March 28, 2013 | Volume 43, No. 12

Klukwan recaptures Masters title; LaRose named MVP

In a rematch of last year’s championship game, Klukwan took back the Masters division title at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday, dominating Kake, 63-35.

Klukwan held a slim lead at halftime before falling to Kake in the 2012 title contest. This time, the Masters held a 29-16 margin at intermission and continued pouring on points in Juneau.

Jeff Sharnbroich tallied 15 points for Klukwan, followed by Joe Parnell with 11 and Rob LaRose with 10. LaRose, of Whitehorse, was named the Masters bracket’s most valuable player. He has been a regular at Gold Medal and the Dick Hotch Memorial Basketball Tournament.

Haines High School boys’ basketball coach Steve Fossman joined the team this year and boosted it. Fossman hadn’t played in the tournament for several years and said Klukwan’s “good, full roster” was a reason he returned.

He had six points on a pair of 3-pointers in the championship but did most of his damage in Klukwan’s first two games, including draining eight treys against Juneau Alliance.

“When you’re a little bit older, you don’t feel like driving to the basket as much,” Fossman remarked. He made the all-tournament team, along with LaRose and Parnell.

“He must have listened to himself coaching all those years, because he plays real well,” Parnell said. “He doesn’t mess up.”

Also scoring in the championship for Klukwan were Chris Wassman, 8; John Hill, 6; Frank Coronell, 4; Guy Tompkins, 2; and Don Nash, 1.

The 3-0 Masters also topped Hoonah.

Klukwan coach Larry Sweet in an interview with the Juneau Empire credited the team’s guard play and Parnell’s defense on Kip Howard, a Gold Medal Hall of Famer. Sweet also said it was “a great feeling” to bring a Gold Medal trophy back to Klukwan for the first time since 2008.

The bulk of Howard’s 20 points for Kake were when the game was out of reach.

“Was I a rock wall that thought I was a man, or was I a man that thought I was a rock wall? I don’t know, but I was a rock wall when they came into me,” Parnell said.

Gold Medal seemed vulnerable to a Chilkat Valley sweep as of last Thursday, when three local teams made the semifinals in their brackets. The Haines Merchants in “B” and the Klukwan Chilkats in “C,” though, couldn’t get the third win needed to advance to championship play, and each finished with a 2-2 record after losing on Thursday and Friday. The Klukwan “B” team posted a 1-2 record and was eliminated last Tuesday.

The Merchants fell to Angoon, 98-64, and then Hydaburg, 77-69. Angoon went on to defeat Hydaburg, 109-99 for the title. Kyle Rush made the all-tournament team for the Merchants, and Tyler Healy earned the Sportsmanship Award.

The Chilkats lost to Hoonah, 92-68, and Hydaburg, 90-76. They trailed Hydaburg by 15 early in the second half before storming back to grab a narrow lead, but couldn’t sustain their pace. David Buss and Stuart DeWitt were all-tournament honorees for Klukwan. The team played without Andrew Friske, the top scorer and most valuable player at the Dick Hotch tournament in February.

Hoonah pounded Hydaburg, 88-66, in the title game, officially ending Kake’s seven-year championship streak. The Chilkats handed Kake one of its two losses on the way to elimination.