Kake boys basketball completes undefeated season with Class 1A state championship

Kake wins for the first time since 1987
Published: Mar. 19, 2023 at 8:53 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Kake Thunderbirds capped off an undefeated season Saturday night by winning its first boys state basketball championship in 36 years.

Like many small communities in rural Alaska, the community revolves around basketball, and that was evident for the Thunderbirds as they beat the Aniak Halfbreeds 67-49.

“Basketball in Kake is everything,” Kake head coach Anthony Ross said. “To bring this back, to lift up our community, to have the fans support us, it takes so much money to get here and to take that trophy back with us and to hang two banners this year, it’s going to be awesome. I can’t wait to get home.”

The Thunderbirds came out like lightning and quickly built a big lead on the Halfbreeds. Senior Ethan Kadake seemingly couldn’t miss a shot, hitting three after three to grow the lead.

Teams in villages and small towns around the state often have players who have competed with each other from elementary school through high school, and that was front and center with how the ball was moving around for Kake.

“Oh man, it’s amazing, you know, like I have taught a lot of these seniors in second grade, third grade, sixth grade, in junior high, you know, being able to coach them from eighth to now, and to see them grow from boys to men through the boys to men program. It’s awesome. Everything they’ve got, they’ve earned,” Ross said.

Kake will bring the trophy back home for the first time since 1987. The seniors on the team say they hear the stories of the last championship all of the time and that it’s cool that their names will now be added to the list and remembered in the same way.

“Excitement, pure excitement!” Kadake said. “This has been a dream all my life wanted to play on this court and on the biggest stage.”

The title capped a two-season run in which the Kake boys have lost just a single game.

The team will now look to keep that dominance alive as they move into next season as the defending champions.