Boys undefeated, girls looking for more league wins
By JEFF BRADY
The Skagway High School basketball teams are off to a good start. Both teams opened the season with wins over Hoonah at home and swept Yukon foes during the Don Hather Tournament. They wrapped up the first week’s frenzy of home games with good showings against Kake.
The boys are undefeated in league play, while the girls’ team is having ups and downs so far in conference games. Both teams head out on a big road trip to Prince of Wales Island next week.
The boys’ team, playing with focus and determination, is complementing its speed with knocking down shots. They defeated league rivals Hoonah (53-35, 59-30) and Kake (58-28, 49-33), and Whitehorse’s FH Collins (57-38), Porter Creek (55-33), and Vanier (49-40).
“The team’s goal for the beginning of the season was to sweep those first seven,” said coach Kent Fielding. “Vanier and FH Collins have some pretty good coaches and we knew that they’d be tough. Kake beat us in two close games last year and we knew that they were scrappy and had three good shooters. Overall we had three different leading scorers (Trevor Cox, Zack Wassman and Dominique Foote) and all members of the team had multiple double-digit scoring games. I think I’m most impressed with their willingness and desire to play as a team. They have a team identity.”
The girls’ team started off strong with a 40-25 win over Hoonah on opening night, but they stumbled in the next game, losing 28-25 to the Braves. After an early morning practice to make adjustments, they rebounded with a big win in the DHT over FH Collins (30-27) and dispatched Porter Creek (39-10) and Vanier (27-21). They then had a rough first game against Kake, losing 45-21, but improved in the next game with a strong second half in a 35-28 loss.
Girls team co-coach John L. O’Daniel said he is happy with how they are playing, even with the ups and downs. While watching the girls so far has been akin to being a Dallas Cowboys fan – he mentioned “Romo-Coaster” – it should be expected for a group that did not play last year.
“We figured it would happen this season since they did not play last year,” O’Daniel said. “I told them our success will depend on how we work through thsese lows. After the Hoonah loss and laying an egg the extra practice the next day at 6 a.m. paid off (with the DHT wins).”
He added that after having a hard time with the press in the first Kake game, they did a much better job the second night. Moving forward, they are working on another press break to use against Klawock next week, as well as getting more players involved in shooting the ball. Senior wing Hannah O’Daniel so far is the team scoring leader, but forwards Zoe Wassman and Jade Cook need more touches.
Despite the roller-coaster season so far, the girls are showing up to work and are ready to learn.
“As the season goes on, we will break down each part of the game and make adjustments,” he continued. “By regionals, no one will want us on their side of the bracket,” he said.
The boys also will face one of their toughest tests of the season at defending state champ Klawock next week. The Chieftains return their entire starting lineup.
“For the Prince of Wales trip, we are working on offensive movement without the ball, adding a few more offensive plays (maybe a different offensive set), and shot selection,” Fielding said. “We took some shots that were just not good looks. We’ll also have Trysten Burnham on this trip – this adds a different element to our team.”
The teams play at Thorne Bay Jan. 28-29, Klawock Jan. 30-31, and Hydaburg Feb. 1-2.
Most games will be aired on KHNS and streamed on the internet through the school’s web page, www.skagwayschool.org.
UPCOMING VARSITY SCHEDULE
Jan. 28-29 at Thorne Bay
Jan. 30-31 at Klawock
Feb. 1-2 at Hydaburg
Feb. 10-11 Haines (girls) Feb. 17 Haines (boys)
Feb. 21-22 Angoon
Feb. 24-25 at Yakutat
March 5-8 Regionals at Ketchikan
March 15-19 State at Anchorage
Watch for results and updates on the SHS Basketball Page on the News website, and follow the team’s page on Facebook.