Four of Juneau’s high school basketball players and a coach have been recognized for state and regional honors this year. Alongside Juneau’s basketball standouts were a slew of other 2A, 3A and 4A Southeast players.
Juneau-Douglas High School senior Kaleb Tompkins made second team all-state while Thunder Mountain High School senior, and Kaleb’s cousin, senior Ava Tompkins, made third team all-state. JDHS senior Guy Bean and TMHS junior Chase Saviers were nominated to Southeast’s all-conference team.
In addition to the players, JDHS boys head coach Robert Casperson was honored as coach of the year by the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches.
JDHS’ Kaleb Tompkins led his team to the state tournament as the No. 1 seed. After growing three inches over the summer to 6’5”, Tompkins has come into his own as one of the state’s premier guards.
Tompkins is a humble player, and when asked about his individual accolades, gave all the credit to his coaches, parents and teammates.
“It feels pretty good. My teammates and coaches brought me here. I’ve been working hard, and my teammates push me a lot,” he said in an interview Saturday.
Kaleb’s coach, Robert Casperson, elaborated on Kaleb’s evolution as a player: “Kaleb has been extremely dedicated to improving in the offseason. … He’s a kid that I think leads us in assists and steals because he anticipates and sees the floor so well on both sides of the ball. Part of that, too, is that drive he’s had in practice the last two years, for him coming up with the older guys he’s had to work against. This group he plays with now, they push him, they challenge him.”
Casperson added, “I thought it was great that he and his cousin Guy Bean made all-conference.”
TMHS senior Ava Tompkins finishes a historic career for the Falcons with her third team all-state honors. Ava has been a four-year starter on the varsity team, and has become one of only three female Falcons players to amass over 1,000 career points. Ava carried a young Falcons squad this year, leading her team in scoring almost every game. Though the results often weren’t what the Falcons wanted (they finished 3 and 20), Tompkins played with an unmatched talent and fire.
“It feels good because it’s the top 15 players in the state, so I definitely appreciate the nod. I’d like to thank my dad, because he’s the one who pushed me for the last god knows how many years, and then my team. We had a tough season, but they kept their heads up with me and kept working the whole time,” she said.
Thunder Mountain head coach Tanya Nizich said of Tompkins: “From her freshman year it was safe to say she would be a shining star at Thunder Mountain. … She definitely has the mindset of going out not just playing to play — she’s playing to win. Unfortunately, we did not have a season to show for that with a winning record, but she played her part in last year’s season when we did very well and made it to state. For not having a good record and still being acknowledged, this is a great thing,” Nizich said.
Chase Saviers and Guy Bean seemed to score at will during the 2016 season. Both are two of the best perimeter shooters on their teams. They were nominated to the all-conference team along with Kaleb Tompkins and Ketchikan High School seniors Mo Bullock, Matt Standley and Jason James.
JDHS coach Robert Casperson said he felt honored by the selection as Alaska’s 4A boys coach of the year.
“It’s truly an honor,” he said. “I know there are a lot of hard-working coaches in the state at all levels and at the 4A level especially, so for me to be selected by my peers I am truly grateful. I would certainly say that this is not an award just for me; this is based on the guys and how they play and the things that they’ve done so far this year. It’s also a reflection of the improvement they’ve made over the years.”
Other Southeast hoopsters honored were:
4A Girls – Third team: Eliah Anderson, Ketchikan; Alexis Biggerstaff, Ketchikan.
4A Boys – Second team: Jason James, Ketchikan. Third team: Mo Bullock, Ketchikan.
3A Girls – First team: Zoe Krupa, Sitka; Payton Weisz, Mt. Edgecumbe.
3A Boys – Second team: Tevin Bayne, Sitka.
2A Girls – Player of the Year: Kylie Wallace, Petersburg. Coach of the Year: Dino Brock, Petersburg. First team: Kylie Wallace, Petersburg. Second team: Kayley Swinton, Haines; Ruby Brock, Petersburg. Third team: Aspen Hansen, Craig; Amy Jensen, Wrangell.
2A Boys – First team: Stewart Conn, Petersburg. Second team: Danny Marsden, Metlekatla; Blake Stokes, Wrangell. Third team: Wolf Brooks, Petersburg; Zavier Ghormley, Metlakatla.