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HomeSportPrep Hoops: Mt. Edgecumbe boys enter 3A state tournament riding 24-game heater;...

Prep Hoops: Mt. Edgecumbe boys enter 3A state tournament riding 24-game heater; Grace’s Sophie Lentfer named Gatorade girls winner

Mt. Edgecumbe’s Dustin Otton read the court. Photo by Qitupun Ferriera

Just because the Mt. Edgecumbe boys basketball team has a 24-0 record doesn’t mean the Braves had it easy this season.

They had an 11-point fourth-quarter comeback against Sitka, blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead at Barrow and rallied late to win against Ketchikan.

“We have had some very challenging games that we managed to grind out,” said longtime Mt. Edgecumbe coach Archie Young.

Other than that, though, the team has cut through the competition with a 29.5-point average margin of victory against a solid schedule that included 4A opponents Soldotna and Ketchikan, fellow 3A state qualifiers Barrow and Houston, and recently crowned 2A state champion Petersburg.

None of them were able to top Mt. Edgecumbe as the Braves constructed the state’s longest winning streak entering the state playoffs.

LONGEST WIN STREAKS
24 – Mt. Edgecumbe (B)
16 – East Anchorage (B)
14 – Grace Christian (B)
12 – Monroe Catholic (G)
10 – Service (G)

“I give a lot of credit to our five seniors,” Young said. “Their leadership and the trust this team has in each other. They seem to really understand each other’s strengths and try to give each other the best chance to succeed.”

Mt. Edgecumbe pumps in 74.1 points per game and is led by Southeast Conference MVP Kaison Herrmann along with all-conference picks Donovan Stephan-Standifer and Jacob Friske. The Big 3 is a big part of what makes the team’s offense effective.

Herrmann, a 5-foot-10 senior point guard, is a 20-point scorer shooting 60% from the field. “He is strong, fast and scores at all levels for us,” Young said.

Herrmann is joined in the backcourt by 6-foot guard Jacob Friske, the energy guy who plays every game like it’s his last. “He gives it everything,” Young said. Friske is averaging 15 points per game.

Mt. Edgecumbe’s Jacob Friske lets one fly. Photo by Qitupun Ferriera

The man in the middle is Stephan-Standifer, who began playing organized basketball only three years ago but has developed into a 15-point scorer for the Braves.

Credit Young, who has been coaching at Mt. Edgecumbe for 25 years. A 2,000-point scorer at Wrangell High who went on to play for the UAF Nanooks, Young was an elite player who became an elite coach with more than 400 career wins and seven conference titles. He can spot talent from a mile away.

Of course, it helps to be 6-foot-7. Still, stature doesn’t guarantee status and Young raved about Stephan-Standifer’s willingness to learn and work on his game to get better.

“He has improved tremendously,” Young said. “I think he has even surprised himself.”

Mt. Edgecumbe has other players capable of scoring double figures in Rylan Armstrong, Tryell Cromer, Kaden Herrmann and RJ Didrickson. Part of the success of any team is to be multi-dimensional and the Braves are armed with multiple weapons.

But when it comes to the state tournament their approach is simple: Just win, baby.

“It’s one game at a time and that’s how we are trying to prepare for it,” Young said. “The focus for state is try and be better than we have. Keep improving. We want to be honest about the effort we give.

“Humble in our success, hungry for more.”

Sophie Lentfer wins Gatorade

When Grace Christian’s Sophie Lentfer takes the court for the 3A girls state tournament, she will do so with a new title: Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year.

The state’s most prestigious individual award dates back to 1986 and past winners include Alissa Pili, Ruthy Hebard, Jessica Moore, Molly Tuter and Jeannie Hebert.

Lentfer is the first girls winner in school history, but not the first in her family. Her dad Jeff won the boys Gatorade award in 1991.

Lentfer is averaging 21.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game for the Grizzlies (23-3), who are the No. 2 seed at this week’s state tournament at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Grace Christian’s Sophie Lentfer brings up the ball. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

“Sophie is much more than a one-position player. She has the skill to play any position on the floor. She has played – with much success – from the point to the post, offensively and defensively, for the last three years,” Grace coach Pete Johnson said a press release.

Lentfer was last season’s AABC Class 3A Player of the Year and has earned all-state honors in each of her three seasons of high school.

ASAA March Madness
State Basketball Tournament
At Alaska Airlines Classic
Wednesday’s Quarterfinals

Class 3A Boys

  • 9:30am Barrow (15-10) vs. Valdez (21-5)
  • 11:00am Mt. Edgecumbe (24-0) vs. Hutchison (9-14)
  • 12:30pm Nome-Beltz (21-4) vs. Houston (11-15)
  • 7:45pm Grace Christian (22-4) vs. Seward (19-7)

Class 3A Girls

  • 8:00am Mt. Edgcumbe (21-3) vs. Homer (18-9)
  • 11:00am Monroe Catholic (22-4) vs. Bethel (14-11)
  • 12:30pm Barrow (21-3) vs. Sitka (17-8)
  • 6:15pm Grace Christian (23-3) vs. Valdez (19-8)

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