On his way to leading his team to the small schools state basketball title and being named the ASAA Athlete of the Year at next month’s Alaska Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game, Petersburg High School senior Stewart Conn has had quite a journey.

 A typical rural Alaskan’s trip to the city involves as much convenience-chasing as can be packed into their leisure time, and  Stewart’s mother, Heather Conn explains their recent Anchorage trek for the state tournament was no exception.

Photo Courtesy Conn Family

“We make a list all year,” she said. From sushi to salons, they make the rounds between long hours at the gym. She even made time for the entrance exam for her own PhD studies at UAF, as well as sightseeing and checking out the new indoor trampoline parks.

Many of Stewart’s teammates have been friends since before they could walk, with the progression of their young careers on the court uniting them through life’s passages. They have endured divorce, death and disease, coming through as a stylistically strong team in every sense of the word. Their physique is that of men: able to command a fishing boat, start a family, split a winter’s worth of firewood. But to see them on the court throughout their 2017 March Madness turn was to witness ebullient boys: faces lit up, fists reflexively pumped when a pass became a point and the net met their favor, basket after basket after basket. It would be the second Viking boys’ championship won since Statehood…

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