Tyler Henderson, a senior on the 2018 Metlakatla Chiefs High School basketball team, won the game by winning a 3-point shot with less than a minute left in the 2A State Championships.
The crowd and his teammates erupted in joy. The disjointed South East team edged out Unalaska for decades of victory in the making.
This snap – and this season, as the team mourned the deaths of two community members – is commemorated in the award-winning documentary “Alaskan Nets” which will begin screening in schools across the United States and Canada next month. before a wider distribution in the spring.
But now it is the Henderson family whose community mourns.
Tyler Henderson was seriously injured Sunday morning after his younger brother Isaac shot him in the head at their mother’s home in Metlakatla, according to court documents filed in Ketchikan.
Tyler Henderson died of his injuries, according to a spokesperson for Alaska Native Medical Center, where he was transferred from PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
Isaac, who turned 18 this year, faces murder charges.
News of Henderson’s shooting and death sparked a wave of prayers and family support in the community and on social media. Friends and classmates of Tyler Henderson, Class of 2018, held a 50/50 raffle for the Henderson family this week and sold over 5,000 tickets in three days. The person whose ticket was drawn Thursday night at the bingo hall has donated half of their winnings to the family.
The Indian community of Metlakatla, located on Annette Island about 20 miles south of Ketchikan, is the only Federal Reserve in Alaska. About 1600 people live there.
Community members were still in shock on Friday. Metlakatla High School basketball coach Tony Scott did not respond to a request for comment. Family members could not be reached.
Ketchikan High School basketball coach Eric Stockhausen traveled to Metlakatla early Monday morning to support coach Scott and team members, some of whom he knows personally.
Stockhausen said on Friday he was reluctant to say too much out of respect for the Henderson family, but wanted to praise the school’s response to the tragedy.
“There are no words for it,” he said.
Stockhausen learned of the shooting from Scott on Sunday. They talked for three hours back and forth.
On Monday morning, Ketchikan’s coach and teacher traveled to Metlakatla in the 7am darkness in an open single scull flown in 20-degree temperatures by his assistant coach, who is from Metlakatla and is related to the Hendersons. On Tuesday, his flight was canceled by the weather. His assistant coach returned in blizzard conditions to pick him up.
Stockhausen spent Monday at school, then skipped his own team’s basketball practice so he could attend Metlakatla’s.
The basketball team trained on Monday.
The team was “pragmatic,” Stockhausen said. “That’s why it’s such a powerful thing. These 2A teams, they’re on ferries, gone for six days. They are all the other has.
Coach Scott “did a great job” that day giving his team some normalcy, but also love and encouragement, said the Ketchikan coach. “The last thing I told their team was this is the first practice I’ve missed in 17 years. And I just said you are worth it.
He repeated it two more times as the boys sat in a circle around their coach.
Members of the “Alaskan Nets” production team spent months in Metlakatla following the chefs and interacting with members of the community. Both Henderson brothers played for the team that year, Isaac as a freshman and Tyler as a starter.
Their grandmother “adopted our team,” filmmaker Jeff Harasimowicz said on Friday over the phone from his home in Bend, Oregon.
The film follows cousins Danny Marsden and DJ King, “fishermen and stars of the high school basketball team,” as the promotional materials describe, “as they lead their team and their city to their first state championship in over 30 years – the only thing that will bring life to an island that has suffered unimaginable tragedy.
Two beloved residents died during filming, Harasimowicz said on Friday: one man was a father figure to one of the crew, and the other was a cousin to a number of the team and was a former player himself. Both died in commercial diving accidents.
“I think if spending time in Metlakatla has taught me anything, it’s that life is fragile,” he said. “There is a fragility of life there that you don’t see in the places in Lower 48.”
The Henderson brothers were “both good kids,” he said. “We have had nothing but excellent experiences with both.”
Isaac Henderson, who turned 18 this year, was indicted Thursday by a grand jury with first degree murder, second degree murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, according to the indictment. He was also charged with third degree assault on suspicion of causing a witness to fear serious and imminent injury.
Witnesses told Metlakatla Police that Isaac shot Tyler with a .40 caliber Steyr semi-automatic pistol during an argument in their mother’s trailer, according to a probable cause statement filed with the original complaint . Tyler Henderson was transported to Ketchikan by boat. He was alive when the charges were first laid on Sunday morning.
Isaac Henderson was arrested by telephone in Ketchikan on Friday morning, according to prosecutor Alex Kramarczuk. Her grandmother was online at the hearing. Henderson on Friday remained jailed at the Ketchikan Correctional Center on $ 100,000 bond.
The tragedy of the community comes just as the documentary with Metlakatla at its center takes off.
“Alaskan Nets” won an audience award at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in April. Now actor Chris Pratt – he joined the film as executive producer – is teaming up with Alaska Airlines on a North American promotional tour of the documentary to provide free screenings for all schools in the United States and in Canada from January to March before the film’s release. As of Friday, around 450 schools had registered.
[Filmmakers take a gamble on Metlakatla basketball, and it pays off with an award-winning documentary]
Harasimowicz said Tyler Henderson’s loss is now heartbreaking.
That 3 points at the end of the 2018 State Championship game was the culmination of a season of internal conviction and growth for Henderson, the manager said – proof of the quiet but central role he played in the ‘team.
Marsden and King may have been introduced as the stars of the film. But Henderson won in the clutch.
“It wasn’t Danny, it wasn’t DJ, it wasn’t the usual heroes who bailed them out so many times in the season,” said Harasimowicz. “It was Tyler. It was Tyler who probably had the biggest shot in Metlakatla basketball history. And that really does mean something.