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State agencies and the University of Alaska spent $343 million outside of Alaska for goods and services for government operations in 2015.

Ketchikan folks like to get out and about. It's evident, especially when it comes to brighter skies this time of year. We fill up the campgrounds, the beaches, the trails, and the roads and highways to get there.

Anne Marie Carleton, 73, died April 25, 2016, in Arizona.
Ginny Gisse, 69, died April 5, 2016, at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Our news is island-centric, but often the island of our focus is Revillagigedo, on which Ketchikan sits.

Thursday, though, Prince of Wales and Annette islands held us in their thrall, as we saw hard work, perseverance, joy of a game and sheer grit pay off.

Four state championship games: Four Southeast teams in them. Come time to cut down the nets, half of the state champions were from southern Southeast Alaska as the Craig Lady Panthers — all six of them — took the girls 2A crown and the Klawock Chieftains earned the boys 1A title.

Not far below on the lustrous list were the Metlakatla Chiefs, who at the end of the day landed a second-place finish at state; and the Klawock Lady Chieftains, who took fourth. We know not winning the championship can be bitterly disappointing at the instant of loss, but getting to state at all is a grand accomplishment. Looking back, being among the top high school basketball teams in all of Alaska will be remembered as a fine outcome.

But, boy, there is nothing quite like winning, and nothing wrong with savoring being the very best.

For Craig, Wednesday night’s win marks the first state championship in the school’s history. What a thrill for the community and indeed, the whole island. Over in Klawock, the boys’ title is the first in many people’s lifetimes — it’s been almost three decades.

When Ketchikan kids visit Prince of Wales Island for sporting events, they are treated like royalty. The whole island turns out to watch, welcomes our kids into their homes, feeds them, and encourages them. We are confident that the return of their own as champions is exponentially better (if that’s even possible). As one of Klawock’s boys said the night of their victory, the town has “had our backs forever.”

How true, and how lovely. And now, how satisfying for those kids to be able to bring the gold back to Klawock, and to Craig for the first time ever.

Silver in Met is pretty sweet, too.