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For the first time ever, Thunder Mountain High School will host the Region V 4A Basketball Championships.
That means the TMHS girls won’t just enjoy being their bracket’s top seed, they’ll be playing at home, too.
However, if the regular season is any indication, they’ll face some stiff competition from both Ketchikan High School and Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. The three teams played tightly contested series in the regular season with several games hinging on last-second plays.
On the boys side, a different Juneau school enjoys top seeding — the JDHS boys who dropped just two of eight in-conference games this season.
However, the record belies exactly how tightly contested the conference was with the Crimson Bears prevailing by 3 points or less in half of their Region V wins.
Here’s how all six teams look heading into the tournament that tips off Wednesday, based on rosters provided by tournament officials and interviews with all six coaches.
Juneau-Douglas – 6-2 Southeast Conference/16-11 overall (Games against conference opponents) defeated Thunder Mountain 55-54, 54-52, 73-63; lost to Thunder Mountain 64-62; defeated Ketchikan 71-64, 74-71, 57-51; lost to Ketchikan 71-52.
Head coach Robert Casperson, assistant coach John Sleppy, Vince Yadao, David Timothy.
“What we try to bring every year to the tournament is that we’re going to play tough defense and we’re going to rebound really hard, we’re going to share the ball offensively and really just try to bring an exciting brand of basketball to the court,” Casperson said. “We have a ‘never quit’ mentality; we’re working hard together no matter what the score is or what the odds are, we’ve shown time after that we’re going to play all the way up until the end and put forth effort that I think our families and fans will be proud of also. We certainly have strategies for both teams as they each do things a little bit differently. Each team is very good at what they do and they make each game difficult, Ketchikan shoots the ball extremely well and that can be tough to defend. Thunder Mountain has quite a few dynamic scorers and they’re a very physical team, which also brings a different challenge. For us, it’s going to be about consistency in our effort and execution for either team that makes it out of the first round. Really, all three teams have played each other very closely all season, so there’s no way for us to know what to expect.”
Roster – Seniors: No. 2 Bodhi Nelson 5’11; No. 20 Orion Dybdahl 6’7; No. 21 Caden Mesdag 5’9; No. 23 Joseph Aline 6’0; No. 24 Kai Hargrave 6’2. Juniors: No. 3 Alwen Carrillo 5’9; No. 10 Jhowel Esitgoy 6’2; No. 11 Sean Oliver 6’3; No. 13 Jonathan Sleppy 6’3; No. 15 Alex Mallott 6’1. Sophomores: No. 1 Gavin Gerrin 5’10. Freshmen: No. 9 Brandon Casperson 5’8.
Ketchikan – 3-5 in conference/12-11 overall (Games against conference opponents) defeated Thunder Mountain 56-54, 58-41; lost to Thunder Mountain 60-58, 64-59; defeated Juneau-Douglas 71-52; lost to Juneau-Douglas 71-64, 74-71, 57-51.
Head coach Eric Stockhausen, assistant coach Dennis Parker, Darryl Simons.
“We have an up and down team that some nights put it all together at both ends of the floor and then other nights we have gaping holes in what we’re trying to do,” Stockhausen said. “So, we do have talented kids that can shoot the ball, when we’re sitting at 12-11 it’s really hard to say we’re doing anything very well, but when we’re good, we’re good, when we’re not, it’s a bit of an adventure. I think I have great kids; I’ve worked hard with them, and I think most of the time we demonstrate a fairly high basketball IQ. We’ve improved a lot and now it’s just a matter of seeing if we can be consistent throughout a day game or a weekend will be the key for us. Our conference has been very close, most of the games have been within one or two points. Two of our last three games we’ve been able to get a sizable lead by the end of the game, we put it all together on the defensive end, we executed offensively and we’re also 3-5, so we’ve been beaten by both Juneau and Thunder, but we’ve also shown that we can match up well and play, so it’s really a matter of consistency for 32 minutes. Typically, when we’re playing very well defensively, we’re sharp offensively.”
Roster – Seniors: No. 3 Joeben Lorenzo 5’6; No. 22 Archie Dundas 6’; No. 5 Jack Zink 5’9; No. 12 JJ Parker 5’8. Juniors: No. 13 Andrew Kleinschmidt 6’5; No. 15 Jared Rhoads 6’7; No. 21 Kyler Secrest 6’; No. 32 RC Lorenzo 5’3; No. 42 Juan Coronel 6’2. Sophomores: No. 14 Gage Massin 5’8; No. 33 Jonathan Scoblic 6’2; No. 34 Marcus Stockhausen 6’3.
Thunder Mountain – 3-5 in conference/ 8-16 overall (Games against conference opponents) defeated Juneau-Douglas 64-62; lost to Juneau-Douglas 55-54, 54-52, 73-61.
Head coach John Blasco, assistant coach Matt Seymour, Chase Saviers, Joe Tompkins.
“It’s a dynamic group and I don’t think our record speaks to our abilities and our skill level, but we’ve also played the toughest scheduled 4A teams in the state,” Blasco said. “So, I’m excited for what this group can bring, we’ve definitely shown some very bright spots at points throughout the year and as all of the coaches know, it comes down to these four days. You’re always coaching and making tweaks here and there but partially at the end of the day you want them to just go out there and have fun playing basketball the way they know how to. There’s a lot to be said for them enjoying it and executing on what the coaching staff has put together for them. So, I’m optimistic we’ll bring it all together and make for some really competitive games against Ketchikan and Juneau.”
Roster – Seniors: No. 24 MJ Tupou 6’; No. 21 Caden Mercer 6’1; No. 32/44 Sam Sika 6’. Juniors: No. 30 Thomas Baxter 6’3; No. 14 Samuel Lockhart 5’9; No. 10 James Polasky 6’5; No. 5 TJ Guevarra 5’9; No. 3 Lance Nierra 5’9; No. 23 Harbor Thomas 6’2; No. 1 Krisna Sanguni 6’1. Sophomores: No. 11 Pedrin Saceda-Hurt 5’9. Freshmen: No. 12 Joren Gasga 5’9.
Thunder Mountain – 6-2 in conference/ 17-7 overall (Games against conference opponents) defeated Ketchikan 57-48, 60-38; lost to Ketchikan 43-40, 43-35; defeated Juneau-Douglas 43-41, 37-36, 47-42, 58-45.
Head coach Andy Lee, assistant coach Arnold Ibias, Kylie Ibias, Jason Wilson, Dave Buss, Jo Pasion.
“The Lady Falcons are in the rare position of being the number one seed, so for the past eight or nine years Ketchikan held that position and then we’ve had to battle it out and not advance typically. We haven’t won within that time period, I think Ketchikan won eight in a row, so we like the position we’re in,” Lee said. “There are some advantages to getting to sit back and watch the other two teams, but the disadvantages are that they get the butterflies out sometimes with a younger team like what we have we’re dependent on so many underclassmen that sometimes the jitters can be a factor. But we’ve been pretty resilient, and we’ve overcome leads and played well on the road, so we just hope that all of our preparation pays off and that we continue to peak and maintain momentum.”
“There are very few secrets at this point, we’ve seen these teams play, we’ve seen them play against each other, there aren’t any secrets, so it basically comes down to who plays better. For the most part the coaches are done, this is the player’s time of year.”
Roster – Seniors: No. 11 Kayla Woodbury 5’3; No. 14 Kiara Endicott 5’8; No. 52 Tyra Aguirre 5’6. Juniors: No. 2 Ashlyn Gates 5’9, No. 3 Jaya Carandang 5’; No. 4 Mikah Carandang 5’; No. 5 Jenna Dobson 5’8; No. 24 Keidre Hartman 5’8. Sophomores: No. 22 Kerra Baxter 6’; No. 23 Cailynn Baxter 6’; No. 25 Addison Wilson 5’8. Freshmen: No. 1 Cambry Lockhart 5’.
Ketchikan – 3-5 in conference/15-6 overall (Games against conference opponents) defeated Thunder Mountain 43-40, 43-35; lost to Thunder Mountain 57-48, 60-38; defeated Juneau-Douglas 47-31; lost to Juneau-Douglas 40-33, 36-30, 43-29.
Head coach Kelly Smith, assistant coach Berntson, Josh Ledford, Bayley Lindgren.
“We bring a lot of energy this year, we’re young overall but we do bring two pretty experienced players that have been integral parts of back-to-back championships the last couple of years,” Smith said. “Aside from those two, everyone else is new, a lot of freshmen, so we’ll be bringing a lot of energy and effort. We’ve played well against both teams and we’ve played extremely poor against both teams, we’ve split with Thunder Mountain and then went 1-3 with Juneau-Douglas, so what we feel we need to do to win is not let our highs get too high or our lows get too low, and just try to play nice and consistent.”
Roster – Seniors: No. 21 Lindsay Byron 5’11; No. 35 Abbie Davies 5’4. Juniors: No. 22 Bree Johnson 5’10; No. 40 Bella Whisenant 5’11. Sophomores: No. 3 Lilli Goodwin 5’3; No. 5 Shyla Abajian 5’6; No. 13 Aspen Bauer 5’6. Freshmen: No. 15 Payton Hagan 5’6; No. 20 Kari Klinger 5’6; No. 32 Kylie Brendible 5’7.
Juneau-Douglas – 3-5 in conference/ 14-10 overall (Games against conference opponents) defeated Ketchikan 40-33, 36-30, 43-29; lost to Ketchikan 47-31; lost to Thunder Mountain 43-41, 37-36, 47-42, 58-45.
Head coach Tanya Nizich, assistant coach Nicole Fenumiai, Jasmine James.
“I think this tournament will be very exciting across the board,” Nizich said. “Our team has a lot of passion and a hard work ethic. We know what needs to be done in order to be successful. We need to be confident and execute what we have been working on in practices this season. We are quite capable of great things and they know. We have the tools, we just need to fire on all cylinders. Having other members of our team step up in these last few games have been huge for us. Chloe Casperson, Rayna Tuckwood, Gwen Nizich and Tatum Billings. They have helped give our team and our seniors a real spark when they get in the game. They are all contributing in many aspects for us and we are counting on them to continue playing big roles this week.”
Roster – Seniors: No. 3 Carlynn Casperson 5’7; No. 4 Kiyara Miller 5’4; No. 11 Mariah Schauwecker 5’6; No. 13 Skylar Tuckwood 5’9; No. 25 Ashley Laudert 6’2; No. 40 Izzy Waters 5’6. Juniors: No. 5 Rayna Tuckwood 5’5; No. 10 Chloe Casperson 5’6; No. 24 Mila Hargrave 6’1. Freshmen: No. 15 Gwen Nizich 5’8.
Juneau-Douglas – Seniors: Angelina Hammons, Emma Busby, Gilian Essary, Liezl Escalona, Natalie Wittwer, Piper Robidoux, Reuben Grimes, Ryan Shattuck, Sandrenia Nickel-Bean, Summer Lucas. Juniors: Claire Durling, Emily Delgado, Joanna Magalotti, Julia Felix, Mila Griffin, Yela Cristobal. Head coach Carlene Nore.
Ketchikan – Seniors: Ali Thomas, Brooklin Dillard, Katie Bolling, Kya Zink, Kevon Reese, Logenn Merrill. Juniors: Gabby Tirado, Grace Bowers, Hope Call, Janessa Caguiat, Julia Biagi, Marley Lewis, Mic Ronquillo, Colin Elliot. Sophomores: Clara Odden, Corrin Johnson, Kellyn Briggs, Rowan Bolshakoff, Paul Thompson. Freshmen: Bristol Albrant, Kate Thomas. Head coach Jaylyn Merrill.
Thunder Mountain – Seniors: Aliyah Overturf, Brooke McAndrews, Reilley Halverson, Rina Basalise, Stig Cunningham, Valeri Remsberg. Juniors: Hannah Watts, Katelyn Kohuth, Lacie Gehring, Rylynn Martin. Sophomores: Elijah Levy, Gracie Kohuth, Kajson Cunningham, Samantha Day, Savannah Cornett-Markey, Tenlee Roemer. Freshmen: Avery Cornett-Markey, Braith Dihle, Faith Montez, Hadley Bex, Jadyn Cook, Jessica Scussel, Lorelei Urrutia-Lugo, Michelle Meeks, Taylor Mesdag. Head coach Stephany Day.
Thunder Mountain – Seniors: Kristie Kulbeth. Juniors: Sophia Owen. Sophomores: Kylie Lowenstein, Sierra Carroll, Brenna Reynolds. Freshmen: Kaidence Hall, Claire Snyder, Lorelai Bingham. Head coach Jayce Wendling, assistant coach Terisa Hall.
Ketchikan – Seniors: Czarina Cabillo. Juniors: Haleigh Bolton, Tristin Dalin, Chelsea Willis, Dan Mango. Sophomores: Sasha Pannigona-Doyon, Jalia Rodriguez, Myleigh Sambrano, Natalie Klose, Sarah Weyhmiller. Freshmen: Czara Cabillo, Morgan DeLaet, Aurora Scott. Head coach Alma Parker, assistant coach Madison Pope.
Juneau-Douglas – Seniors: Lake Bartlett, Sandra Bouvier, Sydney Carter, Gracie Danner, Aaron Mulgrew Truitt, Lydia Ploof. Juniors: David Boman, Carson Gonce, Paul King, Nikky King, Marrean Rushton, Kai Scott, Edgar Vera Alvarado. Sophomores: Tatum Billings, Isabel Danner, Nick Iverson, Jennifer Li, Maisy Messing. Freshmen: Cayman Huff, Samuel Lagerquist. Head coach Amy Bibb.
Thunder Mountain – Seniors: Caleb McDermott, Evan Csech, Kaden Jim, Lou Hannasch, Mallory Welling, Mercedes Cordero, Percy Padron, Reese Bunten, Richard Hulse, Robert Zukas, Zane Johnson. Juniors: Beck Schneider, Connor Greene, Corbin Corson, Elijah Harvey, Iosefa Allen, Jake White, Justin Scussel, Luke Ferguson, Mackenzie Lam, Roland Peterson, Saraiah Smith, Sydney Bennett. Sophomores: Dori Germain, Hayden Soboleff, Lucy Bennett, Marzena Whitmore, Quentin Curtis, Trygve Hartman. Freshmen: Aaron Doten-Ferguson, Alex Greene, Brynna Morgan, Katie Oudekerk, Kelsie Powers, Marcos Lopez, Nathanael Rice, Randy Stichart, Scott Pleasants. Head coach Brian Van Kirk.
Ketchikan – Seniors: Abby Hancock, Alex King, Annie Paxton, David Rasmussen, Ella Stockhausen, Emily Bolling, Faith Hehr, Madisen Lundamo, Samantha Rothery, Tysaun Nelson-Huges. Juniors: Alondra Resto, Fawn Breese, Gavin Hiller, Kristall Bullock, Meg Miranda, Nyron Hull, Robert Yorobe, Sanjeev Puta. Sophomores: Casey Styles, Evan Gunn, Lexi Leach, Neila Urquart. Freshmen: Abbie Javed, Bella Brown, Carter Phillips, Clara Edenfield, Evan Dash, Olivia Kantor, River Colvell, Rachelle Tavo. Head coach Matt Lenhard.