FHS cagers roll past KIPP Columbus


Carter Schultz (12) of Fairbanks goes up for a basket against KIPP Columbus on Monday. The Panthers rolled to a 45-19 victory. (Journal-Tribune photo by Tim Miller)

The KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Columbus charter school boys basketball squad has seen limited action this winter.
That inactivity was revealed during Monday’s 45-19 loss at Fairbanks.
The Jaguars went into the contest having taken to the court very few times.
That is due to the coronavirus restrictions in Franklin County.
“KIPP is a very athletic team, but they had only played three games going into tonight,” said FHS coach Justin George. “That’s been pretty bad for them.”
FHS took to the court not knowing a great deal about the Jaguars.
“Since they had played so few games, we didn’t have much information to prepare for them,” said George.
As it turns out, the Panthers really didn’t need much of a scouting report.
Fairbanks (13-6) did not have KIPP (1-3) on its original schedule.
Due to previous COVID shutdowns, the Panthers headed into the latter part of the season looking for a game.
“We wanted a game and KIPP was available,” said George.
Wyatte Miller, who led all scorers with 14 points, knocked down a trifecta during a 9-0 Panther run to start the game.
The Jaguars didn’t score until the 2:11 mark of the opening period when 6-7 Jordan Hall hit a basket.
FHS came up with several empty possessions down the stretch of the quarter.
Dominque Aekins buried a three-pointer that pulled the Jags to within 9-5 by the end of the stanza.
It took nearly three minutes into the second quarter before Braylon Green’s jumper pushed the Panthers out to an 11-5 margin.
Miller scored on back-to-back possessions as FHS reached its first double-digit advantage of 15-5.
KIPP went scoreless during the second period as a number of good looks at the basket did not fall.
The timer read less than two minutes when Green got the ball to Grant Rausch on the low block for a 17-5 FHS spread.
Miller then knocked down a trey at the buzzer.
That long-distance dial-up pushed the Panthers out to a 20-5 halftime lead.
Kyler Wilson opened the third quarter with a three-ball that pushed Fairbanks out to a 23-5 lead.
Baskets from Green, Carter Schultz and Andy Higinbotham helped FHS climb to a commanding 36-7 advantage.
“We kicked our offense into a higher gear during the second half,” said George. “At halftime, we stressed fundamentals and getting to the spots we needed to be on offense.”
Rausch assisted on a bucket by Higinbotham that raised Fairbanks’ lead to 38-9 with 1:45 left in the third set.
The Jaguars finally reached double-digits at 38-11. That came on a basket from Jahari Frierson.
The Panthers took a 38-13 lead into the final quarter and cleared its bench down the stretch.
Fairbanks will enter Division III tournament action at home on Saturday, 7 p.m.
The Panthers will play the winner of Wednesday evening’s game between Columbus Academy and Johnstown-Northridge.
Miller 5-2-14, Green 4-0-8, Schultz 3-0-6, Higinbotham 3-0-6, Wilson 1-1-4, Rausch 2-0-4, Ufferman 0-2-2, Crowe 0-1-1, Good 0-0-0, Tobe 0-0-0, Ziegler 0-0-0, Feller 0-0-0. Totals 18-6-45.
Three-point goals: Miller 2, Wilson 1.
Aekins 1-2-5, Fuqua 2-0-4, Dunn 1-0-3, Williams 1-0-2, Frierson 1-0-2, Hall 1-0-2, Mullen 0-1-1, Totals 7-3-19.
Three-point goals: Aekins 1, Dunn 1.
The Panther junior varsity squad closed out its season with a 35-22 triumph over the Junior Jaguars.
Andrew Crowe tallied 10 points as the FHS jayvees finished with a 20-2 record.

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