way would be a battle. Kake took the lead back 39-38 to start the fourth quarter, but Skagway responded and there would be six more lead changes. Moore fouled out with about five minutes to go, and Shockley got the call, holding his own in the backcourt with Ellis and Stan Bush, who spread the offense. Kake pressured the ball and thus allowed some nifty dump-ins to Neitzer or Russell Bush, who would combine for 14 points in the final minutes.
Kake stayed close with good penetration by guards Kyle Anderson, who had a game-high 23 points, and Cyrus Mills, who was 8-for-9 from the free throw line. Skagway actually got two breaks at the Kake charity stripe with about a minute to play. Co-captain Stan Bush had alerted the referees that Kake was entering the lane early on free throws, and on their next shots they were caught - twice. But the T-birds still grabbed the lead, 57-56 on a put-back by Malik Karam-Oko with 46 seconds left.
After exchanging turnovers, Skagway got the ball back and worked what Stan Bush would call a textbook offense. Neitzer got the ball on the high post, the defense collapsed on him, and he fed Russell Bush on the baseline for what would be the winning lay-up with about 15 seconds to go.
Kake still had a chance. On the last play, Anderson took it to the hole, but the Skagway defenders were there and his shot fell way short. The air ball bounced at least once off players before Stan Bush brought it down. He somehow managed, with three Kake players all around him, to get the ball out to his brother, who saw Shockley streaking down the court by himself, and hit him with the outlet pass.
Shockley then missed the lay-up - he claimed he was fouled from behind but it didnt matter. The Panthers had advanced to the semifinals, 58-57.
Semifinal: Hydaburg 62, Skagway 46
HYD- Peratrovich 18, Dar. Edenshaw 16, V. Edenshaw 15, Daniels 6, Dav. Edenshaw 5, Young 2; SKG- S. Bush 12, Moore 10, Ellis 10, Neitzer 8, Ames 5, R. Bush 1.
Skagway had the daunting task of taking on the second ranked 2A team in the state in the semifinal and hoped to find a way to get into the heads of the Hydaburg players, who if left unchecked, can score points in bunches. Hydaburgs George Peratrovich set the tone early with a three-pointer, but Skagway came back to tie the game 7-7 on a couple of buckets by seniors Stan Bush and Tyson Ames. A string of turnovers by Skagway led to seven Hydaburg points and the Panthers were down 17-11 after one period.
Skagway worked it inside to Bush and Neitzer to start the second quarter, but the Warriors answered every Skagway bucket, getting 10 first half points by smooth Darren Edenshaw. In the final two minutes of the half, Peratrovich drained two more treys and the Warriors stretched the lead out to 37-20 at intermission.
The Panthers could have quit. Instead of folding, they came out and slowed the tempo against the Hydaburg zone to start the second half, gradually chipping away at the Warrior lead with a balanced attack. A huge trey by Jerod Moore and a jumper by Neitzer cut the lead to 44-36 at the end of the third quarter.
Skagway had fought back within reach of the upset, but that was a close as the Panthers would get. Skagway had the lead down to 8 three times early in the quarter, as Hydaburg went back to a man-to-man. But the Panthers could never mount a big run to challenge for the lead, despite three-pointers by Moore and Ellis. Skagway was forced to foul late, and Hydaburgs Edenshaw trio converted on 8-for-11 as they built a 19-point lead with about two minutes to go and went on to win 52-46.
Skagway kept the high-flying Warrior offense on earth, drawing charges against Vinnie Edenshaw in the middle. Klawock could not stop the all-conference guard in the championship, and the Warriors rolled to an 18-point win in the title game.
Skagway fans give a standing ovation to the seniors in their final game.-Kristin Brown
Consolation final: Yakutat 64, Skagway 54
YAK- J. Endicott 21, Sensmeier 12, Johnson 8, D. Endicott 7, James 6, S. Endicott 5, Schmidt 5; SKG- Ellis 17, Moore 17, S. Bush 6, R. Bush 5, Ames 3, Shockley 3, Henry 2.
Skagway got its wish to play Yakutat on Saturday, only it was in the wrong game. Instead of the championship, Skagway faced the Eagles, a 57-55 loser to Klawock in the semis, for third place.
The Panthers, with a small front line, would have to find a way to keep the ball out of 6-5 center Jake Endicotts hands. But whatever Skagway tried, fronting him, double-teaming him, wasnt good enough to stop him in the paint. Endicott opened the game with two quick buckets, but Skagway answered with a trey by Russell Bush. After Yakutat went up by 11 behind two treys by Martin Sensmeier, Skagways Jerod Moore took control. His 8-point quarter kept Skagway close, 18-13.
Skagway opened up the second quarter with a big run, getting runners by Ellis, a follow-up bucket by Stan Bush, and treys by Moore, Shockley and Ames to seize the lead and go up by seven, 25-18. All this while Big Jake was resting on the bench. When he came back in mid-quarter, Yakutat was able to cut the Skagway lead to one, 30-29, at intermission.
Jerod Moore hand checks Bailey Johnson in the third place game.-Kristin Brown
The teams traded buckets much of the third quarter. Ellis showed no fear driving to the hoop and Skagways pressure was forcing lots of Yakutat turnovers. Still the Eagles were able to get the lead back and held a one point edge going into the final quarter, 41-40.
Skye Endicott, the region three-point champ, had been contained up to this point but buried a long shot to start the final quarter. Yakutat pounded it inside to Jake Endicott, and Dustin Endicott and Bailey Johnson scored some big buckets off the bench. Skagway converted buckets by Moore, Ellis and the Bush brothers to keep Skagway in reach, down by just four with three minutes to play. then for about two minutes, Skagway could not buy a bucket. The Eagles got a key play with about 2:25 to go. After missing the back end of a one-and-one, Jake got the rebound and put-back and was fouled. It was enough to pull Yakutat comfortably ahead. Coach Hartson called to his bench and Stan Bush the Skagway senior went out to a large ovation and a hug from his coach with 1:03 left.
The Eagles converted a couple more big shots, and it was over. Yakutat would win by 10, but Skagway definitely showed they could play with the big boys. Even though Skagway finished fifth, they were probably the third best team in Ketchikan and earned tremendous respect for their hustle. JB
Lady Panthers 2A game reports
Girls quarterfinal - Angoon, 52, Skagway 35
ANG- Joseph 20, Estrada 16, Kearns 6, Jamestown 4, Howard 2, Gamble 2, George 2; SKG- Ames 19, Law 6, Cr. Ketterman 4, Co. Ketterman 2, Ackerman 2, Boswell 2.
The Lady Panthers hung with the Eagles in the first quarter, almost matching baskets as Angoon took a 12-10 lead. Ashley Law, playing with an ankle splint, was about 50 percent, said coach Gary Trozzo, but would leave it all on the floor, scoring 6 points in the first half. Crystal Ackerman also got on the board early. Freshman star Savannah Ames coolly drained runners and jumpers but she picked up three fouls in the first half.
Skagways game plan had been to shut down Angoons inside game, and they succeeded on that front, however the Eagles backcourt stepped it up. Skagway had no answer for Angoon wing Melinda Joseph. A couple times she blew right by the hobbled Law, and knocked in 10 of her game-high 20 points in the second quarter. The Eagles went on a 10-0 run to open the period and maintained a 28-18 advantage at the half.
Skagway was flat coming out at halftime, getting just five points in the third quarter by Ames. Angoon, behind point guard Carmen Estradas 9 points in the third, stretched its lead to 45-23 going into the final period.
Skagway was not done, however. The Lady Panthers stepped up the backcourt pressure at the start of the fourth quarter and went on their own 10-0 run.
Savannah Ames with a baseline pull-up in the 4th place game with Klawock.-Scott Lesh
Skagways other freshman star, Crystal Ketterman, despite playing with four fouls, was in the faces of the eagle guards and forced a lot of bad passes. She also connected on a couple lay-ins and assists to Ames. Desiree Boswell and Colleen Ketterman also got some buckets inside, where they had been cold up to that point.
The Panthers almost got the Eagles lead down to single digits with four minutes to go. But over the next minute, Skagway would lose both Ames and Ketterman on their fifth fouls, and with it, much of the momentum they had mustered. The Eagles were able to pad the lead and win by 17.
High up in the stands, Yakutat coach Joe Klushkan took note of Skagways rattling of Angoon with pressure defense, and used that strategy to beat Angoon and go on to win the championship.
Girls consolation- Skagway 52, Klawock 44
SKG- Ames 36, Boswell 8, Law 4, Ackerman 3, Collecchi 1; KLA- Wangerin 19, Miller 9, Ryno 7, Johnson 4, Demmert 3, Webb 2.
The Lady Panther had been in this situation the past two years, playing for pride on Saturday morning and a respectable fourth place finish.
Klawock started out with a box-and-one on Savannah Ames and went out to a 5-0 advantage, but Skagway came right back with bucket by Ames, Ashley Law and Desiree Boswell. The teams then exchanged baskets before Klawock hit three free throws to go up 15-12 at the end of the quarter.
Law had to sit after picking up her third foul, but fellow senior Crystal Ackerman picked up the slack with a huge trey from the wing. Skagway began working the inside-outside game to perfection, getting good looks in the post from Boswell (she had 7 of her 8 points by halftime) and Ames knocking down the jumpers. Skagway went on an impressive 13-2 run to end the half up 29-26.
Despite having guards Law and Crystal Ketterman in foul trouble both picked up their fourth personals early in the third quarter Skagway kept the pressure on. Klawock had trouble getting shots, and Ackerman especially was a menace on the boards.
Trozzo said the team was relaxed at halftime and just talked about what they needed to keep doing. The result wasnt their usual third quarter jinx: Skagway would open up an 8-point lead to start the fourth quarter.
But the Chieftains werent giving up. Hot tourney shooter Stacia Miller had been kept quiet all game, but got two quick buckets, followed by two driving buckets by guard Natalie Wangerin to start the final period. Miller then put the Chieftains ahead 43-42 on a strong rebound after her teammate missed a free throw with about three minutes to go in the game.
Ashley Law throws up a rainmaker in the4th place game.-Scott Lesh
It wasnt looking good for Skagway, as Law fouled out at the 3:36 mark. During a Skagway time-out, Ames was on the floor with stomach cramps, but when she came back in, she was more than fine. Ames took over the game, converting a big three-point-play, and knocking down all her free throws. She had 13 of her incredible 36 points in the final quarter. The Panther defense kept Klawock from scoring in the final 2:51, as Skagway finished the game with another big run to win by eight.
Trozzo was extremely pleased for seniors Law, Ackerman and Kristin Brown, who played excellent defense. All three seniors stepped it up ... it was nice for them to go out with a victory. JB