A torn anterior cruciate ligament can be devastating for a basketball player. Bethany Carstens suffered the injury not just once, but twice.
And that didn’t stop the Nikiski junior. Carstens worked her way back from both injuries, and is now recognized as one of the top players in the state. Carstens was named the Knight’s Taxidermy/Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches 3A Girls Player of the Year last week.
“Typically you have one injury like that and you’re not the same player,” Nikiski head coach Scott Anderson said recently. “One of the most impressive things about her is she’s come back, trained, and made herself a pretty amazing player.”
Anderson also was honored last week, being named the Class 3A Girls Coach of the Year. The other major award winner from the peninsula is Ninilchik junior DeeAnn White, who won the Class 1A Girls Player of the Year award.
In just two seasons of high school basketball, Carstens has scored more than 1,000 total points for the Bulldogs. But she had to work through recovering from a major knee injury twice before she put herself in position to reach the milestone.
Carstens suffered her first injury prior to her freshman season at Nikiski. As a sophomore, Carstens helped Nikiski establish itself as one of the top 3A girls basketball programs in the state during the 2016-17 season.
The Bulldogs were among the contenders for a state title, but on the second day of the Southcentral Conference tournament, Carstens tore the ACL in her other knee. Anderson said the second injury could have derailed Carstens, but her determination wouldn’t allow it.
“After the second one, I was shocked at how fast she got back,” he said.
Anderson said Carstens’ drive and work ethic allowed her to return from the injury faster than expected.
“It comes back to how much she puts into it,” Anderson said.
She has the skills. She has the athletic ability. But the work ethic sets her apart Anderson said.
Carstens played in 50 games entering the 2018 conference tournament. She averaged 20.3 points per game as a junior in the regular season, identical to her average as a sophomore. She also averaged 5.1 rebounds, four steals and three assists a game. In 50 career games, Carstens has 1,015 points, 390 rebounds, 201 steals and 151 assists.
Several more peninsula basketball players were recognized last week. Nikiski’s Jace Kornstad was named to the Class 3A Boys Third Team, Ninilchik’s Olivia Delgado and Nikolaevsk’s Kristin Klaich were named to the Class 3A Girls Third Team, and Nikolaevsk’s Kalenik Molodih was named to the Class 2A Boys Second Team.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at email@example.com. Follow him on twitter @matsu_sports.
Knight’s Taxidermy/Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches All-State Teams
Player of the Year: Alissa Pili, Dimond
Coach of the Year: Laura Ingham, East Anchorage
First team — Alissa Pili, Dimond; Azlynn Brandenburrg, Wasilla; Olivia Davies, Wasilla; Jahnna Hajdukovich, Dimond; Azaria Robinson, East Anchorage.
Second team — Alex Carlton, Colony; Chasity Horn, Chugiak; Skye Miller, East Anchorage; Angeline Nageak, Dimond; Sierra Tate, West Valley.
Third team — Tyra Do, Lathrop; Daisy Page, East Anchorage; Ellen Silva, West Valley; Brittany Slick, Ketchikan; Amanda Smith, Colony.
Player of the Year: Erik Kelly, Juneau-Douglas.
Coach of the Year: Brad Lauwers, Dimond.
First team — Erik Kelly, Juneau; Reilly Devine, Wasilla; Nicolas Horning, Dimond; Marcus Lee, Ketchikan; Clayton Southwick, Palmer.
Second team — Will Freeman, Colony; Daniel Headdings, Wasilla; Sullivan Menard, Colony; Devon Mong, West Anchorage; Luka Wal, West Anchorage.
Third team — Joey Barranco, East Anchorage; Chris Lee, Ketchikan; Cornelius Mingo Jr, West Valley; Carter Moore, Dimond; Derryk Snell, Chugiak.
Player of the Year: Bethany Carstens, Nikiski.
Coach of the Year: Scott Anderson, Nikiski.
First Team — Bethany Carstens, Nikiski; Tatum Bayne, Sitka; Kuutuuq Danner, Barrow; Bobbi Mott, Valdez; Destiny Reimers, ACS.
Second team — Alanna Conwell, Kotzebue; Pearl Green, Galena; Jordan Todd, ACS; Courtney Williams, Bethel; Milya Wright, Barrow.
Third team — Chaunice Carr, ACS; Katie Crow, Bethel; Abby Forrester, Sitka; Sydney Johnson, Valdez; Mary Kate Parks, ACS.
Player of the Year: Tobin Karlberg, Grace Christian.
Coach of the Year: Todd Wegner, Valdez.
First team — Tobin Karlberg, Grace Christian; Travis Adams, Barrow; Micah Helkenn, Delta; Bennett Hinkle, Valdez; Gavin Jackson, Monroe.
Second team — Jamal Alstrom, Mt. Edgecumbe; Clevon Constantine, Bethel; Devin Davis, Monroe; Izak Lohrke, Monroe; Orlando Lozano, Anchorage Christian.
Third team — Jeremiah Brown, Eielson; Danilo Guzman, Anchorage Christian; Logan Heckathorn, Valdez; Jace Kornstad, Nikiski; Jimmy McGovern, Grace Christian.
Player of the Year: Sharon Hansen, Bristol Bay.
Coach of the Year: Collin Stone, Nenana.
First team — Sharon Hansen, Bristol Bay; Drena Hayward, Metlakatla; Gloria Jacobsen, Glennallen; Jordyn Lane, Point Hope; Melissa Nickoli, Nenana.
Second team — Abby Bourgeois, Cordova; Kaylyn Easterly, Wrangell; Alexis Russell, Metlakatla; Aquinnah Tremblay, Nenana; Kayla Villamor, Unalaska.
Third team — Denali Moorcraft, Bristol Bay; Kendra Kapotak, Dillingham; Hailey Wilson, Unalaska; Jewel Wilson, Unalakleet; Sarah Yates, Craig.
Player of the Year: Trevor Wilson, Unalaska.
Coach of the Year: Jonathan Alsup, Tok.
First team — Trevor Wilson, Unalaska; Aidan Fields, Glennallen; Danny Marsden, Metlakatla; Dennis Mitchell, Tok; Arctic Ivanoff, Unalakleet.
Second team — Aiden Ivanoff, Unalakleet; Andrew Marker, Craig; Cody Morgan, Susitna Valley; Cody Sjostedt, Cordova; Dylan Swinton, Haines.
Third team — Christian Adams, Cordova; Revyn Almquist, Tok; Matt Fasau, Unalaska; Shawn Frank, Tok; Christian Hayward, Metlakatla.
Player of the Year: DeeAnn White, Ninilchik.
Coach of the Year: Herschel Sundown, Scammon Bay.
First team — DeeAnn White, Ninilchik; Jenysa Ahmaogak, Alak (Wainwright); Shauna Koonuk, Aniak; Lindsay Weyanna, Isabell (Teller); Almira Kaganak, Scammon Bay.
Second team — MacKenzie Andrew, Napakiak; Olivia Juhl, Tri Valley; Shea Matthies, Stebbins; Anikan Paniptchuk, Shaktoolik; Nyadeng Puoy, Lumen Christi.
Third team — Hayley Akerelrea, Scammon Bay; Olivia Delgado, Ninilchik; Miranda Demientieff, Akiak; Kristin Klaich, Nikolaevsk; Jada Peterson, St. Mary’s.
Fourth team — Josephine Chakuchin, Toksook Bay; Alison Homekingkeo, Koyuk; Taya Marvin, Klawock; Maya Page, Noatak; Sarah Stenek, Shishmaref.
Player of Year: Lance Folger, Tanana.
Coach of the Year: Raymond Hyslop, Tanana.
First team — Lance Folger, Tanana; Michael Balos, Birchwood; Jeremy Brink, Scammon Bay; Edward Kokeok, Shishmaref; Jared Topkok, Isabell (Teller).
Second team — Michael Alyunerak, Alakanuk; Eric Daniels Jr, Elim; Elijah Kulowiyi, Savoonga; Kalenik Molodih, Nikolaevsk; Robert Sheldon, Noatak.
Third team — Jacob Ahgook, Nunamiut; Braden Dallman, Aniak; Gary Gould, King Cove; Jeremiah Iyatunguk, Shishmaref; Mykell White, Nelson Island.
Fourth team — Andrew Bennett, Lumen Christi; Jackson Charlie, Scammon Bay; Trevor Savetilik, Shaktoolik; Peter Swanberg, Birchwood; Nathan Yockey, Klawock.