Gold Medal Tournament to include women's teams

"B" and "M" brackets lose two teams, "C" gains two
Wrangell's Kevin Young (32) drives against Hydaburg's Greg Frisby and Jeb Phillips during the 2013 Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament. Wrangell, returning to the tournament after many years away, was a fan favorite and a scrappy team that played into the semifinals. Sources say the Stikine River boys are back for the 2014 tourney.

For the first time in six years a woman’s bracket will be included into the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.


According to a press release from JLC president Edward Hotch a committee of club members reviewed an October proposal from Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Carmaleeda Estrada to include women’s teams, voted unanimously in November to add the women’s bracket again and began this week notifying all bracket teams selected to the tournament.

The ‘Committee Of Six,’ JLC vice presidents and tournament co-chairs Louise Kadinger, Geny Del Rosario and Greg Inderland, and club members Steve Brandner, Joyce Kitka and Sasha Soboleff, along with Estrada have been instrumental in addressing the issue of a women’s bracket.

Women first played in the 1999 tourney through 2007.

With the edition of four women’s teams, the tournament will now feature eight “B” and “C” teams and four teams in the “Masters” bracket.

A representative from each team selected must reply with an invitation acceptance letter, team fee and the initial team rosters by mid-January. The names of teams selected for the tournament will be released once those teams have been notified according to the release.

To accommodate the women’s bracket for the 2014 tournament, “B” and “M” brackets were reduced by two apiece while the “C” bracket was increased by two.

Last year’s tournament featured a 10-team “B” bracket won by Angoon, 109-99 over Hydaburg; a six-team “M” bracket won by Klukwan, 63-35 over Kake; and a six-team “C” bracket won by Hoonah, 88-66 over Hydaburg.

It is not known how the JLC determined who would be excluded from the brackets.

Team applications are turned away each year due to the popularity of the tournament. In some past tournaments a team that had poor performance would not be invited back. In other years it is first come, first serve.

Wrangell returned to “B” play last year after decades away and were fan favorites.

The Stikine boys played into the final days, including a 73-29 win over power Klukwan that made the Chilkat River boys the third team out of the bracket, just ahead of Sitka and Hoonah.

This year’s tournament will be held March 16-22, 2014 at the Juneau-Douglas High School gym.

For a brief history of the women’s teams in Gold Medal go to

In 1999 the women’s teams included Kake LAB Flying Service, Juneau Lynden Transport Angoon Kwaan and Klawock Prince of Wales Women. The POW women topped Juneau 84-70 for that inaugural title.

Klawock’s Jean Jackson was the MVP. All-Tourney members were Stacy Skan, Lucy Jones and Tami Wahto from Juneau, Angoon’s Jaeleen Kookesh and Klawock’s Christina Hamilton. Second team choices were Juneau’s Christal Tompkins, Kake’s Michelle Friday and Shawna Orozco, and Angoon’s Brenda Jack and Denise Starr-Jack. Klawock’s Ellen Hannon was voted Best Defensive Player and Juneau’s Mary Tagaban won the Sportsmanship Award.

Klawock repeated as champions in 2000 with a 67-40 win over Sitka Daughters of the American Legion in the title game of the New Millennial Women’s Bracket. Other teams included Yakutat ANS, Hoonah Ladies, Angoon Kwaan and Juneau D.K. Mining. MVP went to Klawock’s Hannon and teammate Joyce Moore was Best Defender. Yakutat’s Violet Sensmeier won Sportsmanship. All-Tourney members included Starr-Jack (ANG), Shauna Murray, Jones (JNU), Tina Almenzor, Jackson, Louise Wollcott (KLW), Stephanie Miller, Karen Krupa, Rachel Franceschini (SIT) and Jean Rahloff (YAK).

In 2001 the same six teams returned and Klawock three-peated with a 70-53 win over Yakutat and Jackson won her second MVP honor and Best Defender.

In 2002 the middle school division was added after Dzantik’i Heeni’s Greg Brown brought the idea to the tournament board. Ed and Janice Hotch ran that portion of the tourney. DHMS, Floyd Dryden, Kake, Hoonah, Angoon and Metlakatla participated. Women’s teams included Klawock, Ketchikan Indian Counsel, Haines Merchants, Angoon Kwaan, Juneau’s Lynden Transport and Kake LAB. Klawock won their fourth straight title with a 68-63 win over Juneau, avenging an earlier 64-60 loss in the tourney. Jackson won her third MVP, Juneau’s Kacy Davidson was Best Defender and Tompkins was Sportsmanship winner. All-Tourney members included Jonna Adams (Kake), Sara Swinton (HNS), Hannon, Wollcott (KLW), and Rena Balzer (JNU).

Middle school girls were added in 2003 and HoopTime A won as did the Hoonah boys. Klawock’s run of titles ended in the women’s bracket as MVP Kacy Lockhart led Lynden to a 60-59 win with late free throws. Teammate Heather Clark was Best Defender and Leilani Finau (KIC) won Sportsmanship. All-Tourney were Balzer, Kara Lindley (JNU), Almenzar, Hannon, Jackson (KLW), Krupa (SIT), Adams (Kake), and Sensmeier (YAK).

In 2004 the tourney went to an alternating rotation of small villages and large communities because there was a concern that teams were ruling the court. Angoon topped Kake 75-56 behind MVP Meagan Gleason and defensive teammate Sara Demmert and Sportswoman Amber Jamestown for the title. All-Tourney included Vanessa Anniskett (MET), Carmen Estrada (ANG), Friday, Adams, Violet Anderson, Dawn Jackson (Kake), Sarah Barry, Marie Collins (HNH), and Sensmeier (YAK). Teams were Angoon Kwaan, Kake, Metlakatla, T&H Spirit, Huna ANS, Yakutat ANS, and Kake KWBA.

“What we noticed, however, was that the same women played on both the large and small community teams,” a JLC member said. “This became the same issue we always have with the men’s players.”

In 2005 Juneau2, Prince of Wales, Juneau Imperial, Sitka2, and Sitka The Cellar competed.

In 2006 Ketchikan, Yakutat, Angoon, Kake LAB, Petersburg, Juneau Imperial, Metlakatla Git’ Taquan and Hoonah played. Metlakatla topped Juneau Imperial 69-60 for the title behind MVP Stephanie Smiley. All-Tourney included Gleason (ANG), Samantha Johnson (YAK), Mandie Whitethorn, Jennifer Johnson (PSG), Finau, Christy Williams (KTN), Lockhart, Lucy Potter (JNU), and Talia Marsden, Vera James (MET).

In the final women’s year of 2007 teams included Metlakatla, Sitka, Petersburg and Juneau.


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