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 more than 2,900 stories on over 500 Alaska athletes.

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

December 10, 2016

Tre’shawn King-Dunbar basketball

Tre’shawn King-Dunbar

When the Notre Dame de Namur University men’s basketball team needs a bucket, it puts the ball in the hands of Anchorage’s Tre’Shawn King-Dunbar.

Good things usually happen.

The 6-foot-1 senior guard is the top playmaker for the NCAA D2 Argonauts of Belmont, California.

He leads the team in points [14.0] and assists [3.0] as well as minutes [30.8] in five games.

King-Dunbar, of Bartlett High fame, is coming off his best two-game stretch of the season when he pumped in 21 points and hit 4-of-8 3s against Hawaii-Hilo and 16 points, four assists and three steals against BYU-Hawaii.

The 21-point effort was just one off his career high.

December 9, 2016

Michael Joseph basketball

Michael Joseph

If playing time is any indication, Michael Joseph of Anchorage is the most valuable player for the Pacific University men’s basketball team.

Or the most trustworthy.

The durable senior guard has started all six games and leads the team with 30.0 minutes and 3.2 assists per game.

Joseph, of West High fame, has reached double figures in each of the last four games and ranks fourth in scoring at 10.2 points per game.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pounder is one of the toughest inside players for his size and is averaging 6.0 rebounds.

Last year in 25 games, he led the Pacific Boxers in minutes [29.7], was second in assists [2.0] and third in scoring [9.4] and rebounding [6.1].

Dajan Treder wrestling

Dajan Treder

NAIA All-American Dajan Treder of Anchorage is up to her winning ways with the Jamestown University women’s wrestling team of North Dakota.

The 116-pounder has posted a 17-3 record this season, including first-place showings in two tournaments.

Treder, of West High fame, collected championships at the Winnipeg Open and Can/Am Open events earlier this season.

Most recently, she earned a third-place finish after a 4-1 day at the Huskie Open in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Treder won by technical fall and pin in her first two bouts before a tech fall loss in the semifinals.

She bounced back with a 12-4 decision over Farah Taj of University of Alberta and a pin of University of Calgary’s Grace Chambers in 1:42 in the third-place match.

December 8, 2016

Kayla Sims volleyball

Kayla Sims

Kayla Sims of Anchorage was already the best setter in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Now she’s considered one of the best in the entire NAIA.

The sophomore with The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California, has been named a NAIA All-American for the first time.

Sims, of South High fame, recorded 1,024 assists, 238 digs, 82 kills, 57 service aces and 28 blocks this season.

Her outstanding season also earned her All-GSAC honors and the GSAC’s Volleyball Setter of the Week on four separate occasions.

The Master’s posted a 20-11 record, including 12-4 in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

It was the school’s first 20-win season since 2012.

Sims is the second former South player this week to earn All-American honors, joining UAA senior Morgan Hooe, who was named a NCAA D2 first team All-American by the AVCA.

December 7, 2016

Leya DePriest basketball

Leya DePriest

Over the last four games, Palmer’s Leya DePriest ranks second on the University of Denver women’s basketball team in rebounds.

Her 28 total rebounds in nine games is fourth best on the team, but 20 have come in the last few games.

She is making the most out of her limited playing time.

DePriest, of Wasilla High fame, has twice grabbed the team’s most boards in a game, most recently Saturday when she hauled down collected a season-high seven rebounds against Pepperdine.

She also had a season-high four points and three assists that night, too.

DePriest is averaging 1.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in only 8.9 minutes per game.

December 6, 2016

Jack Hobbs basketball

Jack Hobbs

Jack Hobbs of Anchorage didn’t force his shot. He just let the offense come to him.

The ball kept finding him in rhythm and as a result the 6-foot-7 junior scored a career-high 18 points.

Hobbs also ripped down a career-high eight rebounds as the University of Hartford outlasted Sacred Heart in overtime, winning 87-79 in Fairfield, Conniectut.

The Alaskan knocked down 6-of-9 shots, including 5-of-7 from downtown.

“It felt great,” he told me. “The way we play, it’s our offense that gets you shots, so my teammates did a real great job of getting into gaps, playing inside out and just finding the open man, which happened to be me.”

Hobbs, of South High fame, was part of a new-look starting lineup in a shake up by the coach.

It was the second time he reached double figures, bettering the 14 points he scored against Rider on Nov. 16.

Hobbs is averaging career highs in points [7.8], rebounds [4.6] and minutes [21.3].

He’s making the most of his increased playing time, ranking among the team leaders in 3-point percentage [.500] on 18-of-36 shooting.

“I definitely do play a much bigger role with the team this year and have to shoot the ball at a high clip, make sure I’m crashing hard and get the dirty work done,” Hobbs said.

December 5, 2016

NeNe Hale basketball

NeNe Hale

The Central Methodist University women’s basketball team had already lost twice on the road and Nene Hale of Anchorage wanted things to change.

By taking matters into her own hands, the NAIA All-American guard scored a career-high 37 points to carry the 15th-ranked Eagles to an 89-66 victory over Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We’ve been having trouble playing away games but this game it seemed like everybody learned their roles, and we are playing as a team,” she told me.

The 5-foot-8 junior sank 12-of-20 shots, made four 3s and knocked down 9-of-10 free throws.

Hale, of Houston High fame, came into the night averaging 18.3 points per game.

“This game I was in attack mode and I just kept attacking their paint and getting sent to the free-throw line,” she said.

Central Methodist improved to 7-2 this season, 5-2 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“We have not achieved anything,” Hale said. “There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

December 4, 2016

Zoe Hickel hockey

Zoe Hickel

After the first seven skaters failed to score in the shootout, Anchorage’s Zoe Hickel proved to have the magic touch.

She also proved to have a wicked wrister, too

Hickel’s shootout goal proved to be the difference as the Boston Pride beat the New York Riveters 3-2 in Newark, New Jersey.

The win extended Boston’s eight-game winning streak to open the National Women’s Hockey League.

Boston is the league’s reigning Isobel Cup champion.

Jackson Lehnhart soccer

Jackson Lehnhart

Win or lose, Juneau’s Jackson Lehnhart always gave his best effort for the Amherst College men’s soccer team.

When the prolific high school scorer was asked to play defense, he did. When the senior was asked to be a more offense-minded, he did that. And when his team needed a big goal in the NCAA D3 Tournament, he did that too.

One year after Lehnhart scored in the national championship game, he found the net in a shootout loss in the Sweet 16 of this year’s tournament. With his career concluded, it was probably little consolation that he left the field having a scored on his final shot.

He finished the season with five goals and three assists for 13 points in 19 games.

He started 39 of his final 40 games for Amherst, which he led to the 2015 national championship with a 2-1 victory that was spurned by his tying goal in the 14 th minute.

Lehnhart, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, was named second team all-conference and first team All-New England Region honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

In 60 career games, he posted 6-9–21 totals as center back, a defense-minded position where his job was to prevent goals, not score them.

December 3, 2016

Gabi Fenumiai basketball

Gabi Fenumiai

Gabi Fenumiai of Juneau is doing her best to shake off a slow start with the Evergreen State College women’s basketball team.

Her first double-double should do the trick.

The 6-foot senior center scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 67-66 win over Pacific Lutheran during NAIA play in Olympia, Washington.

Fenumiai, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, shot the ball well, sinking 7-of-9 shots from the floor and 6-of-9 from the foul line. The field-goal percentage was a season high and the free-throw attempts were the most of the year.

She is averaging 10.2 points and 5.5 rebounds in six games, decent numbers for lots of college players.

But not for Fenumiai.

Last year she averaged 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in 25 games. She also collected seven double-doubles and set the school-record with 36 points in one game.

She came to Evergreen State from Peninsula College, where she finished her two-year career with 558 rebounds to break the previous school record of 382 held by fellow former Juneau-Douglas star Danielle Larson.

December 2, 2016

Jalen Terry Basketball

Jalen Terry

Seward’s Jalen Terry had the best scoring half of his Fort Lewis College career against Colorado State-Pueblo, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Fort Lewis trailed by 14 points.

The deficit would have been much worse had Terry not come off the bench to score a team-high nine points in six minutes.

The No. 20 Skyhawks rallied big in the second half and forced overtime en route to a 105-97 win in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference opener in Golden, Colorado.

Fort Lewis extended its school-record 22-game home winning streak.

Terry, of ACS fame, finished with 11 points and four rebounds before fouling out in 14 minutes.

The 6-foot-7 sophomore was coming off a career-high 14-point effort in his last outing.

December 1, 2016
Devante Doutrive basketball

Devante Doutrive

Once the silly stereotypes about Alaska faded, people in Southern California discovered Anchorage’s Devante Doutrive could really play.

Maybe even better than most of the local kids.

The 6-foot-5 senior – who played at West High as a sophomore and was voted second-team all-state – is in his second season at Birmingham High in Los Angeles and over the Thanksgiving weekend he earned MVP honors at the 65th Annual Dijon Thompson Pacific Shores boys basketball tournament at Redondo Beach.

“It feels great because everyone thinks Alaska is just ice and animals and igloos,” Doutrive told me with a laugh. “Lots of people are asking me, ‘How’d you get so talented in Alaska?’ and I just tell them that there’s a lot of great talent in Alaska. It’s just not me.”

Doutrive is the latest Alaska teen basketball star to parlay Outside success into national notoriety, joining the likes of Brandon Huffman [Word of God, North Carolina] and Kamaka Hepa [Jefferson, Oregon].

Doutrive recently received his first college offer from UTEP and other coaches have reportedly started to take notice of the hard-to-guard playmaker. He pumped in 23 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in an 84-74 win over perennial power Westchester in the Pacific Shores title game.

“I’m thankful and blessed that I got an offer and I’m looking to get more and working harder to get them,” Doutrive said. “And I just think that what Brandon and Kamaka did means more scouts will start to head to Alaska to watch players now. Because they’re sleeping on Alaska kids and we’re here making a statement that Alaska has talent.”

In 2015, he helped West beat East 77-73 in OT for the Class 4A state title in his final game in Alaska. Doutrive, Huffman and player-of-the-year DaZhon Wyche combined to score 52 of West’s final 58 points to secure the championship.

“The reason I left West was to move to California with my auntie and just to stay with her for a bit,” Doutrive said. “But then I realized I wasn’t going go back because I wanted to see how the Cali life was.”

He joined a Birmingham team with his younger brother Devonaire and they have helped bring back respectability to a prep program that has floundered in recent years.

“The competition down here is pretty good; lots of good, talented players,” Doutrive said. “I had no weakness in me to be afraid to play in one of the top states for basketball. I was really motivated to take my game to another level.”

November 30, 2016

Ramon Harris basketball

Ramon Harris

Ramon Harris of Anchorage didn’t shoot the ball well when he faced off against his old team, so he found other ways to be productive.

The 28-year-old forward collected season highs in rebounds and assists to offset an off-night shooting as the Iowa Energy fell 95-94 to the undefeated Fort Wayne Mad Ants in NBA D-League action.

He grabbed eight boards and handed off four helpers in 24 minutes coming off the bench. He scored five points on 2-of-7 shooting.

Harris, of West High fame, won a D-League championship with Fort Wayne in 2014 and got back to the finals with the team in 2015, when he scored a career-high 30 points in Game 1.

He was traded last season to Iowa. The first time he faced his former team he made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.

Harris has one of the most impressive resumes for an Alaska basketball player – first winning four state titles in high school, then suiting up for Kentucky and now playing in his fifth season in the D-League.

His 1,371 career points is No. 1 among Alaskans to play in the D-League.

November 29, 2016

Travon Bracket basketball

Travon Bracket

Travon Brackett of Anchorage struggled to score in the first nine games with his new school at Holy Cross College in Notre Dame, Indiana.

Then he exploded for 22 points in one game.

The 6-foot-4 junior transfer collected his career high on 8-of-10 shooting in a 93-62 win over visiting Saint Xavier in NAIA action.

Brackett, of West Valley High fame, came into the night averaging 3.6 points per game.

He sank 4-of-6 threes, grabbed six rebounds, handed off three assists and made two steals.

Brackett transferred from Ancilla College, where he earned all-league honors last season in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association and helped a 20-win Charger team advance to the national tournament.

At Ancilla, he averaged 7.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 56 career games.

November 28, 2016

Justice Aufaga football

Justice Augafa

He scored touchdowns on offense and defense. He played quarterback, defensive back and running back. He returned kickoffs.

Justice Augafa of Anchorage played about everywhere for the Los Angeles Harbor College football team and was efficient at each position.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound sophomore was named first team All-Central League in the Southern California Football Association.

“This kid can do it all,” LA Harbor defensive line coach Mark Robinson wrote on Twitter.

True that.

Augafa, of South High fame, is a ball-hawking defensive back that hits like a linebacker and runs like a safety.

In just seven games he recorded 29 tackles, a sack, five pass breakups, a fumble recovery and two interceptions.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pounder scored two touchdowns on defense, one a recovered fumble and another on a 42-yard pick six.

Augafa played on the offensive side of the ball for only three games but racked up 402 all-purpose yards and a pair of touchdowns.

He shined as a wildcat quarterback, where he could display his skills as a powerful runner with between the tackles.

November 27, 2016

Damen Bell Holter Basketball

Damen Bell-Holter

Hydaburg’s Damen Bell-Holter just missed a double-double but still helped Italian team Agrigento stay in the middle of the pack in the division.

The 6-foot-9 forward scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds in an 81-67 win over Rieti.

Bell-Holter, of Ketchikan High fame, made 6-of-11 shots from the field and both free throws. He made a 3-pointer and added an assist and a steal.

Agrigento currently sits in ninth place in the 16-team West Division, but is one win out of fourth place.

November 26, 2016

Jacob Calloway basketball

Jacob Calloway

We don’t see the hard work Jacob Calloway of Juneau puts in behind the scenes with the Southern Utah University men’s basketball team.

The only indication is playing time, and for a freshman, he’s earning consistent minutes coming off the bench.

His development could be seen in a 101-56 win over Life Pacific in Cedar City, Utah, where the 6-foot-7 forward recorded his first double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds in 16 minutes.

“Calloway is a traditional freshman going through his process. He’s continuing to develop on the defensive end. He’s trying like crazy,” SUU coach Todd Simon told the school’s website. “As his body matures, he’s going to be a phenomenal asset for us. He’s producing for us—no question.”

Calloway, of Thunder Mountain High fame, is averaging 8.8 points in 14.3 minutes in the first six games for the NCAA D1 Thunderbirds.

The 2015 graduate spent last season at On Point Hoops Academy in Oklahoma to better prepare him for college basketball. He arrived at Southern Utah ready to roll.

His preparation has paid off with Colloway making an immediate impact with the Thunderbirds.

He ranks fourth on the team in scoring and second with 5.2 rebounds per game, including a team-best 15 offensive boards. He’s also made all 12 free throws.

wycheThe holidays approached and DaZhon Wyche of Anchorage was in Wyoming playing basketball at Laramie Community College.

He missed his family and friends, and his play started to slip.

That’s when his dad, Antonio, paid his son a visit at school in hopes of pumping some life in his kid’s game. It worked.

The 5-foot-10 guard responded with a 21-point performance the first night and a 7-assist effort the next, helping Laramie post three consecutive victories after losing the previous five games.

“I was a little homesick, but my dad came out here for my last three games and it was nice to have him out here watching,” Wyche told me.

The only freshman in the starting lineup, Wyche ranks second in the conference with 15 steals and fourth with 31 assists through the first eight games.

He is averaging 13.8 points with high games of 28, 21 and 17.

“Some games I’ve scored good but we have some bigs and other wing players that can score, so I get to the lane and find them,” he said.

Wyche, of West High fame, was the Alaska Class 4A player of the year as a junior and senior.

A slasher in high school, he’s had to change the way he plays the game against bigger, stronger opponents. It’s more difficult to get to the lane, and when he does get inside, he doesn’t always get his shot or the call.

He’s averaging 2.3 free-throw attempts per game, but there were three games when he didn’t even get to the line. As a result, he is taking more perimeter shots.

Wyche is 14-for-54 from 3-point land for 29.6 percent.

“I’m going to keep fighting,” he said of fine-tuning his game.

November 24, 2016
colter_lasher_basketball

Colter Lasher

When Colter Lasher of Anchorage joined the Houston Baptist University men’s basketball team he wasn’t much of a 3-point shooter.

In his first two years he took one about every other game.

Now the senior practically lives downtown.

Close to half of Lasher’s scoring comes on 3-point scoring, but he’s hardly a one-trick pony.

The 6-foot-7 forward hits the boards and can get to the foul line, making him one of the most valuable players for the Huskies of Houston, Texas.

Lasher, of Dimond High fame, pumped in 19 points in just 20 minutes in a 116-80 blowout win over Ecclesia.

He sank 8-of-12 shots, including 3-of-5 3s, on his way to matching his season high point total.

Lasher is averaging 14.8 points this year, thanks in part to a career-best shooting percentage from downtown.

Over the last four years he has seen his 3-point percentage climb from .176 to .250 to .343 to .391.

NeNe Hale basketball

NeNe Hale

Her jumper misfired last game, but NeNe Hale of Anchorage responded like the NAIA All-American that she is.

The 5-foot-8 guard sank 4-of-5 3s en route to a season-high 26 points as the 15th-ranked Central Methodist University women’s basketball team beat Mount Mercy 93-76 in Fayette, Missouri.

Hale, of Houston High fame, hit 10-of-14 field goals after going 9-for-21 last game, including 1-of-6 from deep.

She leads her team in scoring at 17.6 points through the first six games.

Last year Hale averaged 19.7 points and 5.8 rebounds and was one of four players that received consideration for national player-of-the-year honors.

She was the only underclassmen among the NAIA All-America first or second teams.

November 23, 2016
Ruthy Hebard basketball

Ruthy Hebard

It took Ruthy Hebard of Fairbanks a little more than a week to go from starting to stardom.

The University of Oregon freshman delivered her first big game against a nationally ranked team, pumping in a double-double as the Ducks destroyed No. 24 Michigan State 88-55 in Eugene, Oregon.

The 6-foot-4 forward pumped in 15 points on near-perfect shooting: 5-for-5 from the field, 5-of-6 from the line.

Hebard, of West Valley High fame, also ripped down 10 rebounds to match her season high.

“The scouting report said to box out and I tried to show them I was the better rebounder,” she told reporters via the school’s website.

Oregon has started the season 4-0, thanks to big production from its underclassmen.

“I think a lot of freshman got a lot of playing time,” she said. “Playing a really good, ranked team, helped us a lot to know that we can hang with the better teams.”

Hebard has been the exception.

She leads the team in rebounding [7.8], field-goal percentage [.850] and free throws [13-of-15]. She also ranks second in scoring [11.8].

She isn’t playing like a freshman anymore.

“Before the game, we said it was time to put on our woman pants,” Hebard said with a laugh. “I think we showed we are women and we could play with other women.”

November 22, 2016

Kelsey Griffin basketball

Kelsey Griffin

She scored on dribble-drives, pick-and-pops and broken plays.

In the end, Kelsey Griffin‘s hot shooting night added up to a career-high 31 points as Bendigo beat Perth 84-71 in Australia’s WNBL.

The 6-foot-2 small forward from Eagle River sank 11-of-18 shots, including 8-of-9 from inside the arc. She made 6-of-7 free throws.

This was her 100th career WNBL game.

Griffin, of Chugiak High fame, came back the next night to record 10 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in just 23 minutes in a game Bendigo beat Adelaide 74-51.

The 2-0 showing moved Bendigo to 7-3 and first place in the WNBL.

Griffin’s back-to-back performance was recognized as the 29-year-old earned player-of-the-week honors for the first time this season.

November 21, 2016

Lincoln Johnson football

Lincoln Johnson

Greenville College defensive lineman Lincoln Johnson of Nikiski was voted to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference all-star football team.

The 6-foot, 215-pound senior was named second team defense after the best season of his college career with the NCAA D3 school in Greenville, Illinois.

Johnson, of Nikiski High fame, recorded career highs in tackles [34], sacks [6.5], tackles for loss [12.5], forced fumbles [2] and recovered fumbles [3].

He was also the only Greenville player to receive an UMAC All-Sportsmanship award.

In 40 career games, Johnson finished with 106 tackles, 16 sacks and 24 tackles for a loss.

len-storyAnchorage’s Len Story has been awarded with the prestigious honor of being named Baseball America Youth Baseball Coach of the Year.

This year he coached the 12U Alaska Quakes Travel Baseball program, the Abbott-O-Rabbit Majors Mariners and went on to manage the AOR 11/12 All-Stars.

The AOR 11/12 All-Stars won the District 1 and Alaska state tournament in dominant fashion to advance to the Little League Northwest Regionals in San Bernardino, California, to compete for a chance to advance to the Little League World Series.

Story will be honored on December 6, 2016, at the Baseball America Awards Gala in National Harbor, Maryland.

November 20, 2016

Adam Klie

Adam Klie

Now that he’s a senior at UC San Diego, maybe Adam Klie of Anchorage will look to shoot the basketball more.

Probably not, though.

He is focused on taking the right shot, not more shots.

“I would say I definitely am trying to be assertive in games. I feel good that if I can get to my spots that I can make plays for myself and others,” he told me. “It really depends on who we’re playing and the night. Sometimes that might mean taking more shots and other times that might mean setting up other guys in different ways.”

It was his night when UC San Diego played Concordia as the 6-foot-4 guard poured in a career-high 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting to spark a 66-57 victory in the DoubleTree D2 Shootout in Monmouth, Oregon.

“I’m really just trying to make as many plays as possible to get our team the win. And honestly, I feel like I was just trying to take what the defense was giving and get to areas I’m comfortable in. I had a lot of attempts right around the rim and those are good shots for us so I’ll take as many as those as I can get.”

Klie, of Service High fame, also produced nine rebounds and six assists, both game-highs.

“It was our first road game and I think it showed a little bit,” he said. “We were a little flat throughout but really when it came down to it, we gutted it out, which is a good sign for us.”

Through five games, Klie leads NCAA D2 UC San Diego with a 17.2 scoring average.

He averaged 8.4 field goal attempts over his first three seasons but has increased that number to 11.8 shots per game this year.

A four-year starter and 1,000-point scorer, the veteran is finding it tougher to score against an opposing defense designed to stop him.

“Even a couple games into the season, teams have scouting reports and they have a pretty good feel for what you want to do, so it’s important to be able to switch it up if necessary,” Klie said. “Basketball is such a multifaceted game and to be a really good player you have to impact the game in multiple ways.”