Petersburg senior Kyle Biggers (23) draws a foul on his way to the hoop while defended by Wrangell sophomore Daniel Harrison (34) and Wrangell senior Ethan Blatchley (12). A late free-throw from Biggers, who suffered a knee injury during the game, helped secure the win for Petersburg in what ended up being a 1-point game. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Petersburg senior Kyle Biggers (23) draws a foul on his way to the hoop while defended by Wrangell sophomore Daniel Harrison (34) and Wrangell senior Ethan Blatchley (12). A late free-throw from Biggers, who suffered a knee injury during the game, helped secure the win for Petersburg in what ended up being a 1-point game. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Petersburg boys battle Wrangell in tournament’s 1st round

Vikings and Wolves go the distance in long-standing rivalry.

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Region V tournament is made possible by Sealaska Corp. Thanks to this sponsorship, this article —and all 2023 Region V coverage — is available online without a subscription to the Empire.

The Petersburg and Wrangell high school boys basketball teams showcased one of the oldest rivalries in Southeast Alaska in the Region V 2A/4A Basketball Tournament on Wednesday at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau.

The Vikings topped the Wolves 32-31 this go-around in a matchup of schools that goes back as far as the turn of the century.

Both teams played with a physical presence on the defensive end and a patient look at the hoop offensively.

“I think every time that we battled it has kind of been like this,” Wrangell coach Cody Angerman said. “Our kids want to come out and compete every night and fight and we work hard to do that, to put ourselves in a position to win. That’s all we can ask for. I have a bunch of kids that are cross country state champs and wrestling state champs and are just real competitors. I think that is what it is all about. Unfortunately we came up a little short on this one so we have a little bit of work to do.”

Petersburg junior Rik Cumps (3) clutches the ball before taking a shot at the hoop while defended by Wrangell senior Leroy Wynne (44). (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Petersburg junior Rik Cumps (3) clutches the ball before taking a shot at the hoop while defended by Wrangell senior Leroy Wynne (44). (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Petersburg junior Rik Cumps opened the game with a shot deep past the arch and Wrangell sophomore answered with a shorter jumper. The Wolves went on 9-3 run for an 11-6 lead as the first quarter end neared but Cumps beat the buzzer with another deep ball to trail 11-9.

With only two fouls called in the first quarter the teams expected, and got, a similar whistle in the second period.

Cumps opened the stanza with a deep three for Petersburg and senior Devlyn Campbell answered for Wrangell.

Petersburg closed the quarter with four rebounds by senior Jack Engell resulting in a 17 on the Vikings scoreboard while senior Ethan Blatchley banged inside for a rebound and a foul shot for a 14 on the Wolves scoreboard.

“That was fun,” Blatchley said. “It is always better than games where every little ticky-tack foul is called. If you play with every tick-tack time that is a lot of break time and nothing happens. Games like tonight are more fun. You have to play through the aggressiveness… you have to play through some physicality. We have always played against them… they are Petersburg Vikings, I mean, we have gone year for year back and forth with them. They are good.”

Wrangell senior Leroy Wynne (44) works around his defender to take a shot at the hoop in the first half of a Region V loss to Petersburg. The game was the latest close contest in one of the region’s oldest rivalries. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Wrangell senior Leroy Wynne (44) works around his defender to take a shot at the hoop in the first half of a Region V loss to Petersburg. The game was the latest close contest in one of the region’s oldest rivalries. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The teams exchanged the lead seven times in the third period with Wrangell taking a 27-26 lead as the quarter ended.

“Our kids were kind of, obviously, wound up,” Petersburg coach Rick Brock said. “I don’t think we played with a lot of composure so I guess was trying to be a little bit more composed on the sideline, because the strategy comes down to the last couple of minutes, every possession is going to matter… every time we play it doesn’t matter where the scenario is, it is going to be a fight to the end. And rightfully so, our kids on both sides play extremely hard and they are going to do everything they can.”

Petersburg junior Hunter Conn opened the final eight minutes with a shot past the arch and one just on the line for a 31-27 lead.

Blatchley answered for Wrangell but the Wolves would go on a cold spell until one minute remained to play.

Engell corralled four boards and had two steals down the stretch including a key outlet pass to Cumps who fed senior Kyle Biggers inside for a foul. Biggers would make one of two for a 32-29 lead with 22 seconds remaining.

“I really just wanted to get to the championship game,” Engell said. “I really want to cut down the net on Saturday so that’s what I was going for. The refs were letting us play, which is nice because on both of our homecoming series at home and in Wrangell the refs were kind of dictating play… so it was nice they let us play our own game.”

Wrangell missed a deep shot past the arch with nine seconds remaining but Petersburg turned the ball over giving the Wolves another try.

Wrangell took an inside score at the buzzer and Petersburg held on for another game of the ages between the two schools.

“And it is nice to be a part of it,” Engell said. “I’m glad I got to do it one more time.”

Cumps led Petersburg with 10 points, Conn added eight, Engell six, Biggers five, junior Kieran Cabral two and senior Owen Anderson one.

The Vikings hit 6-9 at the free throw line, the Wolves 5-8.

Campbell and Blatchley led Wrangell with nine points apiece, sophomore Daniel Harrison added six, sophomore Kyan Stead five and senior Jacen Hay two.

Petersburg advances to play Friday at 4:45 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s Metlakatla/Haines contest.

Wrangell plays an elimination game against Craig at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.

More in Sports

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé goalkeeper Alex Mallott stops a shot by Ketchikan’s Joe Larson (9) during the Crimson Bears 4-2 win May 17 over the Kings during the regional tournament at Adair-Kennedy Field. JDHS defeated Ketchikan again in state semifinals to advance to the state title game. (Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams are playing for the state title on Saturday

Boys to defend crown in rematch against Soldotna, followed by top-seeded girls against Kenai Central

(Clarise Larson/ Juneau Empire file photo)
Both JDHS soccer teams advance to state semifinals after decisive wins

Top-seeded girls stay undefeated with 5-0 win against Palmer, second-seeded boys top Homer 3-1.

The author’s wife kneels to net a trout over the weekend. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Live free, fish hard

In my young trout bum days I’d go hard. It was the… Continue reading

An orca swims beside a boat near Berners Bay on May 12. (Photo by Eric Jorgensen)
On the Trails: Orcas, ducks, warblers and others

I went on the Audubon cruise to Berners Bay in May, on… Continue reading

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior battery Lamar Blatnick (catcher) and Landon Simonson (pitcher) bump fists on the mound with teammates as they begin their final home game at Adair-Kennedy Field on Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Crimson Bears honor seniors with Saturday diamond sweep over Falcons

JDHS’ Blatnick, Simonson pitch complete game wins against TMHS.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé senior Sonny Monsef (30) heads in a goal against Ketchikan during the Crimson Bears 2-0 title clinching win over the Kings at Adair-Kennedy Field on Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
JDHS boys soccer team earns ice cream and region title with sweep of visiting Ketchikan

Crimson Bears’ Monsef, Mallott seal senior night win over Kings.

Thunder Mountain High School senior Kasen Ludeman delivers against a Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé batter during the Falcons 4-0 win over the Crimson Bears on Friday at Adair-Kennedy Field. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Falcons’ Ludeman shuts out Crimson Bears

TMHS senior honors classmates in school’s baseball home finale by 3-hitting JDHS.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé junior Kai Ciambor puts a shot past Ketchikan’s Kingston Dell (11), Alex Gilley (1) and Eunchong Lee during the Crimson Bears 4-2 win over the Kings at Adair-Kennedy Field on Friday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Crimson Bears eat Kings for pre-senior night pitch feast

JDHS boys soccer team one step closer to taking region title from Ketchikan.

Most Read