By JEFF BRADY
The Skagway High basketball teams were on the verge of pulling off some major wins these past two weeks, but came up short in tight games.
Both head coaches for the Panther teams stressed the need to work more on end-of-game situations in practice, so their teams can finish strong and secure more wins.
After being undermanned in losses at Kake, the boys rebounded with two lopsided wins over Angoon.
Then, after a subpar opener versus Hydaburg at home, the Panthers put together one of its best starts of the year on Tuesday, Feb. 7, but gave up a 15-point lead going into the final quarter and lost a heartbreaker by three.
Boys coach Scott Lesh said he saw a lot of good things in the team’s final home-stand, save a couple of lapses on defense, some turnovers and forced shots.
“I felt like they played with the intensity they had in the fourth quarter yesterday for three quarters today,” he said after Tuesday’s loss, adding that he needs to prepare the team better for close games.
Though it was a heartbreaking defeat, he did not want his players to dwell on it, he added.
“The defense was really good; we just have to do it for four quarters. And buy into just getting shots on layups [when the game is tight]. All that stuff we can work on. I feel really good about where we are.”
The SHS girls meanwhile lost all four of its road games after leading in the fourth quarter of each game at Kake and Angoon. The final game of the series went to overtime, but the Panthers could not pull out the win.
Girls coach Paul Myers said his team knows what works well for them now.
“Since we’ve been back we have really focused on end-game situations, how to finish, whether we are up two or down three,” Myers said.
He said he feels the team is “in a good spot” as it prepares for a trip to Hoonah Feb. 13-14.
The boys will close out their regular season with the Hoonah games, while the girls will have a final home-stand against Yakutat Feb. 17-18.
“We are hungry to put on a good show at regionals,” Myers said. “All the games have been close, so we are right there.”
Next week’s away games will be streamed on a Facebook page.
Watch for information on Skagway Swap.