In this March 24, 2018 photo, Haines’ Christine Hansen drives against Yakutat’s Janie Jensen during the Women’s final in the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this March 24, 2018 photo, Haines’ Christine Hansen drives against Yakutat’s Janie Jensen during the Women’s final in the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Skagway women poised to make Gold Medal debut

Team might be first of its kind at annual tournament

This year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament will feature a rare sight — a team from Skagway.

This Skagway team is even more notable, because it might be the first time Skagway has ever had a women’s team at the annual tournament. Tiffanie Potter, one of the organizers of the team, said she’s asked around and nobody in town can recall a women’s team from Skagway ever participating in Gold Medal.

Speaking by phone from Skagway, Potter said Skagway produces plenty of basketball players, but it doesn’t seem to keep them.

“There’s not enough of us who grew up playing basketball here that have come back,” Potter said, “until this last year.”

A couple women graduated from college and moved back to town recently, Potter said, and a group of at least eight players is signed up to come down to Juneau for the tournament that starts March 17. It’s the first team, in any bracket, that Skagway is sending to Juneau since sometime in the 1980s, Potter said.

She and a few of the other players have been scrimmaging against the Skagway High School’s girls basketball team for a while, Potter said, and the idea to play in the tournament hatched there.

“Gold Medal got brought up one day after a scrimmage,” Potter said. “We were just sitting there talking and we all kind of committed to the idea, not really thinking it was going to happen, I think.”

Contrary to that expectation, the team came together. They sent in their letter of interest to the Juneau Lion’s Club (which runs the event), and the Lion’s Club approved and invited them to be part of the tournament. Skagway joins Angoon, Haines, Hoonah, Kake and Yakutat (the defending champion) in the women’s field.

Skagway has only one Gold Medal title to its name, claiming the 1973 B Bracket championship. Though this year’s team is new to the field, Potter said she hopes they can make some noise in this year’s tournament.

“We definitely want to go and put up a bit of competition,” Potter said. “We don’t want to go and just get totally stomped, so hopefully that doesn’t happen.”

The community of Skagway has already started supporting the team, Potter said, with donations and encouragement. There’s already a buzz around the team that this dream is about to come true.

“We’re just really excited and super grateful that the Lions Club invited us to join this tournament,” Potter said. “It’s something that I know all of us have really wanted to do for years, really.”


• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


More in Sports

A total of 145 boys from 10 Southeast Alaska high schools dash out from the starting line at the Capital City Invite at A Káx Yaa Andagan Yé (Sandy Beach) on Saturday morning. The 5K race for boys’ and girls’ teams was the region’s largest cross-country race of the season, and final regular season competition before the regional championship in Sitka this weekend. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Many merry after massive muddy meet

Juneau’s cross-country runners and coaches in sunny spirits about chances going into championships

TMHS’ Ashlyn Gates and JDHS’ Mila Hargrave both reach for the ball during the second set of a cross-town volleyball match held at JDHS on Friday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
TMHS wins two cross-town matches

TMHS wins two cross-town matches

A Lucas White (21) block buys Jarrell Williams (1) more room to work during a 49-32 win against Service High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Juneau cooks up a conference title

Huskies are back-to-back Cook Inlet Conference champs after lopsided win.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
From left to right, Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau; SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium project manager Sierra Gadaire; High Cadence Triathlon team coach Jamie Bursell; and City and Borough of Juneau Finance Director Jeff Rogers met at Juneau Moose Family Center on Thursday afternoon to share a recap of the Ironman Alaska to a full crowd of members of the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce who joined in at the luncheon.
2023 vision: Officials look at the future of Ironman Alaska

They reviewed what went well and what could change for next time.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
Two-time national champion and Olympic bronze medalist Gracie Gold talks with the Juneau Empire ahead of her upcoming free speech at Juneau-Douglas High School on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
Olympian takes time to talk mental health

Bronze medalist, 2-time champ to speak Saturday.

Jarrell Williams (1) and Thomas Baxter (84) celebrate a big play on defense early in Juneau's win over the visiting West Valley Rams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Huskies get the Rams’ goat under Friday night lights

Juneau remains undefeated on the season.

Most Read