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Wasilla Warriors (1-1)
Coaches: Ryan Engebretsen, John Gray, Matt Berg
Web site: www.whs.matsuk12.us.
Players to watch: Dexter Pearce, sr., 6-1; Shane Green, sr., 5-10; Tyler Johannes, sr., 6-1; John Knowles, so., 6-7.
What to watch: The Warriors are the defending Class 4A state champions after finishing 26-3. Wasilla also has a new coach after Jason Marvel stepped down shortly after winning the state tournament. Pearce and Green played significant minutes during last season's championship run while Adrese Lavern, the Warriors' starting quarterback during football season, is a smart and strong athlete. Wasilla defeated Houston 58-38 but lost to Dimond 68-55 to start the season.
Tahoma, Wash., Bears (5-6)
Coach: Rob Morrow
Web site: www.tahomabasketball.com.
Players to watch: Patrick Clark, sr., 6-1, 18.6 points per game; Raymond Eckard, sr., 6-0, 8.4 ppg; Mitch Boyer, sr., 6-2, 7.1 ppg; Erik Rainer, sr., 6-5, 4.4 ppg.
What to watch: Tahoma plays in the Class 4A South Puget Sound League in Washington. Class 4A is the biggest school classification for Washington state. The Bears are coming off a 62-39 rout at Emerald Ridge on Dec. 20. Tahoma has struggled against league opposition, but did hang tight in a 62-50 loss to undefeated Decatur, Wash. Clark went off for 23 points in the loss against the No. 3 ranked team in Washington.
Club Kilsyth Senior Boys Cobras (no record)
Coaches: Gavin Meager, Mal Allison
Web site: www.kilsythbasketball.com.au. A profile of the team can be found by selecting Cobras, USA Tour, Player Profiles, Kilsyth Grammar Varsity Team.
Players to watch: Joel Naburgs, 6-3, guard/forward; Steven Robinson, 6-7, forward; Jye Allison, 6-4, forward; Jarryd Meager, 5-11, point guard.
What to watch: The Cobras consist of the best 17- and 18-year-old players in Kilsyth, a town about 20 miles outside of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Unlike American high school basketball, Australia's club system runs from youth leagues to the Australian professional league. These players participate in the Championship Division, the top tier of youth club basketball. Club Kilsyth went 0-3 in the 2005 Capital City Classic. Frazer Adnam, a 6-3 player, turned 18 on Wednesday. The players train two or three times a week and play once a week for Club Kilsyth, in addition to playing on other club teams. "We're looking to get out there, be athletic, be running and let them enjoy it," Gavin Meager said.
Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears (3-2)
Coach: Steve Potter
Web site: www.jdcrimsonbears.com.
Players to watch: Dominique Brinson, sr., 6-1, guard; Ryan "Bubba" Larson, sr., 6-2, guard/forward; Eric Gross, jr., 6-4, forward; Faifo Levale, sr., 6-2, forward; Shawn Ibesate, sr., 5-7, point guard.
What to watch: The Crimson Bears split their last two games. JDHS defeated defending Class 3A state champions Petersburg 56-52 on Friday but lost to Fullerton, Calif., 44-40 on Saturday. JDHS won 11-straight Capital City Classic tournaments from 1992 to 2003. The team finished second in 2004, 2005 and 2006. JDHS is currently averaging 60.2 points per game while yielding 46 points per game. Juneau-Douglas' three tallest players all stand 6-foot-4 - Lawrence Fenumiai, Eric Gross and Geof Craig. Potter is in his second year as head coach.
Kodiak Bears (1-2)
Coach: Brett Larsen
Web site: www.kodiak.k12.ak.us/khs/splash.html.
Players to watch: Alyssa Horn, sr., 5-10, forward; Addie Jones, jr., 5-9, forward; Loretta Timpke, jr., 5-8, forward; Jessie Keplinger, sr., 5-6, guard.
What to watch: Kodiak captured one of three games when it hosted the Joe Floyd Tournament on Dec. 13-15. The Bears fell 36-32 to defending Class 4A champions Wasilla and lost 50-13 to Chugiak but rebounded to defeat Lathrop 38-35. Horn leads the team with 8.6 points per game. Kodiak is shooting 22.8 percent from the floor but is holding opponents to 40.3 points per game. Brett Larsen is in his first year as Kodiak head coach. The Bears play in the Northern Lights Conference.
Redmond, Wash., Mustangs (5-2)
Coach: Dennis Edwards
Web site: www.redmondmustangs.com.
Players to watch: Courtney Martin, jr., 5-11, forward; Mary Petrie, sr., 5-8, guard; Marissa Pratt, so., 6-3, center; Chandler Jones, so., 5-9, guard.
What to watch: If second-year coach Dennis Edwards looks familiar to local fans, it's because he is familiar. Edwards is a 1979 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate and helped lead the Crimson Bears to Southeast Conference titles in 1977 and 1978. He said this is the first time he's been back to Juneau in 15 years. Martin was the team's MVP last year as a sophomore. She currently averages 14.8 points per game. Redmond plays in the Class 4A KingCo conference. Pratt moved to Redmond from New Zealand in 2004.
Wrangell Wolves (0-0)
Coaches: Dane Vincent, Jan Martin
Web site: www.wrangellschools.org.
Players to watch: Michelle Villarma, jr., 5-7; Britany Lindley, sr., 5-9; Courtney McCay, sr., 6-2; Dawson Fairbanks, sr., 5-9.
What to watch: Wrangell features one of Alaska's best Class 3A players in Michelle Villarma. The junior has averaged a double-double in points and rebounds her first two seasons and was a second-team all-state selection last year. Villarma played with Juneau-Douglas' Nicole Fenumiai, Brittany Fenumiai and Karli Brakes in the Alaska Lady Hoops travel basketball program. Wrangell finished fourth in the 2005-06 state tournament. The Wolves compete in the Class 3A Southeast Conference.
Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears (0-2)
Coach: Lesslie Knight
Web site: www.crimsonbears.com.
Players to watch: Nicole Fenumiai, sr., 5-7, forward; Kayla Harrison, jr., 5-3, guard; Brittany Fenumiai, so., 5-7, guard; Mahlet Tingley, so., 5-2, guard; Taylor Larson, fr., 5-9, forward.
What to watch: The Crimson Bears are making their home debut after opening the season in North Carolina earlier in December. With five sophomores and four freshmen on the roster, JDHS is the youngest team at the Capital City Classic. Juneau-Douglas was the state championships runners-up in 2006-07 and finished third in 2005-06. JDHS won the Capital City Classic in 2003 and 2005 while finishing second in 2004 and 2006. Knight is in her sixth year as head coach of the Crimson Bears.
Previews by Juneau Empire sports editor Tim Nichols. Contact him at 523-2228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.