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

Glacier Bear Boys take second at regional tournament

State tourney cancelled due to coronavirus outbreak


March 19, 2020 | View PDF

The good news for local sport fans is that for the second year in a row the Haines Glacier boys’ basketball team has qualified for the state basketball tournament. The bad news is that there will be no state tournament as the fear of spreading the COVID-19 virus prompted the Alaska School Activities Association to cancel its marquee event. ASAA announced last week that the tournament would be postponed before cancelling the event on Saturday.

The decision brought the Glacier Bears’ season to a premature conclusion and ended the high school basketball career of Kirby Faverty, the lone senior. Faverty remained positive however, “We’re pretty disappointed, but we understand what they’re doing and what they’re preventing.”

Haines earned its state berth by winning two of three games at the Southeast tournament in Juneau. They started off facing the Metlakatla Chiefs, with whom they had split their season series, each team winning by slim margins on their home court. The teams squared off in the first round on March 11. Metlakatla jumped out to an early lead and was up 20-17 at halftime. The Glacier Bears outscored the Chiefs 14-8 in the third quarter to take the lead and scored 17 more points in the fourth to come away with a hard fought 48-40 win. Faverty scored 18 points, Carson Crager, 12, Mark Davis, 10, Luke Davis 3, Wesley Verhamme, 3, and David Strong, 2.

In Friday’s championship Haines faced the division-leading Petersburg Vikings, a team that was widely considered a favorite to win state. The Glacier Bears managed to keep the veteran Viking squad off-balance for most of the game by switching back and forth between several different full- and half-court defensive looks. After three quarters, Haines held the lead 28-25. But the Glacier Bears were called for 19 team fouls, allowing Petersburg to shoot 20 free throws of which they converted 17. Petersburg scored 24 points in the final quarter to come away with the 52-46 win and the Southeast championship.

Mark Davis led Haines scoring with 16 points, Crager had 12, Faverty had six points and nine rebounds. Jaden Hotch scored five on a corner three and a slick drive to the hoop. Luke Davis drained a late three-pointer to keep it close, and Verhamme and Strong each added two.

The loss set the stage for a Saturday rematch with Metlakatla to play for the second seed and an invitation to the would-be state meet. Again Metlakatla took the early lead, but as they have done frequently throughout the season, the Glacier Bears battled back. In a tight, low-scoring game, Haines controlled the boards and the blocks. Faverty brought down 10 rebounds and Verhamme had six. Faverty blocked multiple Chiefs’ shots. Kai Dixon, Verhamme and Hotch each planted their feet to draw offensive fouls against Metlakatla.

With 12 seconds remaining, the game was tied at 36. Coach Steve Fossman called a time out to set up for the final shot. The Glacier Bears spread out their offense and Mark Davis brought the ball up and drove down the lane, where he was fouled. With three seconds left, he drained the freethrow that gave his team the win, 37-36. Eight Glacier Bears put points on the board in their final game of the season. Faverty had nine, Crager had seven, Kai Dixon hit a pair of threes. Mark and Luke Davis each had four, Hotch hit another corner three, and Strong and Verhamme each had two.

Faverty reflected on his team’s season, “All in all we’re happy with our outcome. We’re just sad that we can’t go to state.”

Mark Davis and Faverty were elected to the All-Conference Team for the second season in a row. Faverty was also named to the All-Academic Team. Hotch and Caleb Holm were named to the Good-Sport Team.

Missing from the gymnasium on Saturday were the pep-band and cheer squad as all “non-essential personnel” were encouraged to go home. Tanna Dixon was named to the all-conference cheer team.

In the girls’ tournament, the Glacier Bears were defeated in the first round by the Craig Panthers, 60-25. The Panthers camped out around Haines center Sadie Anderson, putting two, three and sometimes four players on her whenever she touched the ball. Natalie Jobbins helped take the pressure off her teammate by draining three first-half three-pointers on her way to 11 points. MacKenzy Dryden grabbed a steal and fed Natalie Crager for a fast break lay-up. Grace Godinez-Long pulled down an offensive rebound and put it back up for two. Anderson was finally able to break loose for 10 second-half points to go along with eight rebounds.

In their second-round game on Thursday, Haines faced the relentless full-court pressure of the Wrangell Wolves. While the Glacier Bears managed to break the press with quick dribbling and strong passing, they lost the game, 55-17. Haines managed to match Wrangell rebound for rebound as each team had 19 apiece. Anderson had 10 rebounds and four points. Haley Boron led the scoring with six points, Jobbins had four and Dryden drained a three.

The Petersburg girls won the conference championship by beating Wrangell, 35-27, and Metlakatla, 28-25. After that game, Boron and Anderson received all-conference honors for the season. They were both also named to the good-sport team. Anderson accepted the accolades humbly, “I think everyone on the team deserved it, because we all worked hard all season and kept a good attitude.”

The Glacier Bear girls don’t lose any players to graduation this year. Anderson, a sophomore, looked ahead to her team’s future. “In a couple of years, we’re going to be on top and it’s going to feel good, because we started on the bottom and worked so hard.”

In the 3A tournament, the Sitka girls defeated Mount Edgecumbe twice for the championship. The Mount Edgecumbe boys won two of three games against Sitka for the title. The Thunder Mountain boys and the Juneau-Douglas girls were victorious in the large school division tournament.


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