Gabriel nabs coach of year

Basketball all-state teams announced

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005


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  Cook Inlet Academy's Blake Gabriel made the first team all-state at the Class 1A-2A level. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Cook Inlet Academy's Blake Gabriel made the first team all-state at the Class 1A-2A level.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

The Gabriel family's reputation for producing fine hockey coaches and players just took another hit.

In Anchorage Daily News-Alaska Media

All-State Basketball voting announced today, Cook Inlet Academy's Bruce Gabriel was named Class 1A-2A Boys Coach of the Year and 6-foot-4 senior Blake Gabriel, Bruce's son, made first team all-state at the Class 1A-2A level.

Bruce Gabriel, whose team finished 27-0 and won the Class 2A state title, earned the coaching honor in just his second year of coaching basketball at any level. Last year, he served as the assistant coach for the CIA boys.

Gabriel said his son landing on first team all-state tops off a great year.

"It was a dream come true, one of those things you read about or, I hate talking like this, one of those things they make a movie about," Bruce Gabriel said. "To be a part of his senior year, and to have it be at that high of a level, means a lot to me."

Bruce Gabriel's background is in hockey. His dad, Greg Gabriel Sr., was his hockey coach when he graduated from Kenai Central in 1979. Bruce coached youth hockey for eight years and was a Skyview assistant hockey coach for two years.

Gabriel said all that coaching experience, plus some coaching he did for youth football, helped him when he took over the Eagles this season.

"There are things that tie into coaching in any sport," Gabriel said. "So much of sports is in the head as far as keeping them motivated to play at a high level."

CIA missed the state tournament last year even though the Eagles spent parts of the season ranked No. 1 in the prep poll, so Gabriel had a group of motivated players this year. He also had basketball help from assistants Greg Bell and Justin Franchino.

"I couldn't have asked for a better situation," Gabriel said.

Blake Gabriel made the first team, junior guard Jeremy Franchino made the second team, senior forward Brian Beeson made the third team and senior Andy Hall was honorable mention, but Bristol Bay junior Zach Klein was Player of the Year.

"I was talking to one of the coaches here before we went to state and I said, 'If we win state, and we don't have the 2A player of the year, that shows what type of program we have. It doesn't revolve around one player,'" Gabriel said.

Blake Gabriel had almost 200 rebounds, 50 blocked shots and averaged 12 to 14 points per game. Franchino was the floor leader who saved CIA's season with a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in the state semifinals.

Bruce Gabriel called Beeson, who was wavering this fall on whether he'd go out for the team, the squad's spiritual leader. Finally, Gabriel said Hall was probably the best defensive player at Class 2A.

"That's tells the story right there, we were pretty balanced," Gabriel said.

Gabriel has not yet announced whether he will coach CIA next season.

Three players from the peninsula were named to first teams.


Nikiski's Sarah Herrin made the first team all-state at the Class 3A level.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

In addition to Blake Gabriel, 5-7 Nikiski junior Sarah Herrin made first team at the Class 3A level and 5-10 Ninilchik junior Kendra Moerlein made the first team at the Class 1A-2A level.

Herrin helped lead the Bulldogs to a 23-4 record, a Southcentral Conference championship and a third-place finish at the state tournament. Herrin, who was all-state honorable mention last year, moved up to the first team this year by virtue of averaging 17.9 points per game and 7.0 rebounds per game.

The Bulldogs also placed 5-8 sophomore Hannah Thompson on the second team. Thompson averaged 10.2 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Bulldogs. Even though she plays in the frontcourt, Thompson still was second on the team in assists with 1.3 per game. She also led Nikiski's regulars in free-throw percentage (71.7 percent), field-goal percentage (45.1 percent) and 3-point percentage (33.3 percent).

The Bulldogs lost at the state tournament in the semifinals to Monroe Catholic, which went on to win its second straight state tournament and had 5-8 senior Leah Stepovich claim Player of the Year honors and Michael Lantagne claim Coach of the Year honors.

The Seward Seahawks lost to Nikiski in the finals of the Southcentral Conference tournament and in the third-place game at state. Teal Hetrick, a 5-7 guard for Seward, made the second team, while fellow senior Lara Loomis was honorable mention.


Ninilchik's Kendra Moerlein made the first team all-state at the Class 1A-2A level.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Moerlein moved up to the first team after taking second-team honors last season. The Wolverines finished with a 21-5 record and finished second at both the Peninsula Conference Tournament and the state tournament.

The victor at both of those tournaments was the Bristol Bay girls, who had Tim Helvey take Class 1A-2A Coach of the Year and 5-9 senior Danica Wilson get Class 1A-2A Player of the Year. It is the first time since 1999 a Ninilchik player did not win Player of the Year honors. Helvey's win also snaps the four-year run of Ninilchik coach Dan Leman as Coach of the Year.

The Wolverines are in a solid position to make a run at state dominance next year, however, because sophomore center Jennifer Erickson as given honorable mention honors along with senior guard Emily Wood. Other peninsula players to get honorable mention were Cook Inlet Academy senior Alyse Bell and Nikolaevsk senior Nikki Melkomukov.

At the Class 3A boys level, Nikiski's Travis McGahan and Seward's Ryan Dieckgraeff received honorable mention awards. Heritage Christian, which won the state title, had 6-9 senior Jared Reando take Player of the Year honors and Brad Lauwers take Coach of the Year honors.

Bailey Lowney, a 5-5 senior from Homer, was the only peninsula player to make an all-state team at the Class 4A level. Lowney made the second team, while freshman teammate Allison Horazdovsky received honorable mention.

Lowney and Horazdovsky helped lead Homer to second place in the Northern Lights Conference and fourth place in the state. At state, Lowney averaged 13 points per game, 4.7 steals per game and 4.3 assists per game while Horazdovsky had 11 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game.

Juneau-Douglas, which captured the Class 4A girls crown, had 5-10 sophomore Talisa Rhea pick up Player of the Year honors and Lesslie Knight take home Coach of the Year honors.

Matt Hicks, a 6-4 senior center from Soldotna, got an honorable mention at the Class 4A boys level. Hicks and the Stars came up just short of the state tournament when they lost to Kodiak in the third-place game at the Northern Lights Conference tournament.

Mario Chalmers, a 6-2 guard from Bartlett who will play at Kansas next season, was named Player of the Year, while Colony's Jeff Bowker was named Coach of the Year for leading the Knights to first place in the Northern Lights Conference and second place in state.

Anchorage Daily News/Alaska Media All-State Basketball Team

Class 4A Boys

Player of the Year — Mario Chalmers, Bartlett

Coach of the Year — Jeff Bowker, Colony

First Team

Mario Chalmers, 6-2, Sr., Bartlett; Ramon Harris, 6-5, Jr., West; Jordan Jamestown, 5-10, Sr., West; Justin Schwartzbauer, 6-1, Sr., Colony; Deray Wilson, 5-10, Sr., West.

Second Team

Matt Crane, 6-4, Sr., Wasilla; Cade Dickey, 6-5, Sr., Colony; Dennis, Wilson, 6-3, Jr., East; William Edwards, 6-0, Jr., West Valley; Warren Lewis, 5-8, Sr., Dimond.

Honorable Mention

Jesse Bean, Wasilla; Rhett Magner, Colony; Tyler Richardson, Ketchikan; Mark Putney, Kodiak; Kylan Robinson, East; Ronald Moore, West Valley; David Williams, Bartlett; Jesse LeBeau, Ketchikan; Luke Schafer, Wasilla; Cedar Anderson, West Valley; Zach Keplinger, Kodiak; Matt Hicks, Soldotna.

Class 4A Girls

Player of the Year — Talisa Rhea, Juneau-Douglas

Coach of the Year — Lesslie Knight, Juneau-Douglas

First Team

Talisa Rhea, 5-10, Soph., Juneau-Douglas; Lillian Bullock, 5-6, Jr., Service; Kelsey Griffin, 6-1, Sr., Chugiak; Mary Rehfeld, 5-9, Sr., Juneau-Douglas; Megan Stearman, 6-0, Sr., Wasilla.

Second Team

Bailey Lowney, 5-5, Sr., Homer; Aiesha Ailey-Brown, 6-1, Sr., East; Sylvia Bullock, 6-0, Fr., Service; Vanessa McCormick, 5-8, Sr., North Pole; Alana Clooten, 5-11, Sr., Lathrop.

Honorable Mention

Kelsey McIntosh, North Pole; Sarah Jones, Service; Shaina Afoa, Dimond; Hillarie Putnam, Wasilla; Sarah Neuschwander, Chugiak; Lexi Garvey, Juneau-Douglas; Anne Wesser, Wasilla; Kate Potter, Juneau-Douglas; Kelcy Joynt, Colony; Allison Horazdovsky, Homer; Maggie Burgess, East; Savannah Afoa, Dimond.

Class 3A Boys

Player of the Year — Jared Reando, Heritage Christian

Coach of the Year — Brad Lauwers, Heritage Christian

First Team

Jared Reando, 6-9, Sr., Heritage Christian; Trenton Millar, 6-5, Jr., Heritage Christian; Evan Skinner, 6-3, Sr., Eielson; Lonnie Ridgeway, 6-3, Jr., Heritage Christian; Kyle Wells, 6-1, Jr., Monroe Catholic.

Second Team

Matthew Gueco, 5-11, Sr., Barrow; Josh Thomas, 6-2, Sr., Mt. Edgecumbe; Chet Dyson, 6-0, Sr., Anchorage Christian School; Donald Fairbanks, 6-1, Sr., Kotzebue; Fritz Frier, 6-4, Sr., Barrow.

Honorable Mention

Richard McNutt, Anchorage Christian School; Thomas Millar, Heritage Christian; Eric Hamilton, Craig; Bobby Pico, Barrow; Josh Finney, Eielson; Damon Bell-Holter, Mt. Edgecumbe; Travis McGahan, Nikiski; Ryan Dieckgraeff, Seward; Sam Jensen, Petersburg.

Class 3A Girls

Player of the Year — Leah Stepovich, Monroe Catholic

Coach of the Year — Michael Lantagne, Monroe Catholic

First Team

Leah Stepovich, 5-8, Sr., Monroe Catholic; Melissa Rima, 6-2, Soph., Monroe Catholic; Sarah Herrin, 5-7, Jr., Nikiski; Britni Carty, 5-8, Sr., Dillingham; Marjorie Rima, 6-2, Sr., Monroe Catholic.

Second Team

Maria Eduarte, 5-3, Soph., Barrow; Kimberly Rychnovsky, 5-4, Jr., Mt. Edgecumbe; Iris Bowers, 5-2, Sr., Dillingham; Teal Hetrick, 5-7, Sr., Seward; Hannah Thompson, 5-8, Soph., Nikiski.

Honorable Mention

Whitney Wright, Valdez; Amy Sokaitis, Monroe Catholic; Skeeter Atoruk, Mt. Edgecumbe; Whitney Connor, Valdez; Jennifer Evan, Mt. Edgecumbe; Bernice Oyagak, Barrow; Callie Bell, Petersburg; Drew Fossman, Haines; Heather Warren, Eielson; Lara Loomis, Seward.

Class 1A/2A Boys

Player of the Year — Zach Klein, Bristol Bay

Coach of the Year — Bruce Gabriel, Cook Inlet Academy

First Team

Zach Klein, 6-1, Jr., Bristol Bay; Blake Gabriel, 6-4, Sr., Cook Inlet Academy; Peter Tingook, 6-1, Sr., Point Hope; Derek Knudsen, Jr., Kake; Dustin Bowen, Sr., Hoonah.

Second Team

Jeremy Franchino, 5-10, Jr., Cook Inlet Academy; Jory Peterson, 5-8, Jr., Golovin; Stan Harvey, 6-0., Jr., Noorvik; Art Vaska Jr., 5-11, Sr., Russian Mission; Tim Demmert, Sr., Kake.

Third Team

Dwight Amaktoolik, 6-0, Sr., Golovin; Brian Beeson, 6-3, Sr., Cook Inlet Academy; Ronald Kippi, 6-2, Sr., Meade River; Axel Johnson, 5-9, Sr., Unalakleet; Dean John, 5-7, Sr., Newhalen.

Honorable Mention

Matthew Shewfelt, Fort Yukon; Lache Wilson, Tok; Carl Vaska, Russian Mission; Dalen Dorris, Kalskag; Kenny Morgan Jr., Kalskag; Travis Lons, Bristol Bay; Devin Moritz, Hoonah; David Lindstrom, Hoonah; Mason King, Bristol Bay; Brandon Wassillie, Newhalen; Andy Hall, Cook Inlet Academy; Tory Andrew, New Stuyahok; Charlie Pehle, Unalakleet; Kyle Dierick, Yakutat; Alan Conwell, Noorvik.

Class 1A/2A Girls

Player of the Year — Danica Wilson, Bristol Bay

Coach of the Year — Tim Helvey, Bristol Bay

First Team

Danica Wilson, 5-9, Sr., Bristol Bay; Kendra Moerlein, 5-10, Jr., Ninilchik; Janet Geary, Buckland, 5-2, Sr., Lydia Kasayulie, 5-10, Sr., New Stuyahok; Savannah Ames, 5-8, Sr., Skagway.

Second Team

Jackie West, 5-10, Jr., Bristol Bay; Jacquoi James, Sr., Yakutat; Barbara Towarak, 5-8, Sr., Unalakleet; Roberta Strick, 5-7, Sr., McGrath; Tommilynn Ahmaogak, 5-7, Sr., Wainwright.

Third Team

Nancy Timothy, 5-4, Soph., Point Hope; Tommi Parker, 5-1, Sr., McGrath; Tiffany Edwards, 5-4, Jr., Bristol Bay; Mary Epchook, 5-3, Jr., Kwethluk; Ruth Nash, 5-7, Soph., Point Hope.

Honorable Mention

Betsy Thomas, Buckland; Callie Ann Riddle, Bristol Bay; Janice Arkell, Galena; Jennifer Erickson, Ninilchik; Nikki Mayer, Wainwright; Emily Wood, Ninilchik; Candi Ketterman, Skagway; Jennal Burgett, Galena; Tiffany Potter, Skagway; Elizabeth Phillip, Kwethluk; Kelsi Ivanoff, Unalakleet; Sharon Webb, Klawock; Alyse Bell, Cook Inlet Academy; Grace Milliken, Tri-Valley; Jenna Fagundes, White Mountain; Nikki Melkomukov, Nikolaevsk.

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