It wasn’t the barnburner Friday’s game produced, but Saturday’s clash was another battle for prime position in Southeast’s fiercest 4A rivalry.
The Kings never pulled closer than seven points over the final frame as Juneau-Douglas was able to hold off rival Ketchikan 56-46 on senior night at JDHS.
Trailing 33-30 late in the third, the Juneau-Douglas broke out of its offensive doldrums and closed the quarter on a 12-0 run that swung the momentum back in the Bears’ favor for good, and a sophomore came up big on senior night.
Swingman Phillip Fenumiai came off the bench late in the third and immediately impacted the game offensively, connecting on two 3-pointers in the final minutes of the quarter. Six of his 10 points came during the 12-0 run, but he also scored the first two buckets of the fourth to keep the Kings at bay.
“Emotions were running high and some of the guys got a little tired,” JDHS coach Steve Potter said. “Phillip was fresh and is aggressive on offense. We had gotten a little tentative — Phillip is not tentative.”
Fenumiai made the most out of limited minutes on the court. He scored 10 points, good enough for second on the team behind junior point guard Lance Ibesate’s 11.
Already without one of the team’s top players, senior Charles Allen, Ketchikan needed someone else to step up. Fortunately for coach Eric Stockhausen’s group, the Kings are well-rounded offensively.
“That was a big run by them at the end of the third – they did a great job,” Stockhausen said. “We played as hard as we could and when we get (Allen) back, I’m hoping we’ll be a little better than we were this weekend.”
Seniors Jesse Lindgren and Alex Williams scored 27 and 14 points, respectively, as the two combined for 41 of the team’s 46 points. Lindgren’s 15-point second quarter single-handedly brought the Kings back into a game appeared over early.
“I think we were feeling pretty good, and then we just didn’t come back in with the same intensity,” Potter said. “I thought we came out better in the second half, but we gave them a confidence that we didn’t want them to have.”
The Kings erupted for 21 points in the second quarter after posting only four in the first. The Crimson Bears looked like they had the game under control, but one night after Kyle Day’s 38-point performance, Lindgren took advantage of the extra attention JDHS paid defensively to his teammate.
Juneau-Douglas’ big men were forced to guard the smaller, quicker Lindgren in the post and the senior forward exploited the lack of speed in the Bears’ interior by taking his man off the dribble repeatedly.
But the Crimson Bears were finally able to establish the kind of defense Potter preaches.
“It feels good to get a couple of wins. Winning on senior night is something I’ve always looked forward to,” Bears senior guard Travis Godfrey said. “I think we’re playing better, but I think we’re progressing each game. We’re really getting the ball inside to our bigs, and against the smaller teams that’s what we have to do.
“They’re a big competitor for this conference, so playing them now and getting those wins gives us confidence.”
Though it is a rivalry, each team has mutual respect for the other.
“As a program, they all play hard. They do good things and we can’t try to put our backs to them and get anything done,” Stockhausen said, referring to the Bears’ interior size. “Our best chance is to keep it moving and hope for a breakdown (defensively). Neither team shot the way it did (Friday), but coach Potter always makes adjustments. We’ll make adjustments and we’ll see what happens later in the season.”
The Crimson Bears (14-4, 5-0) face Thunder Mountain at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at JDHS before hitting the road for their final conference games Feb. 25-26 at Ketchikan.
Bears win classic SE Conference clash
Nine ties, eight lead changes, a frenetic second-half pace with a flurry of consecutive baskets, 146 combined points and a would-be game winner at the buzzer — that’s what rivalry games are all about.
And that’s exactly what the raucous crowd at Juneau-Douglas High School got to see Friday night as the Crimson Bears held on to edge visiting Ketchikan 74-72 in a Southeast Conference classic.
“Well, I guess I would say it was an exciting game,” JDHS coach Steve Potter said. “I wasn’t particularly pleased with how we defended. I certainly don’t mind an up-and-down pace because I think that gives our guards an opportunity to shine.
“We got to see some of Lance (Ibesate) and Tony (Yadao’s) better play, but our defense is what we’ve been hanging our hat on all year and it was not acceptable.”
Ketchikan’s Kyle Day led the Kings’ charge with a 38-point, seven 3-pointer barrage, but it wasn’t enough as the Bears were able to hold on down the stretch. Senior Colin Gozelski found De’Andre “Jazz” King underneath for what proved to be the game winner with just 5.6 seconds remaining. The Bears called timeout with 22 seconds left in a 72-72 ball game to set up the play.
“Obviously, we wanted to go inside,” Potter said. “The first look wasn’t there because they took it away. Colin penetrated the gap and they helped up a little bit. I’m sure that’s not what they were supposed to do, and Colin was able to find Jazz underneath. He got the ball up on the glass and finished.
“We always knew one of our strengths would be inside and this was a good example of it,” he continued. “In and up-and-down game, that was a big plus for us. When we needed a bucket, we could get one.”
Ketchikan still had a shot to win at the buzzer even after Jesse Lindgren lost the ball underneath the basket under heavy pressure from Yadao, but Ibesate contested a deep Day 3-pointer at the final horn.
“We haven’t watched it on tape yet but it really looked like Lance, for once in his life, was on top of the ball,” Potter said of his 5-foot-5 point guard. “He’s challenged guys late in games and we’ve been like, ‘What are you doing? The only way we can lose is if you foul that guy.’ I thought Lance got his hand on the ball and it was OK. I think it was a long .5 seconds, but I didn’t believe there was a foul on that play.”
The was game tied at 31-31 with five-plus minutes to go in the third quarter, and that’s when the fireworks began.
Day stuck a triple, but King got a bucket inside with a chance for a free throw, which he missed, and Calloway put the rebound back in for an and-1 and a 36-34 JDHS lead.
Two Lindgren free throws the other way tied things up again at 36-all. Ibesate and Day traded long pull-up jumpers, and then Ibesate went to the cup for a bucket. Baldwin got a tip-in inside and Lindgren answered with a layup.
Ibesate went to the basket again for a deuce and a steal by Hurtte led to a couple of free throws. Calloway reversed the ball for a spot-up 3-pointer for Hurtte, and Ibesate again went to the cup for a lay-in and a 51-43 JDHS lead, but Alex Williams buried a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a 51-46 game heading into the fourth quarter.
Yadao scored first to start the final stretch, and Lindgren answered the other way to begin a string of eight straight made baskets by the Kings. An Ibesate 3-pointer pushed the JDHS lead back to 8, 56-48, but a Day triple and a baseline drive and score by Lindgren cut the lead back to 5, 56-51.
Yadao rattled in a runner to start a string of six consecutive made baskets for JDHS as the teams traded scores. A Keagan Lervick putback made it a 69-64 game, and Lindgren cut the Bears’ lead to 3, 69-66, with a bucket inside.
“If they’re making eight shots in a row against us, then they’re getting way too comfortable,” Potter said. “Nobody should feel that comfortable against us. We talked about how we wanted to defend their shooters but we didn’t do it. By the time we did do it, they were comfortable enough that it didn’t really matter. They found the basket and it was really big for them. But I liked the part where we made six in a row.”
Ibesate found Calloway inside for a bucket, but Day answered again with yet a 3-pointer from the wing with 1:30 to play to make it a one-point, 71-70 game.
“He wasn’t supposed to get that look,” Potter admitted. “That wasn’t part of the plan. But we’ve been in a lot of close games this year, and this was the first really high-scoring, close game. Down one or down two or up one or two with a little bit of time left on the clock, we’re OK. We’ve been in that situation enough times that I think sometimes our guys are more relaxed than early in the game when it isn’t clear cut what we should be doing.”
The Kings tied things up for the final time at 72-72 when Evan Gross fouled Day inside after a drive and score, but Day missed the free throw and King got the game winner the other way.
Yadao, who came off the bench with Ibesate as the seniors got the start for senior weekend, led JDHS with 19 points. Ibesate and King each scored 15 points, and Hurtte added 12.
Lindgren added 19 points to Day’s 38.