Connecting You With AK Athletes Outside the 907

The Alaska Sports Blog provides daily posts on Alaska athletes doing great things at the professional, international and collegiate level outside the state. The blog was created to fill a void of coverage once Alaskans left the 907 area code. Since 2009 former Anchorage Daily News Sports Editor Van Williams has written more than 2,200 stories on over 300 Alaska athletes.

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

December 19, 2014

Gus Simmers BasketballEager to challenge himself the top-ranked team, Gus Simmers of Anchorage attacked the basket and delivered double digits for Malone University.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore transfer earned a season-high six trips to the free-throw line, signifying his aggressiveness and powering his 10-point effort, just the second time he reached double figures in nine games.

Malone dropped a 96-73 decision to No. 1 West Liberty in NCAA D2 men’s basketball action.

Simmers, of ACS fame, made 3-of-4 shots from the field to raise his season shooting percentage to .464.

He is averaging 4.3 points and 3.0 rebounds with his new team.

Hannah Mattson BasketballThe University of Portland women’s basketball team got a lift from sophomore Hannah Mattson of Fairbanks in a 72-65 loss to Eastern Washington in NCAA D1 play.

The 5-foot-9 guard collected season highs of 5 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists in 18 minutes off the bench.

Mattson, of West Valley High fame, also sank her second 3-pointer of the season. It provided Portland with a 30-21 lead late in the first half.

December 17, 2014

Brad Baker came to Alaska for a coaching job, but he left with three baseball players from Colony High.

Jacob Butcher baseball

Jacob Butcher

Baker was on the coaching staff for the Mat-Su Miners of the Alaska Baseball League when local kid Jacob Butcher walked into his office and pitched himself like an episode of ‘Shark Tank.’

After that the coach watched Butcher play in an American Legion game and liked what he saw. He also liked a couple of his Wasilla Post 35 teammates, Jonathon Boyer and Ben Ross.

Now all three Alaskans are playing for Baker at Blue Mountain Community College in Oregon.

“We recruit a wide variety of players, but one thing I always look for is passion in baseball,” Baker told me. “Playing baseball in college is a grind and not always fun. Players can experience more failure in college than in high school because is more talent. It is important to have passionate players who will persevere through the tough times.”

Jonathon Boyer baseball

Jonathon Boyer

All three Alaskans played well during fall ball and Baker said they should continue to contribute in the spring when it counts most.

Butcher, a sophomore, can pitch and play outfield. He hit .317 during the fall and had one of his team’s best strikeout-to-walk ratios on the mound.

“Butcher is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever coached. He is a great competitor and works hard at it,” Baker said. “He throws strikes and competes out there. In the outfield he covers a lot of ground and has a plus arm.

“Jacob had the potential to move on when he is done playing here. He continued to get better every day.”

Boyer, a sophomore, can play outfield and pitch. The tall, lean right-hander throws in the upper 80s with great command and is expected to compete for a starting job.

“He has a lot of talent and should help us a lot,” Baker said. “As a hitter he has great power and can hit to all fields. He is a good athlete with a plus arm in the outfield.”

Ben Ross baseball

Ben Ross

Boyer hit .300 in the fall and posted one of the team’s top slugging and on-base percentages.

Ross, a freshman, is a versatile player who can pitch, play first base and the outfield. He is part slugger, part speedster.

“Ben has great power from the plate,” Baker said. “He has the fasted exit speed of anyone in the program.”

He showed off that plus power in the fall with a tape-measure bomb.

“The longest homerun I’ve seen at BMCC’s field,” Baker said. “Ben has tremendous potential. He could develop into an all-conference type of player.”

December 16, 2014

Thomas Feeney basketballThe University of Texas of the Permian Basin men’s basketball team has the top-ranked offense in the Heartland Conference.

Thomas Feeney of Anchorage is probably why.

The senior point guard is one of the most productive offensive players in the NCAA D2 conference, ranking No. 2 in 3-point shooting percentage and No. 4 in assists.

Feeney, of West High fame, is averaging 9.5 points in six games. Last year it was 14.6 points.

UTPB is putting up close to 96 points per game.

He has made 9-of-17 3s for a gaudy .529 percentage.

His assist-to-turnover ratio is 25-17. He had one game this year where it was 9-1.

Nani Ostrom basketballNani Ostrom of Juneau has enjoyed a serious role reversal with the Pacific University women’s basketball team.

She’s gone from role player to one of the go-to players for the NCAA D3 school in Oregon.

Ostrom is on pace to shatter her personal scoring record and has already established two new season-high point totals.

The 5-foot-7 guard pumped in 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting in a 75-58 loss to Evergreen State. She had 17 earlier this year.

Her previous career high was 12; set as a freshman.

She is shooting 49 percent from the field and is averaging a career-best 10.5 points in six games. Her previous scoring averages were 3.5, 2.8 and 4.4.

December 15, 2014

Keiahnna EngelAnchorage’s Keiahnna Engel continues to provide instant everything coming off the bench for the Boise State women’s basketball team.

The 5-foot-7 guard pumped in a season-high 14 points in just 18 minutes on 6-of-8 shooting in a 90-72 victory over Eastern Washington in NCAA D1 action in Idaho.

Engel also had 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist in addition to reaching double figures for the second straight game and fourth time in 10 games for the Broncos [7-3].

Just an example of her quick production came when she entered the game for the first time at the five-minute mark. Within 90 seconds she had collected a steal, a layup and a defensive rebound.

Engel, of Dimond High fame, is third on Boise State in scoring average [8.7] and fifth in rebounding [3.7]. She is first with 14 steals.

December 14, 2014

Jared Miller wrestlingThere’s something about the Battle of Rockies tournament in Montana that brings out the best in Montana State University-Northern wrestler Jared Miller of Kotzebue.

It’s not cupcake city, either; the competition is fierce as top NAIA powers and NCAA D1 teams like Boise State and Wyoming participate annually.

Bring it, says Miller.

The 174-pound senior All-American earned his fourth career medal at the Battle of the Rockies after placing third in his final appearance.

He won the 174 title last year and was third as a sophomore and second as a freshman.

Miller advanced to the 2014 NAIA National Final, where he dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to three-time national champion Brock Gutches.

The Alaskan has racked up more than 100 career victories at MSU-Northern.

Kelsey Griffin BasketballWith 20 points and 13 rebounds, Kelsey Griffin of Eagle River produced her third double-double of the season for the Bendigo Spirit in Australia.

This time it helped supply a 78-66 win over Melbourne to keep the defending league champion in second place at 9-3.

Griffin has been a model of consistency for Bendigo over the last five games, shooting 58 percent from the field and pushing her average to 19.4 points per game.

The WNBA player out of Chugiak High is averaging 14.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 12 games this season – basically right on mark with her career numbers in 57 games in Australia.

December 13, 2014

Iziah Sherman Newsome BasketballThe New York Institute of Technology men’s basketball team enjoyed a rare blowout win, beating up Georgian Court 92-59 in NCAA D2 play.

Freshman Iziah Sherman-Newsome of Anchorage had the best game of the season, but it wasn’t because of garbage time.

The 6-foot-4 guard earned his second career start and logged season highs in minutes [34], points [9] and 3-pointers [3].

“It was a great win for our team,” he told me. “We’ve struggled getting and keeping leads this season, so winning a game big like this is huge confidence boost for the team.”

Sherman-Newsome, of Bartlett High fame and the younger brother of Colgate University star guard Damon Sherman-Newsome, has been playing more and more building up to this start.

He averaged 9.5 minutes the first four games and 22 minutes the last four.

“Being a freshman, starting hasn’t been a big priority for me,” he said. “I’ve been focused on taking advantage of opportunities and helping the team in any way I can but it always feels great to get the chance to start.”

He has also found his shooting stroke, making 6 of his last 11 3-pointers.

“I think my shot has been falling more the last few games because I’ve been playing with a lot more confidence and it’s also easy when you have teammates who move the ball as well as mine,” Sherman-Newsome said.“Seeing the ball go through the hoops is always a huge confidence builder individually and as a team.”

December 12, 2014

Mario Chalmers BasketballMaybe some of the shine was scratched off the Miami Heat after the loss of key players, but Anchorage’s Mario Chalmers has sparkled as a bright spot this season.

The seventh-year point guard is having his finest season since his rookie year and you could argue the Alaskan has made an early bid for team MVP honors.

Chalmers has seen the ball in his hands in the fourth quarter more than All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Never short of confidence, Chalmers has thrived in his new role.

Chalmers, of Bartlett High fame, is averaging a career-high 13.2 points in 22 games. His 4.6 assist average is his second-highest, second only to the 4.9 mark he put up last year and as a rookie.

This is not the same Miami team that made a record four consecutive NBA Finals appearances, but the poise and play of Chalmers is a big reason the Heat have stayed above water.

He is one of only five guys on the squad to play in every game this season and he ranks first in steals, second in assists and fourth in scoring.

He has been so good that according to Elias Sports Bureau he is the first Heat player in nine years to lead the team in points and assists for three straight games and not be named LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Shaqille O’Neal.

December 11, 2014

Body McKenzie Martial ArtsIf we’ve learned anything over the last three years, Cody McKenzie of Cordova will win his next mixed martial arts fight.

The 26-year-old has alternated wins and losses over his last seven fights since 2011, losing his last time out in October.

McKenzie will take on Russian welterweight Beslan Isaev on the undercard of the M-1 Challenge 54 in Russia on Dec. 17. Both men stand 6 feet and weigh 170 pounds.

McKenzie has won 15 of 20 professional MMA fights and competed on Season 12 of The Ultimate Fighter.

He is a submission expert, winning most fights by choke hold.

Isaev has a 30-7 record and 15 knockouts.

December 10, 2014

Jeff Overbaugh FootballOn the football field, San Diego State University’s Jeff Overbaugh of Anchorage is flawless as a long snapper.

He’s nearly perfect in the classroom as well.

The junior Psychology major carries a cumulative 3.72 GPA and is scheduled to finish his undergraduate degree before his fourth year of school.

That hard work was rewarded at the team’s annual banquet, where Overbaugh was presented the President’s Award for his high academic achievement.

How does he get it all done?

“I make an effort to plan as far ahead as possible into the semester so I can prioritize assignments and balance school with my athletic responsibility,” he told me.

He is currently applying to SDSU’s Master of Science program in Applied Psychology.

Overbaugh, of Service High fame, has played for the Aztecs since 2012 when he was one of just three true freshmen to play right away.

His accuracy as a long snapper is remarkable. He has never had a bad snap in more than 200 attempts in field goal, PAT and punt formations.

The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder wants to pursue a career in football. If not, though, his academic accomplishments will set up for life off the field.

“Other than pursuing a career in the NFL, I am striving to become an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist,” Overbaugh said.

December 8, 2014

Three athletes with remarkable resumes within their respective sports headline the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2015 announced at a press conference today.

Olympic biathlete and Anchorage Nordic skiing pioneer Dick Mize, Ketchikan basketball icon John Brown and mountain running legend Nancy Pease will be the next inductees into the Hall.

Soldotna’s Michaela Hutchison’s groundbreaking state wrestling championship in 2006, to become the first girl in the nation to win an outright high school wrestling title was named in the “Moment” category. The grueling Iron Dog snowmobile race was selected in the “Event” category.

Dick MizeDick Mize
He was a member of the first United States Olympic biathlete squad at the 1960 Squaw Valley Games. As a cross country ski racer Dick was one of the nation’s best and he didn’t seem to ever slow down, winning several U.S. Master’s Championships and setting age-group records well into his 70’s. He might be better known for his work off his skis though. Mize helped design and construct multiple ski trails at Kincaid Park, Hillside, Russian Jack and in Girdwood. Some even bear his name. He was inducted into the Alaska High School Hall of Fame in 2011.


NancyPeaseNancy Pease
She stopped running competitively years ago, but Pease is still the undisputed queen of the mountain. During her reign in the 1980s and 1990s, she sometimes beat the men outright, winning Bird Ridge race outright in 1990 and sharing the Crow Pass Crossing title with Bill Spencer in 1990. She won Mount Marathon six times, Crow Pass eight times and Bird Ridge five times, and she set course records in all three races, all of which still stand today.



John BrownJohn Brown

He wasn’t that tall, but John Brown played big. The 6-foot-2, 150-pounder dominated action under the basket with legendary skill and was widely recognized as the top player in Alaska in the 1960s. He became a hoops hero at Ketchikan when he became the first player in Alaska to play on four straight high school champion basketball teams in 1965, 1966, 1967 and 1968. He later played at Seattle University. He was named on Sports Illustrated’s list of Alaska’s top 50 greatest 20th-century athletes.


Micheala Hutchison WrestlingMichaela Hutchison Beats the Boys in 2006 (Moment Category)
Led by chants of “Girl Power,” Skyview High School sophomore Michaela Hutchison made history when she earned a thrilling 1-0 victory over Colony’s Aaron Boss in the 103-pound final to become the first girl wrestler in the nation to win a state title against boys. Hutchison entered the tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class and completed her historic run by scoring an escape with 16 seconds left in the match.



Iron DogIron Dog (Event Category)
At 2,031 miles. the Iron Dog is the longest and toughest snowmobile race in the world. The event began in 1984 as a 1,000-mile race from Big Lake to Nome. It was doubled to the current distance at the 10th annual race in 1994 and now goes from Big Lake to Nome to Fairbanks. In 2015, the race will have a ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage for the first time.

The Alaska Sports Hall of Fame will hold an induction ceremony in February 2015 at the Anchorage Museum auditorium. The event will be free and open to the public. The date and time will be announced at a later time.

“The Class of 2015 reflects the tremendous diversity of sport we have in our state,” said Alaska Sports Hall of Fame Executive Director Harlow Robinson. “The selection panel and the public voters had to make difficult choices, but once again finished with an exceptional group.”

More than 1,500 people participated in the public voting process. The accumulative public vote total constituted one ballot equal to a selection panel member’s ballot.

December 7, 2014

Alysa Horn BasketballAlysa Horn of Kodiak doesn’t hold back on the basketball court. It’s a big reason why the former UAA star is now playing professionally in Germany, where she is the leading scorer for league-leading Osnabrück.

She goes all out in life, too. Just look at her busy off-the-court schedule that includes coaching an under-11 team, exploring every nook and cranny of the European country, volunteering at a school and learning the language.

“Germany has so much crazy history that I used to fall asleep reading about in high school/college history classes, but now loving reading up on and actually getting to get experience it,” she told me. “Earlier this year, we went to Berlin for a camp and I whipped out the nerd glasses and read up on what we were seeing. Pretty cool stuff.”

It’s even cooler how well Horn is playing in her second season in Germany. The 6-foot forward leads her new team with a 14.7 scoring average, ranks second with 1.4 steals and third with 6.1 rebounds in 10 games.

Best of all, Osnabrück leads the North Division with a 9-1 record. Her team last year wasn’t very good.

“It’s always fun to win,” she said.

Horn, 24, is also having more fun off the court since moving to Osnabrück, a renaissance city of about 160,000 people. It’s much larger than where she lived last year and it mixes today with yesteryear.

“Osnabrück is really cool because it combines the old with the new,” she said. “There are lots of old German houses built hundreds of years ago mixed in with new modern stores for shopping. Then, there’s always the occasional store that’s in a 500-year-old building. I would have to say though my favorite thing isn’t really shopping, but getting a coffee or ice cream with a friend and walking around the city”

Now if she could only get to the free-throw line. Horn is shooting 30-for-34 at the foul line, but getting there is a whole other story. The refs apparently let ‘em play in Germany.

“For the most part it’s no blood, no foul,” Horn said. “The game is more physical, in a dirty kind of way. I used to hate the refs before I finally accepted that I was never going to get any calls when someone would hold me on a box out or elbow me hard on their way to the basket.”

The rules are also different.

“For example, you have to straddle the halfcourt line when inbounding the ball at the start of a quarter,” she said. “You cannot take an open step out of triple threat and you have to immediately put the ball on the floor when you catch it on the run. I call the last rule an ‘American killer’ because every American gets called on a travel for this.”

No matter the obstacles, Horn continues to thrive in her new environment.

“I love it. Not only is it amazing to continue to play a game and do what I love for my job, but I get to experience a new culture, make new friends and meet new people in faraway places – from Alaska that is – and see a different side of the world,” Horn said.

“It’s hard being away from family and friends back home, but the sacrifice is worth it to get to truly experience a different part of the world. I am very grateful that basketball has been able to teach me so much and take me so far.”

December 6, 2014

Andrew Kurka SkiingHe won’t be on the mountain, but Andrew Kurka of Palmer will be on your TV.

The injured U.S. Paralympic Alpine Team skier told me he will be part of the ESPN broadcast team that will be announcing live at the X Games next month in Colorado.

“I am very excited to be announcing at the X Games,” he said. “So tune in.”

The 22-year-old World Cup champion will provide analysis for events such as MonoX, SnowboarderX and adaptive snowboarding.

Kurka is currently recovering from a recent broken leg suffered after a collision with another skier during training on Aspen Mountain. He fractured his right femur.

He vowed to be back on the slopes soon. And as always, he was in good spirits about a comeback.

“I am going to be getting a few more weeks to get pumped up to defend my World Cup title,” he said. “Luckily for me it happened early enough in the season that I’ll have plenty of time to prepare and repair myself before the first World Cup races in January.”

Gus Simmers BasketballNobody was probably more pleased with his breakout game for Malone University more than Gus Simmers of Anchorage.

The sophomore transfer was yet to get going for his new team until a 13-point performance in a 95-72 win over Houghton in Ohio.

It’s the only time in five games that the 6-foot-4 forward has reached double figures for the NCAA D2 team. Last year he played JC ball at Palm Beach College in Florida.

Simmers, of ACS fame, made 5-of-8 shots from the floor and 3-of-4 free throws.

The former two-time Alaska 3A Player of the Year is averaging 4.2 points on 39 percent shooting.

December 4, 2014

Keely Jelinek SoccerAfter starting all 19 games and helping the Carnegie Mellon University women’s soccer team reach the NCAA D3 playoffs, freshman Keeley Jelinek of Anchorage was rewarded with a spot on the all-conference first team.

The center back was a defensive dynamo for the Tartans, who ranked tenth in the nation in goals against average [.371].

Jelink, of South High fame, scored her first college goal to provide a 2-1 victory over the University of Chicago. She was named ECAC Rookie of the Week once.

Colter Lasher BasketballWhat sophomore slump? Most college basketball players have historically struggled in their second season, but Anchorage’s Colter Lasher is thriving for Houston Baptist University.

The 6-foot-7 forward is averaging a career-high 12.6 points after the first five games and has reached double figures in four straight.

He scored 16 points in a 58-55 victory over Rice, helping Houston Baptist beat its Texas rival for the second straight year after losing for seven consecutive seasons.

“It’s a huge win – our first road win and our first Division I win of the season,” Lasher told the Houston Chronicle. “We settled in, built a lead, and kept it.”

Lasher, of Dimond High fame, finished one point shy of matching his career high.

December 3, 2014

Kendra Bulawa SoccerTwo Alaskans are taking part in something historic with the Colorado School of Mines women’s soccer team.

The seventh-ranked Orediggers have reached the NCAA D2 semifinals of the national tournament for the first time and will place eighth-ranked Rollins on Thursday in Kentucky.

Chugiak’s Kendra Bulawa and Anchorage’s Maddie Woodard are both seniors on this year’s team that has posted a 16-1-6 record and is now two wins from a national championship.

Maddie Woodard Soccer“I’m really grateful for having it been with the group of girls that it is,” Woodard told the school’s website. “We kind of struggled at the beginning and I think we kind of proved some people wrong.”

Colorado Mines beat Cal State Stanislaus in a 4-3 shootout in the quarterfinals, with Bulawa scoring a shootout goal.

Bulawa, of Chugiak High fame, had the most productive regular season of her four-year career, posting seven points on a goal and three assists.

The midfielder has collected career totals of 4 goals and 7 assists for 19 points.

Woodard, of West High fame, scored her first goal since 2011 this season.

December 2, 2014

Griffin Toomey FootballThe playoffs brought out the best in Griffin Toomey of Anchorage.

The sophomore punter made the Saint John’s special teams special during the NCAA D3 football playoffs, raising his level of play when the No. 13 Johnnies needed him most.

Take a 35-7 victory over St. Scholastica in the first round when he averaged 36.5 yards on four punts and dropped three of them inside the 20-yard line, including two inside the 5.

Or Saturday’s 21-10 loss to No. 4 Wartburg in Iowa in the semifinals when he averaged 42.6 yards on five punts and placed two inside the 20.

In two playoff games, Griffin averaged 39.9 yards on nine punts. He averaged 37.9 on 50 punts this season.

Griffin, of South High fame, was named to the All-MIAC second team this season and led the conference in punts inside the 20 [23] and fair catches [13] for the second straight year.

Jesse Ellis BasketballThe Central Methodist University women’s basketball team continued to master the month of November, and senior Jesse Ellis of Skagway continues to assert herself as a bona fide scorer.

Ellis matched her season high with 16 points as the Eagles knocked off previously unbeaten Siena Heights 73-65 in the title game of the SHU Thanksgiving Tournament in Michigan.

Central Methodist improved to 20-2 in November since 2012.

Ellis sank 7-of-12 shots and both free throws. The 5-foot-8 guard also grabbed a season-high 11 rebounds and handed off 3 assists.

Ellis, of Skagway High fame, was named the NAIA tournament MVP after scoring 26 points on 12-of-24 shooting and grabbed 18 rebounds in two victories.

In the championship game, she single-handedly sealed the deal after scoring six consecutive points to extend the lead from eight points to 14 near the midway point of the second half.

On the season Ellis is averaging 9.5 points in six games. She is 11-of-12 from the foul line and shooting 50 percent from the floor.

December 1, 2014

Lincoln Johnson FootballTwo Alaska football players from Greenville College in Illinois have been named first team all-conference in the NCAA D3 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.

Nikiski’s Lincoln Johnson was honored as a defensive lineman.

The 6-foot, 215-pound sophomore made 25 tackles in 10 games. He also had three sacks and recovered two fumbles.

Greenville was one of the conference’s top defensive units, especially against the run.

Also honored was Anchorage’s Justin Moore, an offensive lineman out of South.

Justin Moore FootballThe 6-foot-1, 280-pound sophomore helped pave the way for the league’s No. 1-ranked rushing attack.

Greenville averaged 331 yards on the ground and scored 33 touchdowns.

The team finished the season with a 7-3 record.

November 30, 2014

Jalil Abdul-Bassit BasketballOnce he made his first jumper, Jalil Abdul-Bassit of Anchorage kept shooting.

And the result was the greatest five minutes of his life.

Abdul-Bassit made his first five jump shots en route to scoring a career-high 19 points as the University of Oregon beat Portland State 81-59.

All his points came in the first half, including 14 during a five-minute stretch when he knocked down four straight 3s.

“He got a couple shots down early and really felt good, and his shot selection was really good,” Oregon coach Dana Altman told reporters. “He’s a good shooter when he’s taking good shots.”

Abdul-Bassit, of West High fame, came off the bench to play 23 minutes. He finished 6-of-11 from the floor and made a career-high five 3s.

He made eight all of last season.

The 6-foot-4 guard also had a blocked shot on a night when the Ducks set a school record with 12 blocked shots.

“Not only did he hit shots but he gave us great energy on the defensive end, he had some great block outs and allowed us to pick up some loose balls. I thought he played really well.”

Abdul-Bassit’s previous scoring high was 17, set only two weeks ago.

Through the first games of the season, he is averaging 7.8 points and 2.2 rebounds. He has made 12-of-25 3-pointers.

November 29, 2014

Adam Klie BasketballUniversity of California San Diego guard Adam Klie of Anchorage got hot when his team needed it most to beat Fort Lewis 83-71 in Colorado.

The 6-foot-5 starting guard scored 10 of his 14 points in the second half and ignited a late-game surge when the Tritons took control.

Klie, of Service High fame, played 30 minutes and contributed 14 points, a career-high 6 assists and 5 rebounds. He didn’t make a turnover.

The score was tied at 59 with 7:30 to play. Then the sophomore from Alaska had a hand in seven points [5 points, 1 assist] during a 14-2 run to make it 73-61 with 4:59 left.

He took a game-high 11 shots, making six, including a pair of 3s.

Klie is averaging 7.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in four games. His team is 3-1.

November 28, 2014

Ramon Harris BasketballPersistence has paid off for Anchorage’s Ramon Harris in the NBA D-League.

The 6-foot-7 forward is finally starting on a full-time basis after coming off the bench in his first two seasons with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, including last season when he won a championship.

His extended minutes have allowed him to produce double figures in three out of the last four games, helping him average a career-best 9.8 points.

That’s nearly twice his 5.7 career average in 81 games coming into this season.

Harris, of West High fame, pumped in 13 points in 22 minutes on 5-of-9 shooting in tonight’s 124-115 loss to the Delaware 86ers in Indiana.

He surpassed the 500-point career mark in the game, making him Alaska’s all-time leading scorer in the NBA D-League.

His success can be attributed to more minutes, sure, but he’s also shooting the ball better than ever.

Here is a closer look:

This year .436
Career .373
This year .459
Career .357
This year .800
Career .595