Connecting You With AK Athletes Outside the 907

The Alaska Sports Blog is sponsored by the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame and provides daily updates on local athletes outside the state. The blog was created in 2009 to fill a void of media coverage once Alaskans left the 907 area code. Former Anchorage Daily News sports editor and Alaska Press Club award winner Van Williams has been with the blog since the beginning and written almost 4,000 stories on some 1,000 Alaska athletes.

Follow us on Twitter: @AKsportshall, Instagram: alaska_sports_hall, and Facebook.

Click here to read more about Van Williams and the Alaska Sports Blog.

October 18, 2018

Alaska doesn’t have the most guys playing NCAA D1 basketball in the country, but per capita we might have the most high-flying dunkers.

Anchorage’s Kwintin Williams of the University of Connecticut is already a YouTube sensation because of his 46-inch vertical jump and amazingly acrobatic slams.

He is a human highlight reel.

The 6-foot-7 senior is the kind of player you can’t take your eyes off when he’s on the court because he can do something spectacular in an instant.

Defenders beware: Williams is a threat to posterize you at any time.

Guards, forwards, centers – no one is safe.

Williams might be the captain of Flight 907, but don’t sleep on co-pilots Devonaire Doutrive and Bentiu Panoam of Anchorage.

Doutrive, of West High fame, is a true freshman at the University of Arizona and he wasted no time proving a point at the annual Blue-Red Game.

He’s ready to contribute immediately.

The 6-foot-5 guard played spirited minutes on both ends of the floor, hounding ballhandlers and attacking the rim.

“The best is yet to come for Devonaire,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.

Doutrive was also a finalist in his team’s dunk contest.

Panoam, of Bartlett High fame, is the smallest player in this Alaska dunk crew but don’t kid yourself, the junior transfer at the University of North Dakota can jump out of the gym.

The 6-foot-2 guard has always had bounce, but not like this.

Panoam should be fun to watch on the break this season because his quickness and instincts make him a steal-and-slam waiting to happen.

October 17, 2018
Bubacar Touray soccer

Bubacar Touray

Anchorage’s Bubacar Touray made NWAC history for the Tacoma Community College men’s soccer team as he became just the 18th player since 2003 to score 20 goals in a season.

It’s only happened three times since 2014.

The former Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year extended his five-game scoring streak after netting an unassisted goal in the 16th minute of a 3-0 win over South Puget Sound in Olympia, Washington.

Touray, of West High fame, leads the NWAC with 20 goals in 16 games – including 10 in the last five games.

The sophomore striker also leads the NWAC with 44 points and 50 shots.

October 16, 2018
Jalil Abdul-Bassit basketball

Jalil Abdul-Bassit

After shining in the Pac-12 and getting some polish overseas, Anchorage’s Jalil Abdul-Bassit believes he’s ready for the NBA G League.

He’s got the game, but will his name be called in Saturday’s draft?

The 6-foot-4 guard is cautiously optimistic.

“I’ve heard from a few teams and had workouts with Philly and Brooklyn, but anything can happen with the draft,” he told me.

The former University of Oregon sharpshooter played briefly in the G League for the Idaho Stampede at the end of the 2016 season as an undrafted free agent. He retained his rookie eligibility because he played in only two games.

He is one of only three Alaskans to play in the G League.

Abdul-Bassit, of West High fame, also played professionally in Australia and Albania, where he built muscle, added to his offensive arsenal and gained confidence.

That’s scary considering was already a renowned shooter – he still ranks No. 2 on Oregon’s all-time 3-point percentage at .429.

He torched the QBL down under before going to Europe, where he took a major step up in competition.

“I worked on my body a lot over there,” he said. “I’m much bigger and stronger now than I was a year ago. But the biggest growth came from my mind. Playing and getting better at basketball is easy, but dealing with different cultures was the toughest thing mentally to get through.”

In Australia, he averaged 24.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists with the Toowoomba Mountaineers and twice reached the 40-point plateau with 43 and 41, and flirted with a triple-double in two of his three final games.

Jalil Abdul-Bassit

Abdul-Bassit played last season for Albania’s Sport Klub Tirana and averaged 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists in the Balkan League.

“Albania was a good experience for my growth as a person. I dealt with a lot of adversity being so far from home for so long,” he said. “Right off the back I had a cultural shock. First two weeks there I got sick. Everything was different. From the food, the people and basketball.

“It was an adjustment for sure but I believe it was something I needed to grow as a person, it made me so much stronger mentally.”

Now 25, Abdul-Bassit is ready to take the next step in his career.

He hopes it comes in the G League.

“It means the world to me,” he said.

October 15, 2018
Ashton Jessee volleyball

Ashton Jessee

University of Hawaii Hilo sophomore Ashton Jessee of Anchorage leads the NCAA D2 PacWest Conference with an average of 1.14 blocks per set.

The 6-foot-3 middle blocker has a total of 73 blocks in 64 sets on the season to match last year’s total – except in nearly 30 fewer sets.

Jessee, of South High fame, has been a dominating force for the Vulcans, which sit in fourth place in the PacWest standings at 9-3. The team is 13-5 overall.

In the team’s most recent match, the Alaska product delivered a career-high .692 hitting percentage with 10 kills on 13 attempts with one error in a sweep of Concordia on the Big Island.

She ranks eighth in the league with a .366 attack percentage on the season, making her arguably the PacWest’s biggest weapon at net.

Jake Foshee football

Jake Foshee

Oklahoma Baptist University tackle Jake Foshee of Fairbanks is part of one of the best offensive lines in NCAA D2 football.

The Bison rank fifth nationally for fewest sacks allowed.

Foshee, of West Valley High fame, is a 6-foot-3, 289-pound sophomore who has started all six games.

The Oklahoma Baptist O-line has allowed just three sacks for a quarterback that attempts 50-plus passes and leads the Great American Conference and ranks 13th nationally with 279.2 yards per game.

October 14, 2018
Brenner Furlong football

Brenner Furlong

Never mind the game, Brenner Furlong saved his college football team’s season.

Marred by a six-game losing streak, Dakota State University needed a spark and the former Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year provided one to propel the Trojans to a 44-28 win over Presentation College in South Dakota.

The freshman from Soldotna blocked a punt and recovered the ball in the end zone to score his first touchdown of his college career and give Dakota State the lead for good.

Furlong is a backup running back for the NAIA Trojans. He also rushed the ball three times for four yards and had a 16-yard punt return.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder has seen limited touches on offense, so he’s had to leave his mark on special teams.

Dakota State trailed 14-10 when Furlong made the play of the game, helping his team snap the losing streak and improve to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in the North Star Athletic Association.

Furlong, of Soldotna High fame, did not lose a game in high school and after the season was named the winner of the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame’s Trajan Langdon Youth Award: For Leadership, Sportsmanship and Inspiration.

October 13, 2018
Kenny Hausinger hockey

Kenny Hausinger

Anchorage’s Kenny Hausinger opened the first and third periods with goals, but it wasn’t enough to save the University of Massachusetts-Lowell men’s hockey team from a 5-4 overtime loss to Rochester Institute of Technology.

The junior forward took four shots, won a faceoff and finished +1 in the nonleague game between Hockey East and Athletic Hockey conference teams.

Hausinger is Alaska’s active leader among NCAA D1 skaters with 19 goals and 40 points in 70 career games.

The 5-foot-9 sniper scored an even-strength goal at the 17:19 mark of the first period to give Lowell a 1-0 lead. His second goal came on the power play 1:24 into the third period to pull his team within 4-3.

This was the fourth time Hausinger has scored two goals in a college game.

October 12, 2018
Reuben MacNaughtton rowing

Reuben MacNaughtton

Juneau’s Reuben MacNaughtton was part of an Ithaca College men’s crew that finished second at the 30th Annual Head of the Genesee in Rochester, New York.

The sophomore helped the Bombers have a strong showing in the second varsity 8 race on opening day.

The rowing competition featured teams from Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Canisius, Binghamton, Buffalo, SUNY and RPI.

MacNaughtton’s boat had the sixth-fastest time among the 13 teams in the two men’s varsity races.

Last year, he was part of the team’s men’s novice 8 crew that placed second at the 2018 National Invitational Rowing Championship and New York State Championship Regatta.

October 11, 2018
Autumn Straub soccer

Autumn Straub

The Lane Community College women’s soccer team earned a 5-0 victory over Southwestern Oregon Community College in the NWAC, but the real winner was the state of Alaska.

That’s because the game featured seven players from the 907.

Leading the way was Anchorage’s Danielle VanOrd, who scored a pair of goals and was one of six Alaskans to play all 90 minutes.

VanOrd, of Bartlett High fame, bagged her 12th and 13th goals of the season and leads all Alaskans and ranks fourth in the NWAC in goals and seventh with 30 points.

Sahara Iverson soccer

Sahara Iverson

The Lane Titans also included Anchorage’s Autumn Straub, Eagle River’s Jesse Scott and Wasilla’s Alia Donley. Each of them played the entire game.

The SWOCC squad featured Sahara Iverson and Shaleen Tolbert of Palmer and Rayvan Dempsey of Fairbanks. Iverson and Dempsey also played the entire game, while Tolbert, a backup goalkeeper, played the final six minutes.

October 10, 2018

Travante Williams basketball

Travante Williams

Ever since Oliveirense Cacarola of the Portuguese League added small forward Travante Williams of Anchorage, the team has been nearly unstoppable.

Oliveirense posted its 16th straight win dating to last season and improved to 37-5 overall since the former UAF men’s basketball star joined the squad.

Williams, of Mt. Edgecumbe High fame, helped his team open defense of its league title with an 89-59 blowout victory over CAB Madeira in the season opener.

The 6-foot-4 wing played just 22 minutes and contributed 11 points, five assists, two rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

This was the fourth time in the last eight games that he had at least five assists.

Williams was named last season’s Portuguese League Defensive Player of the Year and also earned Second Team All-League and First Team All-Import honors.

October 9, 2018
Maxwell Dye golf

Maxwell Dye

Kenai’s Maxwell Dye fired the lowest round for the Marian University men’s golf team after the first two days of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference Championship in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The 5-foot-8 sophomore carded a 5-over 77 at the 6,800-yard Whistling Straits Irish Course, a five-stroke improvement from his Day 1 score.

He shot an 82 on the first day to give him a 36-hole total of 159, leaving him tied for 10th among the 41-man field.

The final two rounds of the NACC Championship are set for April 28-29 from Stonebridge Country Club.

Dye, of Kenai High fame, is one of just two college golfers from Alaska.

He is ranked No. 1 at Marian this season with a 78.5 scoring average in seven rounds. His low score was 76.

Dye came into this season ranked 13th all-time on the D3 school’s list with a 78.2 average score.

October 8, 2018
Saevon Dinkins football

Saevon Dinkins

In a college football game that featured more than 1,000 yards, the seemingly lone defensive play came from Saevon Dinkins of Anchorage.

The Howard University sophomore defensive end sacked the North Carolina Central quarterback in the end zone for a safety in the first quarter in a 40-35 loss in Durham, North Carolina.

Dinkins, East High fame, finished the game with two tackles.

The 6-foot-3, 265-pounder has recorded 20 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in 14 career games with the FCS team.

Kendall Kramer Cross Country

Kendall Kramer

Kendall Kramer of Fairbanks turned in a big performance on the big stage at the 35th annual Nike Hole in the Wall XC Invitational in Arlington, Washington.

The high school junior placed second out of 285 runners in the girls elite division with a personal-record time of 17 minutes, 18 seconds over the mostly flat 5-kilometer course.

Kramer, of West Valley High fame, dropped close to 34 seconds off her previous PR.

“That’s a huge PR for her. It shows that Alaska kids can come down here on these fast courses and run fast times,” West Valley coach Dan Callahan told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

Kramer’s PR is one of the fastest 5K times for a high school girl from Alaska, ranking second only to Kenai’s Allie Ostrander, who posted the nation’s No. 1 clip of 16:40 in 2014.

Earlier this month, Kramer joined Ostrander as the only girls to break the 18-minute mark at the Bartlett High School trails during the ASAA state cross country championships.

Kramer is a two-time Class 4A D1 state champion and reigning Gatorade Alaska Cross Country Runner of the Year. She’s also a Mount Marathon junior champion.

More than two dozen Alaskans competed at the Hole in the Wall XC Invitational.

October 7, 2018
Corey Cogdell-Unrein trapshooting

Corey Cogdell-Unrein

With a medal on the line, Eagle River trapshooter Corey Cogdell-Unrein did what she does best.

She came up clutch.

Fearless in the big moment, Cogdell-Unrein used a strong Day 2 showing to lead her trap mixed team to a bronze medal at the USA Shooting national championships in Fort Carson, Colorado.

Cogdell-Unrein broke 71 of 75 targets on the final day – tying for the fourth-highest score among the 50 shooters – to help her and teammate Jake Wallace of California secure third place by a single shot.

It was at least the sixth time she’s medaled in a major competition after hitting her final target, including twice in the Olympics.

The 32-year-old is a longtime national team member and a three-time Olympian, winning bronze medals 2008 and 2016.

She is now a star in the new category of trap mixed team, which will be added to the Olympic Games in 2020.

This year, Cogdell-Unrein and Wallace and won three medals together.

They won a gold medal at the ISSF World Cup in Arizona and a silver at the first-ever trap mixed team tryout in Colorado.

October 6, 2018
Clair DeGeorge hockey

Clair DeGeorge

Clair DeGeorge of Anchorage scored the first goal of her sophomore season for the Bemidji State University women’s hockey team in a 4-3 loss to Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.

The reigning All-WCHA Third Team forward bagged the game’s first goal early in the second period.

It was her eighth career goal in 41 games with Bemidji State.

Last season, DeGeorge finished second on the team with 16 assists to go along with seven goals, tying for third on the team with 23 points.

This summer she was selected for the Team USA U22 squad that played in a three-game exhibition series with Team Canada 2-1 in Calgary, Alberta.

Team USA won all three games, with DeGeorge scoring scoring the game’s first goal after she deflected a one-timer on the power play.

October 5, 2018
Jeremy Swayman hockey

Jeremy Swayman

University of Maine sophomore Jeremy Swayman of Anchorage is one of 20 NCAA D1 goaltenders named to the preseason watch list for the annual Mike Richter Award.

He is the only Alaskan nominated and one of just four sophomores on the list.

The Richter Award is in its sixth year and is named after former University of Wisconsin and NHL goalie Mike Richter

The award is to college goalies what the Cy Young is to MLB pitchers.

Swayman had a record of 15-13-3 as a freshman for Maine and lifted the Black Bears into the Hockey East quarterfinals for the first time since 2014.

His goals-against average was 2.74 and his save percentage was .920 percent.

He is a fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins.

DaJonee Hale basketball

DaJonee Hale

Picking up where she left off in college, Anchorage’s DaJonee Hale delivered a strong scoring effort to lead Bamberg to a 69-56 victory over Speyer in her first professional women’s basketball game in Germany’s second division.

Last season’s NAIA National Player of the Year out of Central Methodist University scored 20 points, grabbed six rebounds and added six assists in 34 minutes.

The 5-foot-8 playmaker made 7-of-19 shots from the field, including 4-of-10 from downtown.

Hale, of Houston High fame, is trying to get Bamberg back to the playoffs after finishing ninth in the league last year.

October 4, 2018
Bubacar Touray soccer

Bubacar Touray

Entering the final sprint of the soccer season, Anchorage’s Bubacar Touray is in the running for NWAC Player of the Year.

The Tacoma Community College sophomore leads the league with 15 goals and is tied for the league lead with 33 points.

Touray, of West High fame, has accounted for 31 percent of his team’s goals.

Tacoma is 13-0 and ranked No. 1 in the league.

The former Alaska Gatorade Player of the Year has gone from good to great in his second season in the NWAC, doubling his freshman point total.

For his career, he has amassed 50 points in 33 games.

Danielle VanOrd soccer

Danielle VanOrd

Danielle VanOrd of Anchorage recorded her second hat trick in the last five games to lead the Lane Community College women’s soccer team to its fifth straight win with a 6-0 victory over Rogue Community College in Grants Pass, Oregon.

The sophomore striker bagged a career-high four goals and also earned an assist for a career-high 9-point night.

She scored in the 13th, 24th and 31st minutes to help the Titans take control early of the NWAC matchup. She added her goal in the 60th minute and assisted on the final goal in the 90th minute.

Her personal point streak has reached five games. Last year she had a 7-game point streak.

VanOrd, of Bartlett High fame, has three career hat tricks and 61 career points in 31 games on 24 goals and 13 assists.

October 3, 2018
Adam Klie basketball

Adam Klie

Anchorage’s Adam Klie made a victorious debut with his German professional men’s basketball team as the Giessen 46ers thumped the Dragons Rhondorf 102-56.

The former University of California San Diego star played 27 minutes and amassed eight points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals.

It was a typically sound all-around game for the 6-foot-4 guard, a pass-first player.

Klie, of Service High fame, is in his second season as a pro after playing last season for the Niagara River Lions of Canada’s National Basketball League.

He played in all 44 games and averaged 6.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.3 assists in 20 minutes per game. The River Lions finished 18-26.

In 2017, as a senior at UCSD, Klie was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association Player of the Year and a consensus first team All-West Region selection.

He was just the second Triton in the program’s D2 era (since 2000) to record 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career.

He is the school’s D2 leader in career points, rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws attempted, games and minutes.

Each team in the German league is allowed one North American player and for the 46ers it is Klie.

“It’s definitely pretty cool,” he said in August. “It shows that they have a lot of confidence in me.”

October 2, 2018
Olivia Davies basketball

Olivia Davies

It’s easy to assume high school basketball star Olivia Davies of Wasilla committed to the University of Hawaii women’s basketball team because of sun, surf and sand.

That played a part, no doubt, but the senior’s decision actually came down to where she felt the most comfortable.

On her official visit to Honolulu, Hawaii, she instantly bonded with coaches and players. Call it the Aloha spirit.

“After only a few hours of spending time with them I could just see myself being in that situation and calling it home,” Davies told me. “They were up front and honest with me. None of the coaches or girls were trying to sell something that they were not and I really appreciated that.”

The reigning Northern Lights Conference Player of the Year also considered UAA, UC Davis, Fresno State and Northern Colorado. She made official visits to UAA, Fresno State and Hawaii.

“The thing I liked most about Hawaii was the atmosphere. The sun and the beach were great, but where ever we went, I felt like a part of something,” she said. “You can’t get that in a lot of places.”

Davies, of Wasilla High fame, received a full scholarship offer from the Rainbow Wahine of the Big West Conference and is expected to sign her letter of intent during the early signing reriod in November.

The 5-foot-9 all-state combo guard averaged 14 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists last season as a junior to lead Wasilla to the Class 4A state tournament championship game for the third straight year. She won titles as a sophomore and freshman.

Davies enters her senior season as a player-of-the-year candidate alongside Dimond’s Alissa Pili, a sure-fire D1 player who has not yet declared her commitment.

Davies is coached by Alaska Sports Hall of Famer Jeannie Herbert-Truax, a championship player and coach in Alaska and former University of Miami all-star. Last season she was selected to coach the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game.

Davies definitely was groomed by the best.

“Jeannie helped me learn how to be coached by a strong personality. She has pushed me to become more focused and take leadership over the past four years,” Davies said.

The Wasilla wonder also credited her father for helping shape her into the steady, heady and college-ready player she is today.

“He’s coached me since the second grade and has pushed me many times to my breaking point, but I wouldn’t be where I am without him,” she said.

Together, they made it possible for her to fulfill her hoops dream.

“I have spent the past 10 years preparing myself to play at the next level and pursing my dreams and I’m finally getting that chance,” she said. “Hopefully I can bring some confidence and passion to the team.”

October 1, 2018
Kayla Sims volleyball

Kayla Sims

As Kayla Sims of Anchorage closes in on 2,500 career assists at The Master’s University, she’s also moving up the school’s all-time list.

The senior setter now ranks No. 3 with 2,470 assists and is within striking distance of the No. 2 total of 2,642 set in 2007 with more than a month left in the NAIA volleyball season.

Sims, of South High fame, also ranks No. 6 with 148 aces, two shy of No. 5.

She currently ranks eighth in NAIA D1 with 41 assists this season, twice serving six in one match.

The Master’s (18-3) is ranked No. 14 in the country – the highest for the program since 2013 – and hasn’t lost in a month.

In addition to her assists and aces, Sims is having a career-best season as an attacker.

Her .257 hitting percentage is 29 points higher than her career average and her 1.01 kills per set average is nearly twice her career average.

In 72 sets, she has delivered 73 kills on 206 attempts with just 20 errors.

Sean Duffy football

Sean Duffy

Anchorage’s Sean Duffy and Eagle River’s Karletty Faamatuainu had a hand in helping the University of Dubuque football team score the most points since 2016.

Duffy passed for four touchdowns and Faamatuainu hauled in two touchdown receptions from different quarterbacks as the Spartans beat Loras College 49-42 in NCAA D3 gridiron action in Dubuque, Iowa.

The shootout ended with a defensive touchdown in the final minute, lifting the Spartans to 3-2 on the season and 2-1 in league.

Duffy, of West High fame, started at quarterback and threw for a season-high 328 yards on 15-of-26 attempts. He also threw a pick six.

The sophomore signal caller tossed touchdown passes of 23, 65, 17 and 71 yards, with the 23-yarder going to Faamatauinu in the first quarter.

The two Alaskans have hooked up for four touchdowns in the last three games.

Karletty Faamatuainu football

Karletty Faamatuainu

Faamatuainu, of Chugiak High fame, caught five passes for 57 yards. His 7-yard scoring reception from backup quarterback Cody Folkers tied game at 42-42 in the fourth quarter.

The last time Dubuque scored that many points was in the final game of the 2016 season when the Spartans beat Loras 60-22 behind five touchdown passes from Anchorage’s Conor Feckley, who is now a grad assistant on the coaching staff.

September 30, 2018
Erica Heil soccer

Erica Heil

They’ve been on the field for plenty of goals scored by the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University women’s soccer team this season.

Alaskans Erica Heil and Megan Currier finally got in on the act.

Both juniors from Anchorage found the net for the first time this year as No. 11 Embry-Riddle beat Soka University 6-2 in NAIA action in Aliso Viejo, California.

Embry-Riddle (8-2) is one of two unbeatens in the California Pacific Conference.

Heil, of Dimond High fame, scored in the 20th minute on a beautiful boot from some 30 yards out to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.

The play developed slowly from the back row as she dribbled the ball in open space for several touches before deking one defender (who tried a slide tackle) and beating the goalkeeper (who tried to jump up and make the save).

The goal was her second in 47 career appearances.

Megan Currier soccer

Megan Currier

Currier, of South High fame, scored the final goal in the 87th minute off a crossing pass.

It was her fifth career goal, but her first since Oct. 8, 2016.

To be fair, this was only her seventh game since then; she missed almost all of last season, playing in only two games.

Currier has 13 career points on five goals and three assists in just 20 games.

September 29, 2018
Justice Augafa football

Justice Augafa

Anchorage’s Justice Augafa has one of the most dangerous jobs on the football field.

He returns punts and kickoffs for the University of Hawaii.

The junior transfer has enjoyed his best results the last two weeks, including today’s 44-41 OT victory over San Jose State in California.

Augafa, of South High fame, had a season-high 45-yard kickoff return on his way to racking up 98 return yards on three kickoffs.

He also returned three punts for 10 yards.

Last week against Duquesne he returned two punts for 24 yards, including a season-high 21-yard return.

On the season, the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Alaskan is averaging 24.2 yards on kickoff returns and 6.8 yards on punt returns.

Hawaii is 5-1 on the season, including 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference.

This is his first season on the field for the Rainbow Warriors after redshirting last season.

He transferred from LA Harbor College in California, where in his two seasons he played safety, running back, quarterback, linebacker and kick returner.