Page 1

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

2018 GOLD MEDAL TOURNAMENT BRACKETS | 14-17

Action preview | 3

Pro Players | 5

Who’s playing and when? Keep up with the action

All four 2017 champions are back this year

Haines’ Kyle Fossman and Hydaburg’s Damen Bell-Holter to play


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

Table of Contents Bracket breakdown, Nolin Ainsworth

3

JUNEAU LIONS CLUB

PRO PLAYERS BACKLASH, Alex McCarthy

5

“WE SERVE”

A HISTORY OF GOLD MEDAL TITLES

6

GOLD MEDAL HALL OF FAME

7

‘I’ve seen every game,’ Alex McCarthy

9

SNAPSHOTS FROM GOLD MEDAL 2017

12

BRACKETS

Staff:

2017-2018 Lions Year Club Officers

14-17

Game Schedule Sunday, March 18 10 a.m. –––––––––––––––– 11:30 a.m. –––––––––––––– 1 p.m.–––––––––––––––––– 2:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 4 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 7:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 9 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– Monday, March 19 12:30 p.m. –––––––––––––– 2 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 3:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 7:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 9 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– Tuesday, March 20 12:30 p.m. –––––––––––––– 2 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 3:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 7:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 9 p.m.–––––––––––––––––– Wednesday, March 21 12:30 p.m. –––––––––––––– 2 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 3:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 7:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 9 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– Thursday, March 22 12:30 p.m. –––––––––––––– 2 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 3:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 7:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 9 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– Friday, March 23 2 p.m ––––––––––––––––– 3:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 7:30 p.m. ––––––––––––––– Saturday, March 24 2 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 4 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 6 p.m. ––––––––––––––––– 8 p.m. –––––––––––––––––

P. O. Box 020911 * Juneau, Alaska 99802-0911 Website: www.goldmedalbasketball.org Email: juneaulions2017@gmail.com

C Game 1: Hydaburg vs. Hoonah B Game 2: Hydaburg vs. Kake C Game 3: Angoon vs.Yakutat B Game 4: Klukwan vs.Yakutat C Game 5: Metlakatla vs. Filcom B Game 6: Haines vs. Angoon C Game 7: Kake vs. Klukwan B Game 8: Hoonah vs. Sitka C Game 9: Winner 1 vs. Winner 3 Game 10: Hoonah vs. Kake M B Game 11: Winner 2 vs. Winner 4 B Game 12: Winner 6 vs. Winner 8 C Game 13: Winner 5 vs. Winner 7 M Game 14:Yakutat vs. Klukwan W Game 15: Haines vs.Yakutat C Game 16: Loser 1 vs. Loser 3 B Game 17: Loser 2 vs. Loser 4 C Game 18: Loser 5 vs. Loser 7 W Game 19: Kake vs. Hoonah B Game 20: Loser 6 vs. Loser 8 Game 21: Loser 10 vs. Loser 14 M C Game 22: Loser 13 vs. Winner 15 B Game 23: Loser 11 vs. Winner 17 C Game 24: Loser 9 vs. Winner 18 B Game 25: Loser 12 vs. Winner 20 W Game 26: Loser 15 vs. Loser 19 C Game 27: Winner 22 vs. Winner 24 M Game 28: Winner 10 vs. Winner 14 B Game 29: Winner 23 vs. Winner 25 W Game 30: Winner 15 vs. Winner 19 B Game 31: Winner 11 vs. Winner 12 C Game 32: Winner 9 vs. Winner 13 W Game 33: Loser 30 vs. Winner 26 M Game 34: Loser 28 vs. Winner 21 C Game 35: Loser 32 vs. Winner 27 B Game 36: Loser 31 vs. Winner 29

SASHA SOBOLEFF President Vacant 1st Vice president NICOLE MCCABE 2nd Vice President SHANNON BIBLE 3rd Vice President EDWARD HOTCH Immediate Past President SARAH DYBDAHL Secretary JANICE HOTCH Treasurer HEIDI RICHARDSMAZON Membership TIM WILSON Tail Twister Directors MARY LEKANOF 1-YEAR EUNICE LEE 2-YEAR

2018 GMBT Co-Chairs

March 18, 2018 Welcome to the 72nd Annual Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Invitational Basketball Tournament. The Gold Medal Tournament is supported by Southeast communities who send their teams and players to settle who will reign #1 for the year. The Gold Medal Tournament allows tournament players and fans to visit with friends and family. It’s a time of celebration, fellowship and creating new memories while sharing past memories and connecting with one another. Take the time to read the booklet, learn about the history of the Lions Club – what the club does locally, nationally and internationally. I wish all teams the best of luck & display your sportsmanship. Enjoy the games and I hope every game provides you with fond memories to hold on to! Now, let’s play ball! Warmest best wishes, Lion Sasha Soboleff President Juneau Lions Club

Tim Wilson Sarah Dybdahl Shannon Bible

W Game 37: Winner 30 vs. Winner 33 Game 39: Winner 28 vs. Winner 34 M C Game 39: Winner 27 vs. Winner 35 B Game 40: Winner 31 vs. Winner 36

Publisher jleong@ gatehousemedia. com 523-2253

Editor emiller@ juneauempire.com 523-2263

Marketing & Circulation Director ccomas@ juneauempire.com 523-2222

Pressroom Manager smiller@ juneauempire.com

Advertising Director kfritz@ juneauempire.com 523-2274

Page Designer dpiscoya@ juneauempire.com 523-2246

Main Line: 5863740 Address: 3100 Channel Drive, Juneau, AK 99801


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Gold MEdal Basketball Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

Bracket Breakdown

All four 2017 champions back this year Kake, Hoonah and Yakutat field teams in all four brackets By Nolin Ainsworth Juneau Empire

It was quite a year for Haines and Klukwan at the 2017 Juneau Lions Club’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Championship Saturday started with a win by the Haines women and ended with a win by the Haines men. In between, Andrew Friske led Klukwan to the C Bracket championship in a triple-overtime win over AK Caches/ James Gang (Juneau). Here is a look at how the brackets shook out last year and the new teams to look out for.

C Bracket

Andrew Friske led Klukwan to the C Bracket championship in a triple-overtime win over AK Caches/James Gang (Juneau). “It’s definitely the best showing (by Haines) I’ve seen since I’ve been playing,” Klukwan player and C Bracket MVP Andrew Friske said. Friske scored 22 points and teammate Jesse McGraw had 25 in their triple-overtime classic, the longest game in Gold Medal basketball history. “Honestly, I was just thinking of how tired I was — especially by the third over-

time,” Friske, 39, said. “The Juneau team definitely made some big shots there on each overtime to go into the following overtime. Each time we thought we had them, they’d come up and make a shot and before we knew it we were in another overtime.” Klukwan will try to make it three C Bracket championships in a row this year. They won’t have AK Cache/James Gang to contend with, but their replacement — Hydaburg — is just as formidable, according to Friske. “They bring instant championship possibilities,” Friske said. “Looking at their roster, if all those guys show up, the Vegas odds would be pointing in their direction.” Hydaburg won back-to-back C Bracket championships in 2014 and 2015 with many of the same guys listed on this year’s preliminary roster. Friske said he expects Metlakatla and Filcom to be tough as well. Hoonah, Angoon, Yakutat and Kake will also be contending for a championship this year in the C Bracket.

LEFT: Angoon’s Dustin Endicott shoots against Kake’s Shawn Jackson, center, and Lance Doake in the B bracket on the first day of the Juneau Lions Club’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at JuneauDouglas High School on March 19, 2017. Kake won 86-73. BELOW LEFT: Klukwan’s Jason Shull, right, is pressured by Filcom’s Franz Kugelman, center, and Ronan Tagsip during their C Bracket game on March 20, 2017. Photos by Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file

Last five C Bracket champions

2017: Klukwan 2016: Klukwan 2015: Hydaburg 2014: Hydaburg 2013: Hoonah

SEE CHAMPS | Page 4

Tires, Brakes, Alignment, Shocks, Wheels, Batteries


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

CHAMPS: Continued from Page 3

B Bracket

Hydaburg’s B Bracket squad won’t be too shabby, either. Former Boston Celtic Damen BellHolter, who’s hosting a Juneau youth basketball camp March 17-19, will be making his Gold Medal debut for his village. He and Hydaburg will try to dethrone Haines’ Kyle Fossman, another decorated collegiate player with professional playing experience. Like their Klukwan peers, Haines went undefeated in the tournament, clipping Hydaburg, Wrangell and Hoonah en route to the championship game. Hoonah defeated Yakutat and Kake in the first two rounds before falling to Haines. They recovered with an 85-77 win over Wrangell to set up the rematch with Haines. In addition to Haines, Hoonah and Hydaburg, Kake, Klukwan, Yakutat, Angoon and Sitka will play this year. Last five champions

2017: Haines 2016: Angoon 2015: Hydaburg 2014: Angoon 2013:Angoon

Women’s Bracket

Like their B Bracket counterparts, Hoonah and Haines also met twice in the women’s bracket last year and with similar results. The Haines women took down Hoonah 62-55 in the first round and 52-30 two games later in the championship. In between, they downed Yakutat 65-52. Haines and Hoonah will be joined by Kake and Yakutat in the Women’s Bracket this year. Last four champions

2017: Haines 2016: Haines 2015: Hoonah 2014: Yakutat

Master’s Bracket

Unlike their B and Women’s Bracket teams, the Hoonah Master’s team would not lose their championship game. They won by double-digits over Kake and Angoon in the first two rounds before meeting Kake in the championship. Once there, they came back from a second-half deficit to win 80-78. Hoonah’s Albert Hinchman scored the last four points of the game, including the go-ahead basket, to become the Master’s Bracket MVP. Both Hoonah and Kake are back for this year’s tournament. Yakutat and Klukwan replace Angoon and Sitka as the other

two Master’s Bracket teams. Last five champions

2017: Hoonah 2016: Kake 2015: Hoonah 2014: Klukwan 2013: Klukwan

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.

TOP: Hoonah competes against Yakutat in their Womens Bracket game in the Juneau Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 24, 2017. Hoonah won 56-53. ABOVE: Angoon’s Paul Johnson lays the ball up against Hoonah’s Ed Mercer Jr. in their Masters Bracket game on March 23, 2017. Photos by Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File


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Gold medal BASKETBALL Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

Gold Medal continues to allow former professional players in tournament Damen Bell-Holter will participate in annual tournament for first time By Alex McCarthy Juneau Empire

When former professional basketball player Damen Bell-Holter decided to participate in Juneau Lions Club’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament for his hometown of Hydaburg this year, he was elated to finally get a chance to compete in the event. Others were not so happy. The amateur basketball tournament, entering its 72nd year, has always had a policy that current professional basketball players cannot participate in the event. Many amateur sporting events are the same way, looking to preserve an amount of fairness in the competition. Bell-Holter, whose professional career has taken him all the way to a brief stay with the Boston Celtics in 2013, is currently not on contract with any team. As Juneau Lions Club President Sasha Soboleff explained, if a person isn’t currently signed to play for a professional basketball team, he or she can participate in Gold Medal. Kyle Fossman, a standout player for Haines, played professionally for the Fraport Skyliners in Frankfurt, Germany from 2014-15. “They’ve had exposure and gotten paid for playing,” Soboleff said, “but neither of them currently do.” Soboleff said organizers of the tournament always meet and discuss possible changes to the tournament every year. He said there was

discussion this year about whether to change the rules about former professional players participating, but that ultimately they decided not to make a change. Still, there was backlash that Bell-Holter saw on social media that some people strongly opposed the fact that he was going to participate. He understood that people might have been concerned about preserving the fairness of the competition. “Of course they’re going to be upset,” Bell-Holter said, “but at the same time, all it’s going to do is, there are going to be a lot of excited people there to watch me and there are going to be a lot of excited people there to watch Kyle.” Behind Fossman, the Haines team captured the B Bracket title in 2017, the village’s first championship in a decade. Haines outlasted Hoonah in the title game, with Fossman leading all scorers with 29 points. Fossman was named the tournament’s MVP. Hydaburg went 1-2 in the B Bracket last year. Leading up to this year’s tournament, the Hydaburg team has seen some success with Bell-Holter, 27, on the roster. He said the team won a tournament in Sitka in December, and that he and his teammates are already quite familiar with each other after having grown up together. Gold Medal runs from March 18-24 in Juneau this year, and Bell-Holter said he’s looking forward to helping raise the popularity of the event. From March 1719, he’s running a basketball camp in Juneau in conjunction with Central Council

Professional basketball player Damen Bell-Holter, a Haida from Hydaburg, visits sixth-graders at Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School to give an inspirational speech on Dec. 8. Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File

Tlingit & Haida Tribes of Alaska and Sealaska for elementary and middle school students. Providing a positive example for children, BellHolter said, is one of the biggest services that Gold Medal provides. It brings communities together, he said, and it would be a shame if the best players in those communities weren’t allowed to play. “It shouldn’t be a concern about whether a person who comes from our communities can participate because they’re too good,” Bell-Holter said. “That’s pretty backwards. We should be encouraging our college athletes and professional athletes, when we have them, to play in these tournaments and to interact with the communities. All it does is encourage these kids.” • Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

A history of Gold Medal Tournament Titles It is not the size of the community that determines a bracket category championship win. Rather, it is the heart, soul and teamwork of the players who represent each community. If you can run the pickand-role, switch on defense, block out and hit free throws, you can play at any level (of course, it never hurts to have a 6 foot, 9 inch center or a guard that is nothing-butnet from anywhere inside of half court). And if you cannot play, you can still cheer from the stands, run around the gym with a team banner, write your favorite player’s name on your clothing or ask the referee if he needs to borrow your reading glasses. ANGOON (14 titles)

B Bracket: 1976, 1978, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2016 C Bracket: 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989 Women’s Bracket: 2004 Intermediate Bracket: 2006

Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File

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HYDABURG (10 titles)

B Bracket: 1987, 1988, 1995, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2015 C Bracket: 1989, 2014, 2015

JUNEAU (33 titles)

Single Bracket: 1955 AA Bracket: 1963, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982 A Bracket: 1963, 1964, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2004, 2005 C Bracket: 1996, 2003 Women’s Bracket: 2003, 2007 Master’s Bracket: 2007, 2009

KAKE (19 titles)

Single Bracket: 1958 AA Bracket: 1970, 1971, 1972, 1981

A Bracket: 1966, 1970, 1971 B Bracket: 1989, 1998, 2004 C Bracket: 1981, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 Masters Bracket: 2016

HAINES (14 titles)

KETCHIKAN (11 titles)

ANCHORAGE (2 titles) A girl cheers on Hoonah as Hoonah competes against Yakutat in their Womens Bracket game in the Juneau Lions Club’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, March 24, 2017. Hoonah won 56-53.

1965, 1966, 1972 A Bracket: 1972, 1973, 1974 B Bracket: 1981, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002, 2008, 2009 C Bracket: 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2013 Masters Bracket: 2011, 2015, 2017 Women’s Bracket: 2015

AA Bracket: 1958 A Bracket: 2003

FAIRBANKS (5 titles)

A Bracket: 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983 B Bracket: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2017 Women’s Bracket: 2016, 2017

HOONAH (27 titles)

AA

Bracket:

1962,

1968, 1991, 1998, 2009, 2012,

Single Bracket: 1948, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1959, 1960 AA Bracket: 1967 B Bracket: 1974, 1975 C Bracket: 1990, 1991

KLAWOCK (9 titles)

B Bracket: 1985

C Bracket: 1982, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005 Masters Bracket: 2010 KLUKWAN (7 titles)

A Bracket: 1962, 1967 Masters Bracket: 2008, 2013, 2014 C Bracket: 2016, 2017

METLAKATLA (5 titles)

Single Bracket: 1951 AA bracket: 1961 A Bracket: 1984 B Bracket:1996 Women’s Bracket: 2006

MOUNT EDGECUMBE (1 title)

Single Bracket: 1953

NOME (1 title)

B Bracket: 1971

PETERSBURG (6 titles)

Single Bracket: 1947 A Bracket: 1961, 1965, 1975 B Bracket: 1972, 1977

PRINCE OF WALES (5 titles)

Women’s Bracket: 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 SITKA (15 titles)

Single Bracket: 1949, 1956, 1957 AA Bracket: 1964 A Bracket: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000 C Bracket: 1983, 1985, 1992, 1993, 1994

SKAGWAY (1 title)

B Bracket: 1973

TENAKEE (1 title)

A Bracket: 2001

YAKUTAT (8 titles)

B Bracket: 1979, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1992, 1994 C Bracket: 1997 Women’s Bracket: 2014


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

Gold Medal Hall of Fame 1961

Herb Didrickson Duane Vincent Gilbert Booth Herman Ludwigson John Mills Moses Johnson Robert “Jeff” David

1963

Roger Lang

1966

Richard “Itch” Hansen

1970

Louis Bonnett

1978

Bill Tompkins

1980

Dick Hotch Paul Rudolph

1981

Tommy Atkinson

1982

Gene Franks

1983

Del Hanks *

1984

Harry “Buddy” Lang

1985

Paul White

1986

Lew Love †

1987

Gim Taguchi Harry Johansen Vern Metcalfe •

1988

Bob Gallagher Ed Hildre Grant Ritter W.S. “Bill” Dapecevich † William “Billy” Bean

1989

Dewey Skan John Thein Pat Ness Terry Pegues •

1990

Claude Roberts † Harry Aase

Jim Nielsen John Hope • Nels Otness Tom Sifferman 1991

Archie Cavanaugh, Sr. Charlie Didrickson Joe Ninnis John Maxand Lee Maxwell Ray Howard

1992

Dennis Gray Frank Wilson John Hinchman, Sr.

1993

Dick Deal Dick Leavitt Albert Kookesh Frank White Randy Hayward

1994

Alan Boskofsky Chauncy Jacobs † David Andrews † Dr. Cyrus E. Peck, Sr. † Dr. Walter A. Soboleff † Jay Levan Norm Carson

1996

George Henninger Jeff Klanott Johan Dybdahl Ray Peterson Ray Skan

1997

Jim Abbott Mike Bavard Terry Friske Mike Jensen

1998

Elroy Edenshaw Tom Katzeek

1999

Bill Hutton Al Duncan Howard Starbard Norman Skan Terry Sele

2000

Jim Bremner Jim Dybdahl

2001

Andy Lee Bill Lockhart Leo Houston †

2002

Greg Huebschen Steve Bavard Pat Kemp Sid Edenshaw Walter Johnson Jerry Scudero

2003

Greg Stigen Kenny Johnson

2004

Bob Janes, Sr. † Ron Payne Stuart Mills Sam Jackson, Jr. Matt Wheeler

2005

Ted Burke † Ron “Eddy” Whitcraft • Alfred Nix Hugh Reitz

2007

Bob Sims • Ed Wilburn

2008

Larry Sweet, Sr.

2009

Ivan Gamble Glen Padgett George Erickson

2010

Kevin Casperson Louie White Sr. Alyce Houston † Bob Beierly •

2011

Joyce Kitka †

2012

Stephen Brandner Clifton “Kip” Howard

2013

None Selected

2014

Travis Dybdahl

2015

William “Rudy” Bean Jr. Lance “Jay” Peterson

Lloyd P. Davis Joe Klushkan Willis Cavanaugh 2016

Les Jenson Jim James

2017

Joe Thompson Nick Davis Stewart Dewitt

* Worthy Lion, Founder of the Gold Medal Tournament † Worthy Lion • Radio Play-By-Play Announcer Extraordinaire

Criteria for consideration For an individual to be considered, the Juneau Lions Club must receive a nomination and supporting documentation in writing. The sponsoring entity may be a community, another individual, a group of persons, or her or himself. All supporting documentation must be presented to the Lions Club at the time of the nomination. The Gold Medal Hall of Fame Committee will review the application and supporting documents within seven days of receipt and or it will be addressed at the next Lions Club Gold Medal meeting. If all the required information is not included with the nomination/application the presenter will be advised the nomination is incomplete and that it will not be considered until all required information is furnished. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring entity to provide all the required information that is outlined in this guideline. It is important to note that a person who is nominated must have special participation in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament which places that individual into a category different than the “ordinary”’ such as being recognized with additional tournament awards. For persons other than players and coaches, those individuals considered should have placed themselves in a position described as “above and beyond” the call of regular duty.


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

Hoonah woman continues streak of seeing every Gold Medal game Harriet Knudson has attended the tournament since it began in 1946 By Alex McCarthy Juneau Empire

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in the Empire during last year’s Gold Medal coverage on March 26, 2017. It is too good not to print here again. Enjoy. Early in the second half of Tuesday’s Angoon-Yakutat women’s game at the Gold Medal Tournament, two opposing players collided as Angoon sought to push the tempo, sending multiple players to the court as the ball bounced

away. Just a few feet from the chaotic scene sat Harriet Knudson, and she didn’t flinch. Sitting in her wheelchair just off the court, she kept her hands neatly folded in front of her chest. She has seen much stranger plays happen. After all, she asserts that she’s seen every Gold Medal game since the event began in 1946. By the time Saturday night ends, the 82-year-old Hoonah native will have watched all 40 games of this year’s tournament. As she watches, she remembers back to when the

tournament took place at the old Juneau High School on Fifth Street, and when Sam and Gim Taguchi were the standout players in the late 1940s. Gold Medal has been a massively important part of her life, as she and her late husband Ralph ran the tournament for a few years in the 1970s when she and Ralph — who died in 2011 — were higher-ups with the Juneau Lions Club. Now, she carries no responsibility for the way the tournament is run. All she does is watch. “It feels good,” Knudson said during a break between games Thursday. “I can lean back and enjoy myself.”

She’s been in that spot — by the southeast corner of the court, with her left wheel lined up with the free-throw line on that end of the court — for the past few years. Years ago, she and Ralph sat in that same corner, but on the baseline. Their daughter Irene, a retired nurse, took care of them both and continues to care for Harriet. As Harriet sat and waited for the evening games to begin Thursday, she remembered back a few years to when she had a stroke. She points out that she might be the only one left who has seen all of the games, as many of the others have died. “But I won’t give up,” Harriet said. “I’m an old die-hard.”

“I can’t keep up with her,” Irene added. One key part

Sasha Soboleff, whose father was one of the founders of the tournament, launched into the history of the event when asked about Knudson. The story of the event and the story of the people surrounding the event are almost inseparable. “Harriet’s one key part of it,” Soboleff explained. “Every community has extensive family ties.” Harriet’s family has particularly strong ties, with her and Ralph running the tournament and her brother, Dennis Gray, being a 1992 Hall of Fame inductee for his play

with Hoonah. The whole family, like many families represented at the tournament, is raised on Gold Medal. Hoonah has perhaps the most passionate following, with almost half the stands full of Hoonah supporters at any given time. The village takes its basketball very seriously, with Harriet’s level of passion being the rule and not the exception. That excitement has remained constant throughout the years, especially for Harriet. During the week of the tournament, Irene’s phone will sometimes ring at 8 a.m. or earlier, Harriet on the line. “I’m up,” Harriet will say. SEE STREAK | Page 19

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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

DEDICATION TO THE GAME LEFT: Wrangell's Tony Harding, left, drives against Haines' Tyler Healey during their B Bracket game at the Juneau Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 20, 2017. BELOW LEFT: Yakutat’s Lorena Williams, right, wrestles with Angoon’s Roxann Braley, left, and Rosanna See for the ball during the Women’s Bracket game on March 21, 2017. Yakutat won 61-41. BELOW: Klukwan competes against Juneau’s James Gang in the C Bracket finals on March 25, 2017. Klukwan won in triple overtime 107-97.


13

GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File

Klukwan’s Jason Shull drives to the basket against Juneau James Gang’s Billy Ehlers in the C Bracket finals of the Lions Club’s 71st Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 25, 2017. Klukwan won in triple overtime 107-97.

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14

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

B BRACKET Hydaburg 3/18 Kake

3/19

Klukwan 3/18 Yakutat

3/22

Haines 3/18 Angoon

3/19 3/23

Hoonah 3/18

Sitka

3/23

3/21 3/20 3/22

3/21 3/20

ABOVE: Angoon's Stephen Johnson shoots against Kake's Tim Demmert in the B Bracket on the first day of the Lion's Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 19, 2017. Kake won 86-73. RIGHT: Haines’ Tyler Healey shoots against Hoonah’s Jaylin Prince in the B Bracket finals of the Lions Club’s 71st Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 25, 2017. Haines won in overtime 79-73. Photos by Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File


15

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

C BRACKET Hydaburg 3/18

Hoonah

3/19

Angoon 3/18

Yakutat 3/22 Metlakatla 3/18 3/23 Filcom

3/19

Kake 3/18 3/23

3/21

Klukwan 3/20

3/22

3/21 3/20

LEFT: Filcom's Franz Kugelmann, bottom, and AK Caches/James Gang's Levi Hotch dive for a loose ball during their C Bracket game at the Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 19, 2017. Filcom won 59-51. RIGHT: Filcom’s Nino Bohulano, right, shoots against Klukwan’s Andrew Friske during their C Bracket game at the Lions Club’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 20, 2017. Photos by Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File


16

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

Masters Bracket Hoonah 3/19 Kake

3/22

Yakutat 3/19

3/23

Klukwan

3/23

3/21

ABOVE: Angoon's Randy Gamble, left, and Hoonah's Mike Miles compete for a rebound in their Masters Bracket game in the Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Thursday, March 23, 2017. RIGHT: Kake’s Keith Nelson, bottom, and Sitka’s Mike Martin dive for a loose ball during the Master’s Bracket game in the Lions Club’s Gold Medal Baseketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Wednesday, March 22, 2017. Photos by Michael Penn | Juneau Empire Files


17

Gold Medal Basketball Tournament | March 18 - 24, 2018

WOMEN’S BRACKET Haines 3/20

Yakutat

3/22

Kake 3/20 3/23 Hoonah

3/23

3/21

LEFT: Yakutat's Lorena Williams, left, slaps the ball away from Hoonah's Melissa Fisher in their Womens Bracket game in the Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, March 24, 2017. Hoonah won 56-53. RIGHT: Yakutat’s Nadine Fraker attempts to steal the ball from Hoonah’s Mariah Martin in their Womens Bracket game in the Lions Club’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday, March 24, 2017. Hoonah won 56-53. Photos by Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File


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GOLD MEDAL BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | March 18 - 24, 2018

STREAK: Continued from Page 9

“I’m ready.” “We’ve got three hours,” Irene will respond. “We’ll go in there at 11:30.” “But Hoonah plays at 12:30,” Harriet will respond. “We’ll go in at 11, then.” When they arrive, they always set up in the same spot. Harriet’s cousin Steve, who is also in a wheelchair, takes his spot next to her. She and Irene have their system down, usually bringing the same food to eat between games — bananas and a couple of peanut butter and tuna sandwiches for Harriet. She has four sons and four daughters, resulting in numerous grandchildren and greatgrandchildren. She comes equipped with raisins and other healthy snacks for the youngest. Harriet, who keeps her sentences short and voice fairly low, keeps an unassuming image but still has the awareness to survive on the sidelines. “The ball comes at her a lot and she does pay attention,” Irene said. “She has fast reflexes. Going on 83, you can’t fool that old lady. You cannot.” Irene always sits just behind her mother, ready to help at any moment. Her voice is hoarse by the end of the week after cheering for multiple teams. She’s a Hoonah native, but raised her boys and coached basketball in Metlakatla, so she tends to root for them as well. She’s been attending these games her whole life. Her fondest memory is probably when Roy Howard Sr. made a half-court shot to win a game for Hoonah in the 1960s, but she’s also enjoyed the recent addition of the women’s bracket. “It’s changed a lot,” Irene said. “I used to listen to my dad a lot, saying how things changed. You have to pass it on so it can keep going. People

WINTER SALE Great Deals on Select Merchandise Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File

Harriet Knudson watches the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament from her wheelchair at Juneau-Douglas High School on March 22, 2017. Knudson’s daughter, Irene, is seated behind her.

have their own ways of running things, so you either go with the flow or you get left behind.” Living for it

On Friday afternoon, games didn’t start until 2 p.m. About an hour before tipoff, Harriet and Irene arrived. They were the only two passengers on a City and Borough of Juneau Care-A-Van bus, with Harriet getting off first. Instead of her blue jacket that she wore the previous days, she donned a gray hoodie. As Irene gathered bags of snacks, Harriet took off for the front door at Juneau-Douglas High School, leaning on her cane but moving well. She got her wristband that granted entry, and before she got to the gym, someone called her name. It was Mary Tarr, a Hoonah native who grew up knowing Harriet. Tarr bounded over to

Harriet and slipped fry bread into the front pocket of Harriet’s hoodie, wrapping it in a paper towel first. Harriet went into the gym as the Hoonah and Yakutat women warmed up, greeting Gloria McKinley, another older Hoonah native (“She’s my pal,” McKinley said of Harriet). On the speakers, Bon Jovi boasted about the “steel horse” he rides as Irene made her way into the gym, pushing Harriet’s wheelchair. “One more day,” Irene said with a smile. Harriet had already gotten to her spot, impatiently awaiting the 33rd game of the week. “She loves Gold Medal,” Irene had said the day before. “That’s what she lives for.” • Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or amccarthy@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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Gold Medal 2018  
Gold Medal 2018