THE PREMIERE WOMEN'S BRACKET
The Premiere Women's Bracket opened up Gold Medal Tournament play Monday night with the Hoonah Ladies claiming a 63-55 victory over the Angoon Kwaan, while Sitka's Daughters of the American Legion overwhelmed Klawock Prince of Whales 70-51 in the late game at Juneau-Douglas High School.
The Hoonah-Angoon game started off rather slow as both teams tried to get accustomed to playing for the first time in a while.
Hoonah took an early 12-4 lead when Deborah Bary hit a jumper for two of her team-high 15 points. Hoonah extended its lead to 31-19 with 3:35 to go in the half when Christal Tompkins grabbed one her 12 rebounds and put it back in off the glass.
Angoon had a hard time on the boards against the Hoonah Ladies, who had a slight height advantage over the Kwann.
Angoon's Shgen George rebounded from shooting 0-7 in the first half to shoot 5-5 in the second half and finished with a game-high 17 points and 13 rebounds. Her most important basket coming at the 11:12 mark of the second half when Angoon got as close as 45-44 but Hoonah poured it on after that and kept a manageable lead the rest of the way.
Both teams looked fairly rusty early on, but after the game got going, the play loosened up and the players started to look more comfortable on the floor.
"We're starting to play as a unit," Bary said. "This is the first time the team has played together and I hoped it would work out and it did."
"We're glad to get the it out of the way but playing that first game really helps us," Hoonah coach Louie White said. "We're finding out who can play with each other and what everyone can do."
Losing control: Angoon's Shgen George (12) loses the ball as she tries to drive around Hoonah's Haley Martin (22) during Monday's Premiere Women's Bracket opener.
MICHAEL PENN / THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
White is one of the stars of the Hoonah Old-Timers, who were eliminated from the Legendary C Bracket just hours before the women's game.
"They're coming together pretty well," White said. "You will see a better Hoonah team against Yakutat."
Hoonah's Yolanda Snively scored 13 points, including three 3-pointers, while a host of other Hoonah players scored in single digits to round out a balanced scoring attack.
Brenda Jack was the only other Angoon player to score in double figures with 14 points while Joeleen Anijo added nine.
"We're getting used to playing with each other again," George said. "I'm just happy to get to play."
George is also the head coach of the Angoon High School girls basketball team that will play in this weekend's state tournament at Anchorage's Service High School.
The team finished the Region V-Class 2A Tournament on Saturday just prior to start of the Gold Medal Tournament, so George and the team decided to spend the break between the region and state tournaments in Juneau.
"We figured we'd have a better chance getting a flight out of Juneau to go to Anchorage," George said. "It was a last-minute decision."
Even if Angoon continues to advance in the Gold Medal tournament, George said her duties as coach of the high school team will easily come first. Glenn Padgett, head coach of the Region V-2A champion Kake girls basketball team, is also competing in the Legendary C bracket for Kake and may also have to leave early for the state tournament.
Hoonah will play Yakutat ANS today at 7:00 p.m. in the winners' bracket quarterfinals while Angoon heads to the losers' bracket to take on Sitka.
Sitka 70, Klawock 51
Donna Jefferson led a balanced Sitka scoring attack with 17 points as the Daughters of the American Legion sailed to a 70-51 win over Klawock Prince of Wales in Monday's late night game that didn't end until nearly 1 a.m. Tuesday morning.
The game was a rematch of last year's championship game where Klawock crushed Sitka 67-40.
Behind Krupa, Stephanie Miller and Stacey Stasenko scored 12 points each and Karen Krupa and Ingfrid Bayne added 9 points apiece.
"That's one thing we didn't have last year is balanced scoring," Sitka's player-coach Karen Krupa said.
Klawock's Jean Jackson led her team with 15 points. Tina Almenzor scored 13 points for Klawock, while Ann Williams came through with nine points.
Sitka now faces Juneau, who had a first-round bye, in tonight's 10 p.m. game, while Klawock plays Angoon in today's 11:30 a.m. losers' bracket game.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at email@example.com.