Class 2A boys basketball player of the year Kacy Green had a tough decision to make at the end of last season.
Though he enjoyed his three seasons playing basketball for Mt. Edgecumbe, a Class 3A boarding school in Sitka, he opted to return home and play his senior season at Hooper Bay, a coastal town in Southwest Alaska.
"I thought about my decision all summer," Green said. "It all just came down to being with family."
Albert Green, the Class 2A boys coach of the year, is Kacy's father. He coached the Warriors to a 16-3 record in the regular season and to a 56-37 win over Su Valley in the first round of the state tournament at Sullivan Arena on Monday. Kacy did his part, racking 20 points, eight rebounds, six steals and six assists in the win.
"I'm happy to have him," Albert said. "He really makes our team that much better. He carries our team, especially during our region tournament, he carried our team."
The 6-foot-2 Kacy is the biggest player on the Hooper Bay team, so he plays center while on defense. But his ball skills allow him to do a little of everything on offense. Kacy called himself a streaky shooter and said his best attribute is court vision. He looks just as comfortable setting up a teammate for an open layup as he does pulling up and draining a 3-point jumper.
"He's letting me do my own thing," said Kacy "I play freely. I'm having a good time out there."
Practice sessions aren't always as fun as games, because Albert tends to be a little harder on Kacy than the rest of the players.
"I expect more from him," Albert said. "I'm always pushing the boys, especially Kacy."
Six is enough
At times it might look like the Craig girls are stalling, but passing the basketball around the top of the key is really just a methodical way to take a breather. With only six players on the team, the Class 2A Panthers have to conserve energy where they can.
"If we're gonna rest, we need to rest on offense," Craig coach D.J. Hansen said. "We don't rest on defense. We go hard on defense."
The defense was in fine form during Monday's 39-21 first-round win over Unalakleet. Sophomore Marie Yates, Craig's youngest player, is also the team's best defender, Hansen said. She is always assigned the opposition's best offensive player and came up with four of the team's 18 steals Monday.
"Our defense is what sparks our whole game," Yates said. "If we have good defense, we'll have a good game."
At times during the season, the team had seven players, but it has played the last five games with six. The Panthers are well-conditioned and not intimidated by teams with greater numbers, Yates said. In some ways, playing with such a small unit might even be an advantage.
"I think with having such a small team, we're used to playing with the same four people and we just have good chemistry," Yates said.