Coaches praise ‘coachability’ of Wassman, Henson, O’Daniel, Cook; Panthers wrap up regular season, 1A region tourney next week
By JEFF BRADY
The Skagway School honored senior student-athletes Zack Wassman, Donovan Henson, Jade Cook and Hannah O’Daniel during a ceremony between the last home games of the season on February 22.
Coach Kent Fielding took the mike first.
“The good thing is we only have two seniors; the bad thing is who those seniors are,” Fielding said, noting that he coached Wassman and Henson in three sports and had taken a lot of trips with them.
“They are two great guys to coach, because they actually listen and do what you ask them to do, and it’s one of the reasons we’ve been playing so well this year,” he added. “They’re coachable. They also have a sense of humor, but they’re dedicated.
“Zack is the only person I have ever known to get thrown out of a game for smiling.”
Fielding said he will miss Wassman’s quickness and 3-point shooting, and then moved on to praise his most improved player, Henson, who had an outstanding series in the wins over Angoon.
“Donovan has improved so much since last year,” Fielding said. “He did not want to be the post (player), but I told him I had Trevor (Cox) and Zack and I don’t know where you’re going to play. He took it to heart and has really worked on his inside game. I can’t tell you how proud I am of him for how he’s played.”
After the players presented flowers to family members and waved to the camera for those watching the live feed, girls’ team co-coach Courtney Mason took the mike.
As with the boys’ team, the team she coaches with John O’Daniel also has just two seniors, Jade Cook and Hannah O’Daniel.
“Since the onset of our season, it’s been pretty obvious these two were going to have a very pivotal role on this team,” Mason said. “They are the only two girls on our team to have any former experience playing high school basketball. They were asked to assume some pretty big leadership roles, and each of them has done a very nice job.”
Even though she hasn’t coached them for very long, she said it has been an honor.
“The best quality about these two is their coachability, and that’s one of the biggest compliments you can pay an athlete,” she said.
Cook has become a scoring threat for the team, and “it has become pretty evident that you don’t want to mess with Jade down in the post,” Mason said, adding that she appreciated Cook’s “ability to be a leader, cheering on her teammates, staying focused, and communicating.”
Mason said she “asked a lot” of O’Daniel this season and the team has gone to her on both offense and defense and expected big things from her.
“Hannah takes her role very, very seriously, and I’m very proud of her.”
The Panther men continued their winning ways with a home sweep of Angoon. The first win was pretty easy, 69-47, but the next night was a battle. Even with three starters fouled out, the Panther boys prevailed, 60-51.
The Lady Panthers looked strong in the first game, winning 33-24 over Angoon, but stumbled in the second game, losing 42-26.
The two teams were in Yakutat early this week and were swept by the Eagles. On Monday, the boys were beaten on a last second shot at the buzzer, 57-55, while the girls had troubles with the Eagles press and fell 53-29. On Tuesday, the girls fell by a similar margin, while the boys took another close game into overtime before losing by about 8 points. Final scores were not available at press time.
The boys finished the regular season with a 9-5 conference record, while the girls are 8-6. Seeding will be determined this weekend for the 1A Region Tourney in Ketchikan March 5-8.
UPDATE- Boys are the third seed, and the girls finished fourth. They open play March 5. Games will be aired on KHNS and streamed live through a link on the school web page. Keep up with results and scoring on the SHS Basketball Page on the News website. Zoe Wassman also will be blogging for our Facebook page.
UPCOMING VARSITY SCHEDULE
March 5-8 Regionals at Ketchikan
March 15-19 State at Anchorage