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Hutchison Boys defeat Eielson in matchup between first-year head coaches

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 7:21 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A pair of 3A Aurora Conference programs have new leadership on the sidelines, as Tuesday’s high school boys basketball contest between the Hutchison Hawks and Eielson Ravens was a bout between two first-year head coaches. Bobby Carter has been appointed the interim coach of the Hawks, while Tony Johnson now leads the Ravens, both getting their first high school head coaching experience.

Hutch was riding the hype of defeating the Valdez Buccaneers for the first time in five years last weekend, but the Hawks did not match the energy Carter was hoping for coming off the big time victory, trailing 12-7 after one quarter. However, the Hawks found their stride in the middle quarters, scoring 20 points in each the second and third en route to a 63-48 conference victory over the Ravens. Senior Cormac Kesey paced the Hawks with 20 points, while Ryan Young added 13.

“Really it was our defense,” Young said on what got the team the victory. “We were putting pressure on the ball, causing a lot of turnovers, while on offense it was fast break points.”

“Our defense has picked up, I got kids buying in, sliding all over their place, their knees are getting scarred up, it looks like real basketball out there.” Carter said of the defensive efforts.

Carter originally applied for the Hutchison Girl’s head coaching position, which he ultimately received, but stepped into the Boy’s coaching role as an interim when the program needed the help. Now, Carter is balancing both 3A programs, which is a big task, but he says he is not going about alone.

“Hutchison is a family and I got a lot of help from my athletic director, the principal and we got great kids,” said Carter, who has previously helped coach the Lathrop High School Girls program under Dave Stewart. “So it seems like a lot, but in all actuality, because the team around me is so spectacular, its really not as bad as it seems.”

As for Eielson, they are also led by a first-year head coach, as Tony Johnson was handed the keys to program on the Air Force Base during the offseason.

“For quite some time I have been behind the scenes, coaching youth sports, coaching 7th and 8th grade [basketball] out at Eielson and when the opportunity came to coach the, quote unquote, big leagues, I immediately jumped on it,” said Johnson, who is originally from Georgia and was stationed in Alaska about eight years ago. “Just to see these guys grow from 7th and 8th graders to sophomores and juniors that they are now, it is great.”

Junior Brandon Polesky poured in a game-high 28 points for Eielson, a program that doesn’t feature any seniors on its roster.

“I like that they’re young,” Johnson added. “They’re intense, they want to win. Tonight, they never gave up, they played until the end. No matter what the scoreboard read, they wanted to win and they played until the horn sounded.”

Hutchison will travel to Delta to face the Huskies on Friday, while the Ravens will take on the West Valley Wolfpack on Tuesday.

Wolfpack Sweep Patriots

Over in North Pole Tuesday night, the Patriots hosted both West Valley programs. In the Girl’s contest, the Wolfpack used a 25-point first quarter to propel them to a 64-37 victory on the road. Senior Rachel Cockman, who recently signed to Western Colorado University, did most of her damage in the early stages, scoring 10 of her game-high 16 points in the first quarter, while Hadley Blasey chipped in 13. Coming off a Mt. McKinley Bank Holiday Classic Championship, West Valley remains undefeated at 4-0 on the young season. In the Boy’s matchup, the Wolfpack cruised to a 66-20 victory, led by Judah Ward’s 14 points and six rebounds. Fellow senior Cortarius Mingo had 13 points and five assists in the victory. Both West Valley programs will host Lathrop on Thursday, while North Pole will face the Malemutes on Tuesday.

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