January 27, 2011 |

Bear girls shut down Wrangell, lose 2 to Skagway

Not unlike the tugboat they rode in on, the 2A state champion Skagway girls’ basketball team powered into Haines this week. The Panthers notched impressive and rare victories against the cross-canal rival Glacier Bears during non-conference games Monday and Tuesday.

The Bears led by as many as 13 points Monday, until a run by the Panthers late in the third period put them ahead. Like the champions they are, the visitors never lost their composure, holding their lead in the final quarter and winning 55-52.

Panthers’ outside shots didn’t drop in the first half but they just kept shooting and the ball found the hole. Their patient approach to offensive sets was fun to watch. Unafraid to throw the ball the length of the court, the Panthers surprised the Bears with quick buckets. Squad talent seemed evenly matched but Skagway shot better.

Skagway scoring: Jesse Ellis, 17, Kaylie O’Daniel, 15, Anna Korsmo, 11, Rori Leaverton, 11, Kaitlyn Surdyk, 1. Haines scoring: Abby Jones, 22, Amey Messerschmidt, 10, Syerra Braaten, 7, Riley Erekson, 5, Hannah Wing, 4, Jolene Lemieux, 2, and Ashley Messerschmidt, 2.

The Panthers took early control Tuesday, never surrendered the lead, and won 49-38. With playmaker Hannah Wing out with a sore ankle, the Bears made costly turnovers in the open court, and as their emotional barometer fell, their play degraded and Skagway’s lead increased.

Skagway double-teamed Jones, who still managed 17 points. Braaten had 9, Young, 4, Ashley Messerschmidt, 3, Jacobson, 3, and Amey Messerschmidt, 2. Skagway scorers included Ellis, 25, O’Daniel, 13, Leaverton, 9, and Korsmo, 2.

O’Daniel has a very quick first step and Ellis played the best high school girls’ game that I’ve seen since Mary Hertz played here. Good luck Panthers, stay healthy and win state again!

"Fire and ice" was how Haines girls’ coach Brian Elliott described his defensive strategy for shutting down Wrangell Wolves offense at Karl Ward gym last weekend: Play defense with fire, then cool down to score in transition.

Haines led at the end of the first quarter Friday, 16-2, and Saturday, 27-5. The two periods were reflective of the series, as a full-court, Haines defense led to many open-court layups.

Elliott held that pressure through the third period in both games. A mercy rule that keeps the clock running after a 40-point gap in teams’ scores was triggered early in the third period both nights. Haines rebounding was like watching a bear walk in on a wolf kill.

On Friday, sophomore Braaten came off the bench for injured starter Marnie Rasmussen and became the second-highest scorer with 11 points, behind senior co-captain Jones, who scored 23.

Juniors Wing and Amey Messerschmidt had 7 each; sophomores Erekson and Alisha Young, 4 each; sophomore Karli Spud, 3, and junior Ashley Messerschmidt, 2. Final score, 61-30.

The Wrangell girls scored 21 of their 30 in the second half and 13 of those in the final period after Haines’ pressure eased. Mikayla Stokes had 12, Erica Smith, 7, Kayla Rooney, 6, Brianna Schilling, 2, Alyssa Allen 1, Shayna Schultz, 1, and Courtney Haggard, 1.

Saturday night’s contest was over early. Elliott kept more of the junior varsity girls suited up for this game and subbed early and often to give his 14 players a chance to play different roles. Final, 62-22.

Haines scoring: Wing 14, Braaten, 10, Erekson, 10, Jolene Lemieux 7, Ashley Messerschmidt, 7, Jones, 5, Young, 4, Amey Messerschmidt, 3, and Grace Jones, 2. Wrangell: Wright, 8, Buness, 7, Merritt, 4, Rooney, 2 and Allen, 1.

Haines JV also won both contests as five of the six freshmen on the squad scored their first points at home in front of family and fans.

In Wrangell, the Haines boys lost three of four to the Wolves. "We continue to have trouble getting the ball up the court against pressure defense," said coach Steven Fossman. Wrangell has three accurate shooters, and teammates followed their lead with "shots dropping in all around."

Friday night’s score was 64-33. Junior Tyler Swinton led all scorers with 17. Other Haines scorers were Devin Braaten, 5, Brandon Haxton, 5, Justin Swinton, 4, and Eric Klinger, 2.

On Saturday, Wrangell expanded a 20-13 first-quarter lead to an 80-48 win. Haines scorers were Tyler Swinton, 21, Haxton, 11, Parker Schnabel, 5, Austin Badger, 5, Logan Simpson and Braaten, 2 each.

"The team is learning and getting stronger and we are looking ahead to this week’s games here at home against Craig," Fossman said. "Craig split a series with Wrangell and it will be good to play them on our home court."

Haines JV lost the first game 60-45 but added a varsity player for two quarters Saturday to win a shoot-out, 71-63. Senior Nathan Piper had 20 in the two games, followed by sophomore Chris Olsen, 18, freshman John Gross, 18, freshman Justin Swinton, 17, sophomore Patrick Henderson, 16, freshman Chris Turner, 11, juniors Schnabel and Simpson, 6 each, and sophomore Caullen Taylor, 4.

Most Glacier Bear home games are now broastcast live on the Internet. Go to

www.hbsd.net to find the link.

DIANA: The below 2 graphs will likely be cut.


I asked freshman Gracie Jones what her favorite part of the game was and she unhesitatingly said "rebounding!" Sophomore Jess Giddings set the pace after rolling her ankle early in the 1st game then playing full steam ahead the rest of the 2 games. Not scoring in the 1st contest and fouling out Freshman Libby Jacobson led the team in scoring the 2nd night and had the Ever ready batteries charged as she never let up, ever.

Fridays’ score 40-24. Young 8, Jones 8, Giddings 7, Spud 7, freshman Jamie Messerschmidt 4, freshman Polly Bryant 3, junior Anna Jacobson 2 and freshman Coral Bauer 1.

The Wolves surprised the Bear Cubs Saturday night and led 25-20 at the half. Young led the Bears comeback with 8 in the 3rd when Haines went on a 35-8 rampage to put the game way out of reach. Final, 55-33. The game went almost 2 hours and there were 65 free throws shot! Jacobson 13, Young 12, Jones 10, Giddings 6, Bauer 5, Bryant 3, Messerschmidt 3, Anna Jacobson 2 and Spud 1.