JV Vikings battle Sitka in Petersburg
January 20, 2022
The Petersburg High School junior varsity basketball team took on the Sitka Wolves on Friday and Saturday in its first home games of the season, giving young players their first taste of high school athletic competition.
Last weekend's action was originally set to see the Petersburg boys and girls varsity teams play against Craig but that was canceled due to high COVID-19 case counts on Prince of Wales Island.
After the cancelation, Activities Director Jaime Cabral invited the junior varsity teams from Sitka and Juneau-Douglas to travel to Petersburg, but Juneau-Douglas was unable to make it after the team's flight was canceled due to weather.
"They did a great job," JV Coach Mik Potrzuski said of his team. "They learned from how we were being played against. As far as defense they were really aggressive, really physical so that was a big adjustment for us, their style, and they grew throughout the week."
The PHS junior varsity team was broken up into Petersburg Blue and Petersburg White and faced Sitka in five games over the two days.
Three jamboree games, which had two 20-minute halves and a running clock, were played Friday evening beginning with the Petersburg White team against Sitka.
It was a slow start from both teams as they adjusted to their opponents, but they grew into the game during the second half.
Sitka claimed the first victory of the weekend, beating the white team 27-25.
In the next matchup the two Petersburg teams went head-to-head in a tight game that lasted until the final seconds.
In his very first high school basketball game, Joseph Tagaban clinched the win for the blue team with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to end the game 42-39.
"Honestly, one of the coolest, if not the coolest sporting moment that I've witnessed," Potrzuski said.
He described Tagaban, who has endured cancer treatments for the past year, as a fighter who shoots with confidence. Joy erupted from both teams in the gym when the ball swished through the net.
"I was so excited and just watching all my guys run from their bench to celebrate him in his moment was...it was powerful," Potrzuski said.
The blue team finished off the round robin night with a 29-28 win over the Wolves.
The two games played against Sitka on Saturday afternoon were traditional four quarter matches.
Petersburg lost the first game 36-25 and looked to be losing the second game after going down by double digits until a fourth quarter rally saw the Vikings come out on top, winning 50-47.
"They kind of took it personally in the sense that they made sure that their man wasn't going to score and played really well as a team," Potrzuski said. "Win or lose in that one you're going to be proud of them because they kept fighting throughout."
Though this was only the JV team's first outing of the season, Potrzuski said he saw many players who took advantage of their time on the court and improved as both individuals and teammates.
"Our freshmen...took on responsibility of being great team defenders and contributing," Potrzuski said.
"Our sophomores and our juniors that were playing did a really nice job leading, communicating with one another and...they came together as a group to come back in a game that they very easily could have said, we played hard this weekend, we're tired, but they didn't."
The team was also supported by seniors on the varsity team who came to watch the games as well as the cheer team and the home crowd which Potrzuski said gave the game a varsity atmosphere.
The varsity teams will travel to the Su Valley Crowler Classic this weekend while the junior varsity team is planning on seeing its next action in Craig the following weekend.