North Pole Basketball programs celebrate seniors in home finale

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 9:27 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Although it was not the 2021 graduating class’ final game at the North Pole High School gymnasium, both basketball programs honored their seniors during a double-header with the Galena Hawks. North Pole will host the Mid Alaska Conference tournament March 17-18, featuring the Lathrop Malemutes, West Valley Wolfpack and the Patriots.

North Pole Girls

Propelled by a 15-point second quarter, the North Pole girls defeated Galena 36-18, sending off the seniors - Dakota Darby, Megan Parrish and Laura Donovan - with a victory. Darby, who also plays flag football and wrestles for North Pole, joined the basketball program her senior year.

“When I first joined, I wasn’t really too into until I was dragged in by a few friends. I definitely don’t regret [doing it] at all.” she said.

Parrish, the future Emmanuel College wrestler, also joined the program recently.

“I was really new to basketball, but once I started playing it and I met everybody on the team, it was just so much fun,” Parrish said after the game. “It was really hard, but I feel like the people around me really helped me with that.”

As for Donovan, she has been a staple in the North Pole program, competing for the Patriots all four years of high school.

“It meant a lot to play my senior year,” she said. “I was really happy because I have been playing with coach [Robert] Borba since 6th grade and have been playing basketball since kindergarten.”

Sophomore Alicia Guzman led the Patriots to victory against Galena with 12 points. Although it the underclassman is the leading scorer, it is the variety of seniors that has elevated North Pole this year.

“It was valuable, actually more than I thought it would be,” Borba said of the graduating class. “I am just so glad to have all of them and have them come to practice every day and try hard and we have gotten better each day, each time they get a ball in their hands.”

North Pole will face Lathrop in the opening round of the Mid Alaska Conference tournament Wednesday. The winner will face West Valley the following day.

North Pole Boys

The North Pole Boys also celebrated a trio of seniors, though it came in a tough, 40-38, defeat at the hands of Galena.

“It has meant a lot,” senior Alex Garcia said of North Pole’s support. “A lot of good people, a lot of good coaches, they’re very caring and very helpful throughout the years.”

“It felt great,” senior Josh Proctor said of being celebrated before the game. “I have played basketball my whole life, it was an honor to go out with my teammates and stuff and I am going to miss this place yeah for sure.”

“All the friends, all the trips, the close bonds we had during high school,” fellow senior Chris West said about what he will miss. “They have been very close to us, supporting us all the way through.”

“They’re building the foundation to what we are trying to accomplish here at North Pole,” head coach Travis Church said of the senior class. “Any future success is attributed to these guys setting it up.”

Similar to the girls, North Pole will face Lathrop on Wednesday to see who will take on West Valley in the MAC Championship game.

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