Sophomore Madison Cox (24) drives the lane for a score in Skagway’s big win over Yakutat on Feb. 18. PHOTO BY JEFF BRADY

By JEFF BRADY

As they head into next week’s Region V Tournament in Ketchikan, Skagway High’s basketball teams are getting motivated to answer the call.

The girls and boys teams finished the regular season in fourth and fifth place respectively, but were moving in somewhat opposite directions. The girls team posted wins at Hoonah and at home versus Yakutat, while the boys stumbled against an improved Hoonah squad. The two Skagway head coaches like their chances in next week’s tourney, which starts on Wednesday, March 1. The fifth-seeded boys will face Kake at 10 a.m., followed by the fourth-seeded girls against either Hoonah or Yakutat.

Watch for updated brackets and game times on The Skagway News’ Facebook page. Games will be aired live on KHNS.

The Panther girls rose to a fourth seed with their four straight wins. Coach Paul Myers was extremely pleased with how his team responded in practice after four close losses earlier this month, and then made it count in game situations last week.

He said the difference was “allowing them to believe in themselves, allowing them to challenge themselves, and then being able to know that if we challenge them, it’s okay to make a mistake. They’re not going to get punished.”

Myers said this new approach by co-coach Savannah Ames and himself “has made a world of difference, especially with their shooting.”

The girls aren’t worrying about missing shots; they just keep shooting and more are going in the basket.

“Restoring their confidence has been the No. 1 key factor with how good they are playing this year,” Myers said.

The boys were upset with themselves after falling to a pesky Hoonah team last week in a rough road series, but they are primed to face Kake again in the tourney opener. Although they lost at Kake a few weeks ago, they did not have the team’s top scorer, Ethan Goebel, in those games.

Coach Scott Lesh said it will be a big difference with Goebel in the line-up and playing on a neutral court.

His prime focus, as it has been all season, is having his kids healthy and keeping them in shape. He said he has been able to migrate from working on basic fundamentals to more difficult sets “and the finer points of the game.”

Lesh credited his three seniors – Alex Ackerman, Colton Belisle and Goebel – for wanting to be leaders, putting the time in at the gym and helping out the younger kids.

“The seniors have done a really good job of being leaders and coming together and will continue to lead the team as best they can,” Lesh said.

During Senior Night on Feb. 18, Myers also spoke highly about his upper-class team leaders: Hailey Jensen, Delaney Rau and Kiara Selmer, as well as manager McKenna Rau.

NET RESULTS (games through Feb. 18)

GIRLS (6-6 league, 9-9 overall)    

Feb. 13 – Skagway 55, at Hoonah 28: (scoring unavailable)

Feb. 14 – Skagway 28 , Hoonah 14:  SGY- K. Whitehead 12, Jensen 7, Cox 4, Rau 4; HNH- A. Skaflestad 7, L. Skaflestad 6, Williams 2, Michel 2. SGY 6-5-4-13=28, HNH 2-2-4-6=14

Feb. 17 – at Skagway 37, Yakutat 23: Cox 21, E. Myers 5, Rau 5, Selmer 4, Jensen 2; YAK- Jensen 14, H. Lekanof 6, Paige 3. SGY 8-10-9-10=37, YAK 2-7-6-8=23.

Feb. 18 – Skagway 41, Yakutat 24: SGY- Cox 17, E. Myers 14, Jensen 5, Selmer 3, Rau 2; YAK- Jensen 16, Paige 6, H. Lekanof 2. SGY 12-17-8-4=41, YAK 0-9-7-8=24.

BOYS (4-8 league, 7-15 overall)

Feb. 13 – at Hoonah 55, Skagway 28: (scoring unavailable).

Feb. 14 – Hoonah 61, Skagway 28: HNH- Lafferty 15, White 15, Wright 7, Budke 6, Devlin 6, Leatkins 5 (some missing); SGY- E. Goebel 13, Ackerman 6, Brady 4, S. Myers 3, C. Belisle 2. HNH 11-13-20-17=61, SGY 4-11-2-11=28.