Last week marked the 17th Annual Dean Cummings Memorial Basketball Tour-nament, a yearly event when the city and especially Delta Junction High School are the focus of all things basketball – at least locally.

The tournament has been fondly named after “Grandpa” Dean Cummings, Sr who was a resident of Alaska for 58 years and live for 48 of those years right here in Delta Junction. Many have referred to him as Delta High Schools Number One Fan, as he spent more than 30 years volunteering and attending many DHS activities and events.

Each year seven teams are invited to attend the tournament. This year, teams from Hutchison, North Pole, Nenana, Susitna Valley, Galena, Glennallen, and Bethel all joined the Delta Huskies in a basketball play that spanned three days. The tournament has brackets for both boys and girls to compete.

The competition commenced on Thursday, and at the end of the first day, the teams that were in contention to be crowned the champion were whittled down to four schools. The Delta boys survived that first day, beating Glennallen 46-37. The Delta girls were not as fortunate, as they lost 43-30.

The second day of competition had the Huskies facing off against the Bethel Warriors. The Warriors played a very aggressive game and won 76-57.

The third day of competition had Delta facing Hutchison, both playing for a third-place finish. Although Hutchison played a competitive game, Delta came away with the win 52-20.

Possibly the best game of the entire tournament was the boys championship game, in which the North Pole Patriots faced the Bethel Warriors. This final game of the tournament was worthy of level of play and competitiveness. 

Both teams came out ready to be champions, yet knowing that there can only be one winner. The game was neck and neck and was tied at the half.

After the half, both teams seemed renewed and continued their intense battle, with North Pole holding a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter.

In the final period of play, the match-up between the teams was intense with the score flipping back and forth. With only 12 seconds left in the final quarter, Bethel pulled ahead of North Pole by only one point and was able to squeeze out the win with a final score 43-42.

According to Delta High School Athletics Director Leah Stoner, many teams inquire about being able to join the annual Dean Cummings Tournament, but vacancies are usually very few. The six teams that have already committed to joining the tournament next year are Valdez, North Pole, Eielson, Seward, Nenana, and Glennallen.

Tim Holoday manages advertising for TriDelta, Inc. publisher of the Seward Journal and Delta Wind newspapers and covers general news topics. He can be reached at