Athletes of the Week: Kake’s Kadake, Tikigaq’s Nash star at state
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The lights are brighter and the stage is bigger at the Class 1A and 2A Alaska state basketball championships, but the moment wasn’t too big for Kake senior Ethan Kadake and Tikigaq sophomore Jennifer Nash, who led their respective programs to state titles this past weekend.
”This has been a dream all my life, wanting to play on this court and play in front of the biggest stage,” Kadake said after leading his school to new heights.
The Kake Thunderbirds got off to a scorching start against the Aniak Halfbreeds in the 1A Boys State Championship — and that was in large part because of the senior standout.
Kadake scored 25 points in the first half — outscoring Aniak as a team — on his way to a 31-point performance and bringing Kake its first state championship since 1987 after the 67-49 win.
”Breaking a 30-plus year drought of no state championships is pretty nice,” Kadake said. ”It feels amazing that I will have my name mentioned with all of them.”
Kadake and the T-Birds bring the title home to a very proud Southeast community of about 500 people.
”Basketball in Kake is everything,” Kake coach Anthony Ross said. “It takes so much money to get here, and to take that trophy back with us, hang two banners this year, man it is going to be awesome, I can’t wait to get home.”
As for the pride of Point Hope, Tikigaq’s Jennifer Nash, it was a tournament performance already seen once before.
”It feels so unbelievable to [go] back-to-back,” the sophomore said after receiving her Player of the Game Award.
After leading her team to the 2022 Class 2A state title, Nash poured in 20 points in the championship game Saturday to lift the Harpoonerettes over Metlakatla 55-33 for their second straight run at the trophy.
“It’s hard work, it is always going to be hard work,” Nash said. “It’s never going to be easy you always have to trust each other and always come out confident.”
“All these kids that are going through things, especially in the rural areas, I mean everywhere, basketball really is uplifting for the kids and the communities and for the parents,” Tikigaq coach Ramona Rock added.
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