Local sports teams are on the move this week as road swings take the Juneau-Douglas cagers north to Anchorage and the Thunder Mountain girls to Mt. Edgecumbe.
The Falcons’ ladies are getting exciting play across the roster and shaping up to be a throne in the side of conference foes Ketchikan and JDHS. They are not deserving of their 2 win and 10 loss record at this point.
Jonelle Staveland has begun to find her stroke from long range and Ashley Young is playing years ahead of her freshman status. But the Falcons are getting deep across the bench and off the bench. The starting line up can change depending on the opponent and will hardly skip a beat. Junior Emily Winters has been playing strong outside the stat book and that effort is contagious throughout the team.
The Crimson Bears girls (7-6) head to the Dimond Invitational which features Wasilla, West Valley, Ketchikan (three opponents they have faced already), North Pole and Chugiak. The JDHS girls haven’t seen the Patriots or the Mustangs this year.
Coming off Saturday night’s triple-overtime thriller at Ketchikan the Crimson Bears are starting to find out a little about their toughness. Sophomore Kaitlin Fagerstrom suffered a lower leg injury in the first quarter of that marathon game and didn’t finish the contest. She is listed day-to-day. It is hard to replace that hustle but the CB’s did get excellent efforts across the board, including the return of 6-foot center Gabi Fenumiai who led in scoring.
The Crimson Bears boys (12-1) team is also landing at Anchorage. They play tonight against Service. The Cougars have a lot of team speed and rebound very well with Adam Klie tackling the offensive glass and Amu Aukusitino doing the majority of the ball handling.
Next the CB’s drive to Sarah’s home town and play Thursday and Friday against Wasilla. The Warriors boast 6-foot-10 Connor Devine who has put up multiple triple-doubles with points, rebounds and blocks. The Kuiper brothers, 6-foot-6 senior Braydon and 6-foot-5 freshman Dane, will be a hand full across the front line.
The last stop is Palmer on Saturday. The Moose have been hit by injury this season but 6-foot-2 Conor Looney dropped 40 points in a recent win.
Each of these opponents has been rated in the top five of the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
According to boys’ coach Robert Casperson the trip will identify any strengths and weaknesses that the Crimson Bears have at this point.
“We will see some of the best teams and players in the state,” Casperson said. “It is another great opportunity for our guys to compete and play together just before we return to play out the balance of our conference schedule.”
The JDHS JV will also be on the trip. All 15 varsity players will be joined by Nathan Klein, Kevin Guimmayen, Ethan Austin, Trevor Clauder and Adam Empson.
The Crimson Bears hockey team leaves on Thursday for the first round of the Mid Alaska Conference playoffs in Fairbanks. The puck drops at 5:30 p.m. Friday as the Crimson Bears’ skaters are seeded third in the tournament and have drawn the task of putting number-two seed Lathrop against the boards. The Malemutes are basically skating on their home ice, as action in at the University of Alaska Fairbank’s Patty Center. Immediately after their game is the clash between number-one seed West Valley and number-four seed Houston. The championship game is Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Senior Bill Holbrook is leading the team with 38 points, scoring 14 goals and distributing 24 assists. Freshman Jonathan Weston has 28 points from 13 goals and 15 assists, junior Tod Baseden has 24 points from 17 goals and seven assists, junior Dillon Tomaro has 12 points from 3 goals and nine assists, and senior Zach Bicknell has 11 points from four goals and seven assists.
The Falcons boys (6-11) are idle this weekend and will host Sitka next week. The Sitka Wolves are fresh off a two game dismantling of the Metlakatla Chiefs and will welcome the arrival of the Falcons. Thunder Mountain’s roster of high octane players are one quick jab and stutter step away from contending for a region crown come March.