Glacier Bears’ hopes quashed at tourney
John S. Hagen
Haines High students Elena Horner, left, Chevy Fowler, middle, and Kyle Klinger right react to game play as the Boys basketball team plays their second game at regionals in Ketchikan on Thursday, March 1. Isaac Wing is pictured in the back.
Both Glacier Bear basketball teams met similar fates in Ketchikan last week, routing Wrangell and then falling in the next two contests to end their seasons.
“I don’t know if it’s easier to get beat by a bunch or by a one-possession game, but we played well,” said boys’ coach Steve Fossman. “We were really close, and it’s unfortunate we didn’t make it to state, but somebody’s got to go and somebody’s got to stay home.”
The girls suffered a one-point loss, in a 34-33 defeat to Mount Edgecumbe that was their season finale. Scoring totals in that game included senior Hannah Wing, 10; junior Riley Erekson, 8; junior Alisha Young, 7; senior Ashley Messerschmidt, 4; senior Anna Jacobson, 3; and senior Amey Messerschmidt, 1.
Coach Brian Elliott said the loss was crushing, but “getting blown out would have been worse.” He said four late turnovers hurt.
The second-seeded Haines boys opened with a 75-50 win over Wrangell. Senior Tyler Swinton, who led scorers, also scored more than half the team’s points (15) in a 27-24 loss to Mount Edgecumbe. Other scorers were senior Parker Schnabel, 4; senior Devin Braaten and junior Chris Olsen, 2; and senior Brandon Haxton, 1.
“(Mount Edgecumbe) basically stalled, but the game was really close, and we had some opportunities in the end,” Fossman said. “We also had some really unfortunate, bad breaks at the end of the game that didn’t go our way.”
The Braves went on to earn a state berth, along with Sitka, the regional champions.
The Glacier Bears’ state hopes were dashed with a 51-47 loss to Craig in the double-elimination tournament.
Tyler Swinton again accounted for more than half the team’s points, tallying 26 and 17 rebounds. Justin Swinton, Schnabel and senior Logan Simpson added 5 points each; Haxton had 4 and Braaten, 2.
The fourth-seeded Haines girls started the tournament by besting Wrangell, 48-32.
Haines then lost to eventual champion Sitka, 56-40. Craig also advanced to state.
Coach Elliott said the girls did “an excellent job” breaking Sitka’s pressure, but they got into foul trouble. The Wolves’ post players had more success in the second half after Haines moved out of a zone defense to speed up the game, he said.
Amey Messerschmidt scored 12 points, Erekson, 11; Wing, 7; senior Marnie Rasmussen, 3; Anna Jacobson, Ashley Messerschmidt and Young, 2; and Libby Jacobson, 1.
Elliott credited the play of Erekson and Young off the bench throughout the competition, and said Anna Jacobson “brought her best basketball of her four-year career at this tournament.”
Tyler Swinton and Wing earned All-Conference recognition and are looking to play at the college level.
Elliott said his team will have to put in a lot of work during the summer to be ready for next season. Haines will drop down to Class 2A, with Craig, Metlakatla and Wrangell.
“Our entire starting line-up for the tournament is graduating, so that opens up opportunities for some of the younger players.”
Justin Swinton will be the boys’ lone returning starter. “We’ll be a different team, definitely,” Fossman said.
Haines again won the regional championship’s sportsmanship award at the tournament.