Shishmaref’s Ed Kokeok was named 1A boys’ player of the year by the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches (AABC) last Wednesday. He was one of 11 total athletes from Western Alaska who were awarded all-state honors this season.

The Northern Lights’ star athlete ended his truncated senior season on a high note, following his team’s second place finish in the Bering Strait School District Tournament when they beat Brevig Mission, 69 to 57 in the runner-up game.

“Ed’s got really great leadership. He works really hard in practice. When the game’s down to the wire Ed channels this energy from within and has this will to win.”

– Tyler Ivanoff

Shishmaref’s boys basketball coach, Tyler Ivanoff, goes on to say that Kokeok has always had a natural feel for the game and quickly took to the leadership role that he was put into.

“Ed’s a really good leader and role model for all these kids in Shishmaref. A lot of the kids in the school look up to him and a lot of his peers on the team just want to work harder because Ed shows that leadership on and off the basketball court.”

– Tyler Ivanoff

While Coach Ivanoff is confident he is good enough to walk on, Kokeok is not currently considering playing at the college level. During the 2020 season, he was averaging 29 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists per game. Instead, Kokeok’s plan is to head to the University of Alaska Fairbanks and study Information Technology.

“I don’t know, I just didn’t really see basketball as a hobby after high school.”

Ed Kokeok

While he hasn’t entirely ruled out athletics at the college level, Kokeok is just looking to focus on academics as he is currently set to graduate high school with a 3.92 GPA.

Kokeok is in good company, with 1 other Shishmaref player named to the first team all-state, Sonja Ningulook.

9 other Western Alaska athletes took home all-state honors, including Nome Nanook Lisa Okboak, Mike Haugen from Unalakleet, and Benjamin Homekingkeo of Koyuk.

The full list of Western Alaskan athletes named to the all-state teams is as follows:
3A Boys: Jamin Crow of Bethel -3rd Team

3A Girls: Laveah Makisi of Kotzebue and Lisa Okboak of Nome – both 3rd Team

2A Boys: Mike Haugen of Unalakleet – 3rd Team

2A Girls: Jewel Wilson of Unalakleet – 1st Team; Mary Long of Hooper Bay – 2nd Team; Kallyn Haugen of Unalakleet – 3rd Team

1A Boys: Edward Kokeok of Shishmaref – Player of the Year and 1st Team; Benjamin Homekingkeo of Koyuk – 3rd Team

1A Girls: Sonja Ningulook of Shishmaref – 1st Team;
Allyson Takak of Shaktoolik – 3rd Team

22 Western Alaskan players were also recipients of the Alaska School Activities Association’s (ASAA) Good Sport Awards for the 1A/2A and 3A/4A divisions.

With the state March Madness tournament cancelled, Kokeok and the other recognized seniors get to close out their high school basketball tenures with a personal win.

Image at top: The Unalakleet boys basketball team in the huddle during a Bering Strait School District matchup. Photo from Lisa Haugen of Unalakleet, used with permission (2020).