Editor’s note: This piece was submitted by the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys basketball coaching staff.
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team recently held our end of the season virtual awards presentation online. The team worked extremely hard during the year and battled through multiple setbacks and a lot of adversity. Every season we set a goal of winning the Region V and State Championships. While we did not accomplish these two goals in this COVID-19 shortened season, we are very proud of the focus and determination displayed by this team.
We know that our team does not exist in a vacuum and the coaching staff often noted how important the community was to our efforts this season. In light of that fact, we would like to acknowledge the following individuals and groups for their continued support.
The coaching staff wants to extend our gratitude to all the parents/guardians that filled vital roles volunteering this season for things like staffing the Fast Break Club table, helping with fundraisers, housing visiting teams, etc. Our student managers, Mackenzie Jackson and Mira Marthaler were integral to our daily operation and could often be seen running around the gym completing tasks to keep us afloat. We would also like to give a special nod to Melissa McCormick and Gretchen Kriegmont because they did an amazing job wearing many hats in support of the team this season.
We would also like to acknowledge the support of the JDHS Cheer/Stunt Team, Dance Team, student body, and community this season. The energy and excitement these groups bring to our home games is unparalleled. Also thank you to all those that attended our home games and cheered us on, purchased raffle tickets, and joined the Fast Break Club, or the Business Banner program. You provided the necessary financial support to fund our season.
In an effort to give back to the community, the members of the Crimson Bears boys basketball program participated in several community service events, including Juneau Parks & Rec’s Day of Play, the Southeast Alaska Food Bank Food Drive as donation collectors, cheering on participants in the Girls on the Run 5k, hosting a Cancer Connection fundraiser and donating $3000 in memory of former player Kevin Guimmayen, and supporting the “Take a Time Out to Talk” Suicide Prevention Awareness efforts during the Region V basketball tournament. As always, we appreciate and enjoy the opportunity to do our part and work with such worthy causes that aim to improve Juneau.
In line with that premise, we are thankful for our partnership with AWARE Inc., and the CDVSA for their instrumental guidance and encouragement during our ninth year implementing the Coaching Boys into Men (CBIM) program. This year our program was humbled to be selected along with Simon Friday of Kake, to represent CBIM and receive the Shirley Demientieff award at AFN from the Governor and First Lady of the State of Alaska. The Crimson Bears also received the Strike Out Against Violence national award from Futures Without Violence in partnership with the San Francisco Giants of the MLB. One of the goals of the CBIM program is to help the members of our team learn how to foster and maintain respectful interactions with girls, women, and peers. We know CBIM has had a tremendous impact in our program and our school community over the years.
The coaching staff greatly appreciates the efforts and continued support of the JDHS administration, activities office, teachers, and counselors. We’d like to specifically thank Principal Paula Casperson, Assistant Principal Kim McNamara, Athletic Director Chad Bentz, and Activity Assistants Jana Morrison, Laura Campos, Toni DeSanto, and Counselors Jennifer Knaggs and Sanaye Thompson. We would also like to thank our superintendent, Dr. Bridget Weiss, for her steadfast support of Crimson Bear basketball and all the other JSD athletics and activities.
We also appreciate the media and their coverage of our season. They are vital to keeping our family, friends, and the community informed on our season; Thank you to KINY Radio and the Juneau Empire for their dedication during changing times in the media business.
To wrap-up the 2019-20 boys’ basketball season the team created a virtual awards banquet video. The video is available on YouTube (https://youtu.be/Z6XPSwW2sgI). This video served to recognize individual players that received votes for the awards, along with highlighting those that won the awards this season. Some of the awards are statistical in nature and the players voted on the rest.
The winners for the JV’s special awards, as voted by team members, are as follows:
• The Most Improved: Orion Dybdahl
• The Most Inspirational: Hayden Kuzakin
• The Most Hustle: Ben Coutu
• The Best Defense: Kayden Hawkins
• The Most Valuable Player: Porter Nelson
• Coaches Award: Tias Carney
The winners for the Varsity statistical awards are as follows:
• The Best Passer (most assists): Austin McCurley (87)
• The Best Rebounder (most rebounds): Garrett Bryant (156)
• The Toughness Award (most charges drawn): Tad Watson (20)
• The Marksman (highest 2-point shooting percentage): Tad Watson (52.5%)
• The Deep Threat Marksman (highest 3-point shooting percentage): Cooper Kriegmont (31.5%)
• The Mr. Clutch (highest free-throw percentage): Cooper Kriegmont (73.8%)
The Varsity special awards, as voted by team members, are as follows:
• The Most Improved: Malakai Nichols
• The Most Inspirational: Brock McCormick
• The Most Hustle: Brock McCormick
• The Best Defense: Austin McCurley
• The Most Valuable Player: Cooper Kriegmont
The final special award we bestowed on a player was created decades ago and named for late Juneau resident, Zach Gordon, due to his commitment to Juneau-Douglas High School athletics/activities and to supporting the youth of Juneau. This award is given to the player that best embodies the ideals and values of Juneau-Douglas basketball on the court, in the classroom, and the community. For those reasons, it is considered the highest honor available in our program. This year, through team member voting, the Zach Gordon Award went to Tad Watson.
As a coaching staff we would be remiss not to mention the leadership and guidance provided by the senior class this season. It was a pleasure to work with seniors Uly Salaver, Austin McCurley, and Tad Watson. We are proud of them for the effort and personal growth they displayed this year. They have left a solid foundation for the returning players to build upon.
Again, thank you to our families and Juneau for all your help. Each season is truly a team effort that is supported by many. We know that without your support none of this would be possible. We look forward to our returning and incoming players working hard to improve this off-season so the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team can continue to proudly represent our community.
Juneau-Douglas High School Boys Basketball Coaching Staff:
Robert Casperson, John Sleppy, Ben Kriegmont, and Vince Yadao