After rolling through the women's bracket last year, the Klawock-Prince of Wales team didn't expect the biggest challenge to defending its Gold Medal Basketball Tournament title to come away from the court.
But weather problems nearly conspired to keep the Klawock women from having a full roster in time for Monday night's women's bracket opener at Juneau-Douglas High School. As the players trickled into Juneau over the past three days, the Klawock women started to feel better about their chances for a repeat. And by tip-off time Monday night there was nearly a complete roster ready for action.
Klawock cruised to a 95-50 victory Monday over the Hoonah Ladies, even though Klawock was still missing Christina Hamilton. Hamilton, an all-tournament selection last year, has been stuck in Fairbanks where she is going to college and hopes to arrive in Juneau later this week.
``We'd be out in the malls and we'd see someone and it was `OK, now we've got five (players),' we can resume shopping now,'' Klawock's Kelli Larson said.
``Some of us have been trying to get in for three days now,'' Klawock's Mary Edenshaw said. ``We were worried and we called around to see who could get in. It was just normal Southeast weather.''
Jean Jackson, the one Klawock player who has been in Juneau for more than a week, scored 27 points and grabbed six rebounds to lead the team in scoring. Jackson was in town early because she coaches the Klawock High School girls team that was in the Region V-Class 2A tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School last weekend.
``This has been my annual twoweek vacation in Juneau,'' Jackson said. ``It's going to be a lot tougher this year. Sitka and Juneau play all year in a league, and we all got together two weeks ago to get ready. We've scrimmaged a few of the high school teams, like Klawock one day and Craig the next, but that's it.''
Ellen Hannon and Tina Almenzor both posted double-doubles for Klawock. Hannon scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while Almenzor scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Louise Walcott added 15 points.
Jackson and Walcott seemed to have a special connection on the court, with Walcott feeding Jackson for several breakaway baskets. Walcott played for Jackson when Klawock's high school team won its last Class 1A title in 1996.
Jackson, Almenzor, Edenshaw and Joyce Moore all played for Klawock's three-year dynasty that won Class 1A state titles in 1987-89, and Jackson coached the Chieftains to the Class 2A state title last year. Jackson and Moore are twins, which makes for some interesting chemistry.
``Jean and Joyce can play together in their sleep,'' said Edenshaw, their sister.
Yolanda Snively was the only Hoonah player to reach double-figure scoring, as she finished with 10 points. Jamie Snively added eight points and Marie Collins scored six points and grabbed 21 rebounds for the Ladies.
``They (the Hoonah Ladies) were a good team and I was kind of surprised at how lopsided the score was,'' Jackson said. ``It didn't seem like we were that far ahead. They battled real hard and it was a very tough game.''
``They rebounded a lot harder than we thought they would,'' Hannon said.
With the victory, Klawock advances into tonight's 7 p.m. winners' bracket game against the Sitka Daughters of the American Legion. Hoonah dropped into the losers' bracket with the loss, where it played at 11:30 a.m. today against the Yakutat ANS Camp team that lost a 73-45 decision to Juneau-D.K. Mining Monday night. Juneau-D.K. Mining plays Angoon Kwaan at 10 p.m. tonight.
The Women's Millennial Bracket has been changed from what appears in the tournament programs. Tournament officials said the changes will prevent losers' bracket teams from playing twice in one day, while evening up the spacing between games for the team that remains in the winners' bracket.
Game 29, the winners' bracket semifinal, has been moved from Wednesday to Thursday night at 10 p.m. so the winner doesn't have three days off before playing again. Game 30 in the losers' bracket will be held at 10 p.m. on Wednesday, with the winner advancing to Game 36 at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. The rest of the bracket remains the same, with Saturday's championship game set for 3 p.m.
Juneau 73, Yakutat 45
Shauna Murray, a snowboard instructor and waitress playing in her first Gold Medal Tournament, scored 29 points and grabbed 29 rebounds Monday as the JuneauD.K. Mining team beat the Yakutat ANS Camp team.
Murray, who moved to Juneau from New York last year after living in Idaho and Colorado, played college basketball at Cochise Community College in Douglas, Ariz., Grayson County Junior College in Denison, Texas, and Austin College in Sherman, Texas. A 6foot-0 forward, Murray couldn't believe her stats at the end of the game.
``No, no, that's not right. Maybe those were turnovers in the last five minutes, you know, 29, 29 and 36,'' said Murray, who only had three turnovers. ``This is awesome. I love it. I'm loving this. It's awesome Juneau does so much for so many people.''
Juneau, which took second place to Klawock last year when the team was sponsored by a different company, only had six players Monday and that will be all the team has for the rest of the tournament. At least three of the Juneau players were sidelined by pregnancy, and another recently blew out her knee.
Karn Hickock, who one of her teammates said is also pregnant, did play and scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Lucy Jones scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Liz O'Leary scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds for Juneau.
Joan Rohloff was the only Yakutat player to reach double-figure scoring, with 11 points. Julie Bennett scored nine points and Rose Adams had eight.
JUNEAU DK MINING 73
YAKUTAT ANS 45
Monday's Women's Games
JUNEAU DK MINING (73)
Lucy Jones 7 1-4 16, Liz O'Leary 6 0-2 12, Shauna Murray 12 5-7 29, Karn Hickock 6 2-9 14, Kris Weixelman 1 0-0 2, Sue Beckerman 0 0-0 0. Totals: 32 8-22 73.
YAKUTAT ANS (45)
Rochelle Lekanof 1 2-2 5, Julie Bennett 4 1-2 9, Connie Klushkan 2 0-0 4, Jessica Gray 1 0-0 2, Violet Sensmeier 2 1-2 6, Betty Jensen 0 0-0 0, Rose Adams 4 0-0 8, Joy Stevens 0 0-0 0, Louise Petersen 0 0-0 0, Joan Rohloff 3 5-8 11, Starr Sensmeier 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 9-14 45.
JUNEAU DK MINING37 36 - 73
YAKUTAT ANS 12 33 - 45
3-point goals - Juneau DK Mining 1 (Jones 1), Yakutat ANS 2 (Lekanof 1, V. Sensmeier 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Juneau DK Mining 12, Yakutat ANS 17.
KLAWOCK POW 95
HOONAH LADIES 50
Monday's Women's Games
KLAWOCK POW (95)
Jean Jackson 10 6-10 27, Joyce Moore 2 2-2 7, Ellen Hannon 8 6-7 22, Tina Almenzor 5 2-2 12, Kelly Larson 1 0-2 2, Louise Walcott 6 1-2 15, Ann Lutton 2 0-0 4, Mary Edenshaw 0 0-0 0, Ann Williams 2 2-2 6. Totals: 36 19-27 95.
HOONAH LADIES (50)
Deborah Barry 1 5-6 7, Sarah Barry 1 0-3 2, Jamie Snively 4 0-1 8, Yolanda Snively 5 0-0 10, Marie Collins 1 4-4 6, Krissy Bean 3 0-0 6, Jennifer Bediman 0 0-0 0, Renee Greg 1 0-0 2, Kim Lindoff 1 0-0 3, Cheryl Skafelstad 3 0-0 6, Jamie Erickson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 20 9-14 50.
KLAWOCK POW44 51 - 95
HOONAH LADIES 24 26 - 50
3-point goals - Klawock POW 4 (Jackson 1, Moore 1, Walcott 2), Hoonah Ladies 1 (Lindoff 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Klawock POW 15, Hoonah Ladies 17.