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

Bears beat Wrangell in final home games


January 30, 2020

Lori Giddings

Carson Crager hits a layup during this weekend's games against the Wrangell Wolves.

The Wrangell Wolves traveled north to Haines last weekend for a Region 5 basketball series and weathered the blizzard of 2020 in the friendly confines of the Haines school. The Wrangell girls won their two match-ups while their boys were defeated both nights by the Glacier Bears.

It was the last of four home series for the Glacier Bears and as tradition holds, the Haines community honored their senior basketball player, Kirby Faverty. Unable to play due to illness, Faverty helped coach his team from the bench and cheered as the young players of Haines gave fans a taste of what the future holds. At each of Friday night's halftime breaks, the elementary school ballers played exhibition games. In the varsity games, the freshmen stepped up. Eric Gilham led all scorers on Friday night with 16 while his classmate Luke Davis was the top scorer on Saturday with 14. For the girls team, six ninth-grade athletes continued to come of age on the court.

The girls teams faced off first each night. Wrangell had only six available players and four of them scored in double digits in the first game. Ashley Olsen led the way with a series-high 17 points and Wrangell went on to win 65-15.

The next night, the Glacier Bears came out and played their best basketball of the season so far. They spent the game trading leads with the Wolves and at the half trailed 19-16. They matched the Wolves in the third quarter with each team scoring 11. In the end, Wrangell pulled out the victory, 43-36.

Sadie Anderson managed to hold Olsen in check in the low post. She and her teammates denied the Wolves the easy buckets they had feasted on the night before. On offense, they showed a patient, balanced attack. Haley Boron finished with 11 points, Grace Godinez-Long, 7, and Anderson, 6.

Freshman Natalie Crager said the Glacier Bears brought a different attitude to the court on Saturday. "We were aggressive. We all bought in. (Coach) Coleman (Stanford) says if we all buy in, the plays will work and it did. It was awesome."

The boys were without their most potent scoring threat, but managed to play impeccable offense on Friday hitting 72% of their shots from the field. Gilham came off the bench early in the game and worked the baseline. When left open, he drilled a corner three. When the Wrangell 2-3 zone defense stepped out on him, he faked, dribbled, faked again and made strong moves to the hoop. He also drained his free throws. Asked about his performance, Gilham responded, "I was happy."

The Glacier Bear passing and shot selection paid off. Carson Crager scored 14 and Luke Davis hit three 3-pointers as they went on to win 56-39.

Before the boys took to the court Saturday night, they stepped up to the microphone to honor their senior captain. Coach Steve Fossman and junior teammates Crager, Mark Davis, Wesley Verhamme, and Jayden Hotch all delivered speeches. Co-captain Crager suited up in a penguin costume to pay tribute to his "partner in crime." While all spoke about Faverty's rise to become a star basketball player, most remarks were centered around his sense of humor and what a great teammate and friend he is. They wished him well on his way. Hotch concluded his remarks by telling his buddy, "Your future is so bright, it burns my eyes."

Lori Giddings

Alison Benda fights for the ball on the Haines home court.

The Glacier Bears went on to win the game, 52-34. Luke Davis hit four 3-pointers and scored 14. Mark Davis had 13 points, Crager, 11, and Gilham, 8. After Owen McPhetres came into the game and scored on a strong cut to the hoop, the point total for Glacier Bear freshman on the night was 24. "It was fun," McPhetres said.

Now that Haines has faced all of their divisional rivals at home, the Glacier Bears will hit the road for the second half of the regular season. First they'll head to Craig and Metlakatla on a four-game trip. Then they'll return home to prepare for another trip to Wrangell and Petersburg. After that, they'll have a bye week before travelling to Juneau for the Region 5 tournament, which tips off on March 13. There they will play for the right to represent Southeast Alaska at the state tournament in Anchorage.


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