Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

By Don Nash 

Flashy Sitka hoops squads blast past Glacier Bears


January 20, 2011

The Haines boys’ varsity basketball team took early leads in games against Sitka last weekend, but succumbed to the more experienced Wolves both nights.

Haines guards had trouble with Sitka defenders at midcourt, and the team continues to struggle with its inside game.

The Glacier Bears looked like they were clicking on all cylinders Saturday, leading 17-10 by the end of the first and building to a 12-point margin.

But showing poise that recently took them to the championship round of a California tournament where they beat larger schools, Sitka clawed back. Michael Matz hit five treys and Luke Clayton made 19 points in the last three quarters and the score was tied by halftime.

The Wolves walked away with a 63-46 victory.

On Friday, after leading 10-9 after the first period, the game slowly got away from the Bears, who lost 63-45. The Wolves shot 24 of 29 free throws in the two games.

On Friday, Bear junior Austin Badger had 15, junior Tyler Swinton, 12, junior Devin Braaten,7, juniors Brandon Haxton and Logan Simpson, 4 each, sophomore Caullen Taylor, 2, and junior Parker Schnabel, 1. Wolves scoring: Clayton, 24, Bae Widmier, 9, Mik Potrzuski,7, Devin Romine, 6, Matz, 6, Cole Venneberg, 4, John DeLa Cruz, 4, Johnny Partido, 2, and Bridger Williams, 1.

Bears scoring Saturday: Swinton,15, Taylor,12, Haxton, 8, Braaten, 6, Badger, 3 and Schnabel, 2. Sitka: Matz, 17, Widmier, 10, Romine, 9, Potrzuski, 7, DeLaCruz and Venneberg, 2 each.

The JV games were hard fought and well played matches that turned Sitka’s way both nights. Friday it was 70-55 and Saturday, 73-42. Freshman Devin (Tyrone) Light led the scoring with 29 for the 2 games. Taylor had 17, freshman Justin Swinton, 15 in two quarters, sophomore Chris Olsen, 11, sophomore Patrick Henderson, 10, freshman John Gross 7, senior Nathan Piper, 4, and freshman Kai Sato- Franks, 2.

In girls’ games, after defeating the 2010 3A state champion Mt. Edgecumbe Braves Thursday in a nonconference game by 15, the Lady Bears lost to third-ranked Sitka by seven on Friday and by nine on Saturday.

"We talked about the intimidation factor of playing a larger school," said coach Brian Elliott, but it was clear from the start that the team let it affect their play. Sitka also is a "much better team already than they were last year," Elliott said.

Junior Marnie Rasmussen poured in 19 points against Edgecumbe but suffered from foul trouble and played less than half the games against Sitka.

Haines girls led Sitka 20-19 at the half Friday, but the Wolves outscored the Bears by eight in the second half to win, 47-40. Haines scoring: senior Abby Jones,13, sophomore Riley Erekson, 6, junior Amey Messerschmidt, 6, junior Hannah Wing, 4, senior Jolene Lemieux, 4, sophomore Syerra Braaten, 3, junior Ashley Messerschmidt, 2 and sophomore Alisha Young, 2. Sitka soring: Sariah Ady, 14, Richelle Ramil,12, Stefania Potrzuski, 8, Hunter Huddleson, 7, Karly Fuller, 5, and Katina Wathen, 1.

"Saturday night we got into a big hole," Elliott said. Sitka went on a 13-0 run to start the game.

"The girls did a great job of battling back and trailed by four, 39-35 at the end of the third. They lost 61-52. "They just couldn’t sustain the energy it took to overcome that early run," Elliott said.

Jones carried the Bears with 28. Wing had 14, Erekson and Rasmussen, 3 each, Lemieux and A. Messerschmidt, 2. Sitka: Potrzuski,15, Huddleson 15, Ady 13, Wathen, 6, Fuller, 4, Ramil, 3, Phippen, 2, Mudry 2 and Widmark, 1.

"We are a different team with Hannah back and we will only get better," Elliott said about out the return of point guard Hannah Wing.

With games against Wrangell this weekend and defending 2A state champions Skagway on Monday and Tuesday you can come to the gym and see for yourselves how good they are!

Weekend "C" games provided an uplift at the boys’ games, where new faces and improvement was evident.

Freshman Gross went from five points in the first game to 16 the second. Classmate Chris Turner went from a scoreless first game to scoring five points the following night, including 3 of 4 from the line. Chevy Fowler and Franks showed promise as shooters and ball handlers.

Freshman James Morgan and sophomore Martine Goldberg had to defend and rebound against bigger opponents and learned valuable lessons. "C" game scores were 58-18 Friday and 50 -29 on Saturday.



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