Team manager wins shooting crown

Juneau's Larson proves unlikely winner in Classic skills contest

Posted: Friday, December 29, 2000


Today's schedule

1 p.m. - Gig Harbor (Wash.) girls vs. West Valley (Fairbanks).

3 p.m. - Kentlake (Kent, Wash.) boys vs. West Valley.

6 p.m. - Juneau-Douglas girls vs. Kentlake.

8 p.m. - Juneau-Douglas boys vs. Dimond (Anchorage).

Saturday's schedule

1 p.m. - West Valley girls vs. Kentlake.

3 p.m. - West Valley boys vs. Dimond.

6 p.m. - Juneau-Douglas girls vs. Gig Harbor.

8 p.m. - Juneau-Douglas boys vs. Kentlake.

During the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team's opening-night game Wednesday at the Capital City Classic, Aaron Larson did not play during the Crimson Bears 94-47 trouncing of West Valley.

In fact, the 6-foot-5 senior is not even listed on the Juneau boys roster for the Classic and spent his time above the crowd videotaping the action. Larson is the Juneau boys team manager.

But not being on the roster did not deter him from sinking shot after shot to win the boys free throw competition during Thursday afternoon's skills competition.

Larson, probably the most unlikely winner, survived a tough field of seasoned players that also including last year's champion Curtis Lane of Juneau.

"I was really nervous," Larson said. "It was probably the most free throws I ever made in a row. I can't believe I won."

The free throw competition was open to anyone including coaches with only one rule -- you miss and you're out.

The field began with 50 or more competitors and slowly dwindled down to a handful of participants before Larson emerged as the last man standing.

Although Larson won't see any action during the tournament, there is hope that he will play later in Crimson Bears season. He also competed in the slam dunk competition.

"I'm a playing manager," Larson said. "I'll get some minutes some time this year but I just don't know when and where."

In the girls contest, it came down to the final two girls when Gig Harbor's Kelly Johnson failed to make her free throw.


Top shooter: Juneau's Aaron Larson follows through on a free throw during Thursday's contest.


Juneau's Kacie Murphy then stepped to the line and hit nothing but net to claim victory.

"I'm an OK free throw shooter," Murphy said. "But I didn't think I had a chance to win."

Juneau also had a strong showing in the free throw competition from senior Michael Kohan, who was one of the last girls alive before her shot went off the rim.

The Crimson Bearts continued their dominance in the skills competition by sweeping the 3-point shooting competition.


Shooting star: Juneaus Curtis Lane lets fly with a 3-point shot during Thursdays skills contests at the Capital City Classic. Lane won the contest after being unseated as free-throw shooting champ.


Juneau senior point guard Courtney Mason showed off her picturesque stroke by sinking 12 3-pointers and easily outdistancing the rest of the girls field for the victory.

On the boys side, Curtis Lane made up for a somewhat disappointing showing the free-throw shooting contest by knocking in 13 treys to win.

"I had to save myself," Lane said, "I won the free throw contest last year and wanted to win it this year but I didn't, so I had to win something. People will look at me different now. It might give me a name as a 3-point threat that I don't think I had before."

Thursday's highlighted event was the always popular slam dunk competition.

Senior small forward Kenny Jackson of Kentlake High School slammed and jammed his way to title, edging Dimond's Brandon Joseph who also showed he could get high above the rim.

Jackson (6-2) clinched the contest by throwing the ball at the backboard, grabbing the rebound and stuffing the ball with both hands as the crowd expressed their satisfaction with a roar.

"I was just in this for the fun," an excited Jackson said. "It's my first time in a competition like this and I was a little nervous. Brandon (Joseph) was pretty good and gave me some good competition. He almost made that windmill dunk and I was glad he missed it."

The skills competition at the Capital City Classic comes as a break between three days of basketball action and also includes a tour of Juneau by Princess Tours and capped off with a banquet where respective coaches stand up and talk about their teams.

The teams are encouraged to mingle with players from other teams and just have a good time.

"It's a lot of fun, " Juneau girls coach Jim Hamey said. "It's meant to be competitive but it's also a chance to get to know the kids during the competition."

The Capital City Classic resumes this afternoon with Gig Harbor girls playing West Valley at 1 p.m. and the Kentlake boys matching up with West Valley at 3 p.m.

Tonight's games feature the Juneau girls against Kentlake at 6 p.m. and the Juneau boys will face Dimond at 8 p.m., with that game slated as one of the top matchups of the Classic.

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