J-High boys undefeated after winning Haines, Skagway tourneys

Girls bounce back to go 2-1 at home tourney, teams at Juneau Fast Break this weekend

Skagway’s Scott Lesh gets time to concentrate on the hoop before burying a baseline jumper, thanks to a solid pick by teammate Trevor Cochran on Juneau DZ’s Cirai Mason.

By STAN BUSH
The J-High Panthers played impressive during last week’s Skagway Junior High basketball tournament. The Panther teams went a combined 5-3 with the boys A team a 3-0 tourney winner, the girls team 2-1 and runner-up in their division, and the boys B team 0-2.
It is amazing what experience can do. The Panthers’ three veterans, Jordan Kasler, Scott Lesh, and Trevor Cochran are perfect complements to each other, dismantling opposing teams in their home tourney. It was even an improvement over their first place finish in Haines at the Paul Potter Tournament Nov. 23-24. They didn’t just run up the score, they executed an offense, showing both leadership and maturity while getting all members of the team involved.
“Scottie, Jordan, and Trevor play really well with each other,” said Mark Jennings, boys team head coach. “They are the nucleus of our team.”
In each game the Panthers were able to establish all facets of their game plan without any real struggle. Skagway was able to fight through double teams and hide some of their players in zone defenses. Jennings still has some concerns regarding the team’s next tournament in Juneau.
“I think that we’re solid enough to win the next tournament but not deep enough,” said Jennings. “The coach from DZ said that we have one of the best players in Southeast, but I think that we have the three best.”

Skagway's Michelle Harris (13) rips the ball out of the hans of Rigel Falvey after a first quarter shot.

The Skagway girls team also was able to turn some heads in the tournament. The Panther girls got their first wins of the season after a disappointing performance in Haines, with the stand out play of Candi Ketterman, Michelle Harris, and Leah Moore.
The girls took advantage of a Haines coaching move in the opening game of the tournament. Haines sat their starters for the first quarter and eventually paid for it in the end. The Panthers jumped to an early lead and never looked back. Even when Haines subbed in their starters, the spread was too much and the Panthers took the win. Final score 29-16.
Skagway played their way into the championship after holding off a late run by the DZ Wolverines 19-13. They would meet the Haines Glacier Cubs one more time. However Haines took a much more conventional approach to this game. The Glacier Cubs starting lineup ran early and often on the Panthers and were able to lock down Harris and Ketterman with good weak-side help defense and solid rebounding. In a game where the Panthers needed their second shot opportunities they got very few. Final score 34-13.

Leah Moore takes a floater across the lane in the Panthers win over the DZ Wolverines.

“I was pleased with how we played,” girls head coach Jeff Kasler said. “Some of our kids really stepped up.”
This week both Panther teams will enter in the annual Fastbreak tournament in Juneau. With a large number of teams attending this Jennings and Kasler are not sure of how their teams will play in this years tourney.
“We open against Ketchikan, and I really wish we didn’t,” Kasler said. “I think that we were seeded on the performance that our girls had last year. We hope to advance as far as we can without the pressure of trying to bring home a trophy.”

Net Results:

Girls championship game
Haines 34, Skagway 13. HNS-34: Falvey 14, Johnson 6, Spud 4, Jones 4, Potter 4, Lende 2; SKG-13: Moore 5, Ketterman 4, Harris 4.
Boys championship game
Skagway 53, Haines 36. SKG-53: Kasler 19, Lesh 16, Cochran 10, Beckner 4, Dennis 4; HNS-36: Stickler 14, Spud 8, Egolf 4, Kutzeck 4, Combs 2, W. Stickler 2, Stigen 2.

Photos by Kristin Brown

Teams at regionals this weekend

Wrestlers post more wins at Ketchikan, Juneau

The Skagway wrestling and volleyball teams will be in action at their respective region tournaments this weekend in Sitka and Hoonah.
The volleyball team has been practicing since its home tourney before Thanksgiving, but the wrestling team has been in action.
In Ketchikan, Skagway wrestlers teamed up with Kake to take on Southeast foes. The combined team managed to beat Mount Edgecumbe but lost to Juneau on the first day, still qualifying for the upper bracket on the final day, said coach Josh Coughran.
The team then lost matches to wrestlers from Kotzebue, Sitka and Klawock, but the Skagway wrestlers picked up some individual wins. Clayton Harris had three victories, and Jeremy Kilburn and Crystal Ketterman had one victory each.
Last weekend in Juneau, these wrestlers fared even better, “as good as they have wrestled all season,” said the coach.
Ketterman, who has improved her conditioning, went the distance in all three of her matches, including a dramatic 15-10 decision over a Ketchikan opponent, Coughran said.
In contrast, Kilburn posted the team’s quickest finish of the season with a pin over a Pelican wrestler just 22 seconds into the match. He also went the distance in his two tough losses.
Harris continued his steady senior season, with two wins over region opponents from Sitka and Juneau before falling in later matches to wrestlers from Valdez and Anchorage Christian.
“He’s in great shape and has the intensity” to make a run at State, Coughran said, adding that his other senior, Chris Shockley, also should be ready for this weekend’s Region V tourney in Sitka.
The Southeast region’s top six in each weight class will advance to State in Kenai the following weekend.
The SHS volleyball team needs to finish second or better at the region’s 2A tourney in Hoonah this weekend to qualify for a trip to State in Anchorage next week. – JEFF BRADY