By Jeff Brady

For the News

The Skagway Lady Panthers are heading to the ASAA 1A State Tourney in Anchorage. After falling in the region championship game to Klawock, the girls rebounded for a tough 35-26 win over Hoonah in the second place game Saturday night. This earned them their second trip to State in three years.

The region tourney was in Ketchikan last week, and both Skagway teams made it to the final night’s games. The boys’ team reached the second place game the hard way after falling in the semifinal round to Klawock. They easily beat Hydaburg, and then dispatched Angoon in a Saturday morning game, setting up a rematch with Klawock that night. Skagway was down by 11 in the final quarter but came back to tie it and had two chances to take the lead in the final minute. Then Klawock ended up making a final wild shot at the buzzer that sank the Panther faithful’s hopes of sending two teams to State this year.

Several parents made the trip to Ketchikan, and many fans watched the live stream and listened to the KHNS broadcasts at home. Twelve-year-old Mason Jennings was on the call with a pair of veteran Ketchikan sports announcers and stole the show. He was entertaining and professional until it came time to run down and celebrate with the team (ESPN won’t allow that when he gets on with them some day – the kid’s that good).

Mason’s dad, coach Nate Jennings, was surely proud and even more proud of his team.

“It was extremely exciting,” coach Jennings said. “After that tough loss in the championship (won by Klawock, 43-38), it was hard to rebound and keep the girls’ heads in it, keep their spirits up to play again. Luckily (against Hoonah), we had some small scoring bursts in the second half and the defense held strong.”

Jennings was also thrilled to see senior Athena Smith win her fourth straight regional free throw contest (making 22 of 25), and getting a repeat win in the three-point shooting contest.

“I’ve been coaching her since the fifth grade, and I knew she would become the shooter she wanted to be,” Jennings said.  “It was gratifying.”

Sophomore Royce Borst of Skagway won the boys’ three-point contest, despite being hampered with a two-week-old ankle injury from practice that prevented him from playing until the final day of the tournament.

Borst made the all-conference team, and the Panther boys likely would have fared better if he had been at full strength. Fellow all-conference player Jake Sager, fresh off a sensational 50-point performance in his final home game at the end of February, shouldered a lot of the scoring in Ketchikan as well. He scored basket after basket in the fourth quarter in the finale against Klawock but missed on his last chance with four seconds left in the game (and probably got fouled, but it wasn’t called). 

Coach Ross Barrett said he was “super proud” of his team and playing well against an experienced Klawock team. “We were able to stick with them and it came down to the last few shots. Jake had a fantastic game and a great season.”

Borst’s injury was unfortunate, Barrett noted, but he was able to come back and help. The coach credited bench players for stepping up to get them to that final game for a shot at State.

“We had a great season, a fun season, and I’m already looking forward to next year,” Barrett said.

Senior Ava Myers and junior Lennon Jennings made the all-conference team for the girls. Myers was knocked to the floor a lot by Hoonah but kept getting up and was a key to the win. Jennings fired in some big shots, but it was eighth grader Millie Myers who led the Lady Panthers in the finale with 15 points.

Skagway will learn whom they play at State next week during a selection show on Sunday. The ASAA/First National Bank Alaska State Basketball Championship 1A tourney is March 13-16. Check for updates and live streams at and listen to the games on KHNS, even if Mason is not on the call.




Feb. 28 – First round Skagway 52, Hydaburg 10. Panthers led by Millie Myers 15, Ava Myers 11.

Feb. 29 – Semifinal Skagway 29, Kake 18. Skagway broke out to 11-4 lead, but Kake closed to 21-16 at half. Great defense by Skagway to hold T-Birds to just 2 points in second half. Balanced team scoring: M. Myers 9, Kaitlyn Tronrud 7, Athena Smith 6, A. Myers 5, Lennon Jennings 2.

March 1 – Championship Klawock 43, Skagway 38. Skagway jumped out to a 17-10 lead and was up by three at the half, and seven after three quarters. But the Panthers didn’t make a field goal in the final quarter and lost that lead. Ava Myers led the SHS scoring with 11 points.

March 2 – Runner-up Game: Skagway 35, Hoonah 26. In a tough, rugged defensive battle (just 7-7 after 12 minutes), Skagway finally got the offense going to lead 14-8 at half and 21-14 after three quarters. Hoonah cut it to 29-26 late but Millie Myers and Kenadie Cox closed out the win at the free throw line. Myers 15, Cox 6, and Jennings 6 led the scoring.


Feb 28 – First round Skagway 69, Gustavus 27. It was over early after a 10-0 Panther start, and the mercy rule kicked in with Panthers up 40 with six  minutes to go. Skagway led by Camden Lawson 21 (he hit a trey in each quarter), Jake Sager 14, Caleb Cochran 12, Landon Rodig 12.

Feb. 29 – Semifinal Klawock 59, Skagway 51. Skagway jumped out to a quick lead but Klawock’s press eventually wore them down and the Chieftains took control of the game in the second quarter. The Panther shots just weren’t falling. Klawock pushed the lead out to 20 in the third quarter before Skagway made a late run to make it closer.

March 1 – Losers round Skagway 64, Hydaburg 44: Skagway broke the game open in the second half after leading by just six at the half.

March 2 – Losers round semifinal: Skagway 56, Angoon 37. Another solid second half finish by Skagway after leading by nine at the half. Borst was back in the lineup for limited minutes.

March 2 – Runner-up Game: Klawock 53, Skagway 51. This was a tight game from start to finish with several lead changes in the opening quarter. Klawock looked to take control going up 10 in the second quarter, but Skagway closed it to two at the half. After going down by 11 early in the fourth quarter, Skagway roared back after a steal by Lawson, good free throw shooting by Borst, and three straight driving buckets by Sager to tie the game. Skagway had the ball with 11 seconds left but could not convert. With four seconds left, Klawock barely got the ball in and got it to Jason Skan in the corner for the game-winner at the buzzer. Sager led all scorers with 20, Rodig had 11, and Lawson added 10.