Juneau's Rhea lauded as state's player of the year

Crimson Bears forward Will Egolf awarded first-team all-state honor

Posted: Friday, April 07, 2006

While the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team fell just short of a second-straight state championship, at least one piece of history repeated for the Crimson Bears.

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JDHS junior Talisa Rhea was named the Anchorage Daily News/Alaska Media Class 4A player of the year for the second consecutive year this week.

"It means a lot," Rhea said of the award. "It's a great honor. I feel honored to be able to get this award. To do it once was great, twice in a row is a real honor.

"Last year, it capped off a big state championship and the good year. This year, the year went differently but I'm still happy to be getting it and it means just as much."

The junior led her team in nearly every statistical category this season and played exceptionally well in the state tournament.

During the tournament, Rhea led all eight teams in scoring at 23 points per game. She was also first in assists (5.3), second in steals (3.7), third in field goal percentage (57.1) and fifth in free throw percentage (82.4) during the state championship.

She also took on more of a leadership role with this year's team, which finished third overall.

"I think I learned I can do that," Rhea said of leading. "I didn't do it very much my freshman or sophomore years. I think I proved it to myself that I'm capable of doing more."

After playing, coaching and refereeing basketball nonstop, Rhea will take a brief break from basketball to suit up with the Crimson Bears' soccer team.

The junior will be a defender for JDHS before playing with Team Alaska in the summer.

"Soccer is different," Rhea said. "I've just played it for so long that it's just a part of me."

In Class 4A boys, Juneau-Douglas High School junior Will Egolf earned Class 4A first-team all-state honors for his play this season.

Egolf led the Crimson Bears in scoring and rebounding this season as JDHS finished fourth in the state.

In 27 games, the 6-foot-7 junior averaged 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

During the state tournament, Egolf led all eight teams in blocked shots.

Teammate Ryan Fagerstrom earned an honorable mention selection.

In Class 3A boys, Mount Edgecumbe sophomore Damen Bell-Holter was selected to the first team.

The 6-foot-7 center from Hydaburg averaged a double-double in the tournament, posting 17.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. He also blocked 1.7 shots per game, second-best in the tournament.

The Braves' Zach Klein led the tournament in rebounding at 11 per game and was named to the second team.

Petersburg's Cameron Severson garnered an honorable mention selection.

In Class 3A girls, two Southeast Conference players were named first-team all-state.

Wrangell freshman Michelle Villarma, who helped lead the Wolves to fourth place at state and second in the Southeast Conference, led the state tournament in scoring with 22.3 points per game. She also shot 78.6 percent from the free throw line, knocking down 22 of 28 shots.

Mt. Edgecumbe senior Skeeter Atoruk also earned first-team honors. She averaged 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in the state tournament as the Braves took fifth place.

Wrangell's Tessa Appleman was named honorable mention after averaging 9.7 points and eight rebounds a game in the state tourney.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com

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