The Angoon High School boys basketball team will begin defending its Class 2A state championship at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday when the Eagles play Matanuska Christian School in the opening round of the state tournament at Anchorage's Service High School.
The Eagles have been hanging around in Juneau this week, watching the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament while waiting for their plane to Anchorage. Angoon beat Kake 64-58 in Saturday night's Region V-Class 2A tournament championship game at Juneau-Douglas High School, and the Eagles figured it would be easier to get plane connections out of Juneau than Angoon so they stuck around.
"We had a shootaround today (Tuesday). We were afraid we wouldn't get any gym time," Angoon senior Travis Woodbury said. "It's been fun to watch these guys. Those four (points to members of Angoon's Mighty B Bracket team), I played with those guys."
Kake, which finished second to Angoon at last year's state and region tournaments, is also headed up to Anchorage and the Thunderbirds open tournament play at 1:15 p.m. Thursday against Tok. The other boys first-round games Thursday are Bristol Bay vs. Tanana-Sommer at 11:30 a.m. and Point Hope-Tikigaq vs. Cook Inlet Academy at 9 p.m. The boys semifinals are at 3:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., with the championship game set for 9 p.m. on Saturday night.
"We've got some work to do," Woodbury said. "Hopefully we can defend it. We just have to do like we did in regions, take it one game at a time. We'll cheer on Kake, too. They're from Southeast, so we'll cheer for them."
In the Class 2A girls tournament, Kake will lead the region when the Thunderbirds open play at 3:45 p.m. against Matanuska Christian School. The Angoon girls are also headed north for the tournament and the Eagles open play at 9:45 a.m. against Northway. The other two girls first-round games are defending champion Ninilchik vs. Unalakleet-Degnan at 8 a.m. and undefeated Point Hope-Tikigaq vs. Seldovia-English at 5:30 p.m. The girls semifinals are at 7:15 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, and the championship game is at 7:15 p.m. on Friday.
None of the Kake coaches could be found at Gold Medal on Tuesday, even though both boys coach Rick Mills and girls coach Glenn Padgett have been playing for Kake's Legendary C Bracket team.
This is the first trip to state for the Angoon girls since 1992, and Angoon coach Shgen George said she is hoping the experience is beneficial to her younger players. She has just two seniors -- Marcie Kookesh and Marie Parkin -- on the roster, and one junior in injured Angela Kearns. The rest of her starters are sophomores.
"I'm just hoping we can go up there and be focussed," George said. "I'm looking for the experience. As far as I know, there's only one of our players who's even seen the Service gym before."