The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boy’s basketball team has bought into the team theme. That age-old adage that team is first, last, and all-powerful.
“We are all starting to get into the team concept this year,” JDHS captain Tony Yadao said. “I think we all realize that none of us has to do it all on our own. Together it is easier to get team shots and good percentage shots. The senior leadership is definitely a big part, all ten of us actually, all play a big part in that, we can all be leaders in that way.”
On Friday night the Ketchikan Kings watched as the Crimson Bears got scoring from 10 different players in a 65-38 JDHS win that wasn’t as close as the lopsided score suggested.
“We came out pretty focused,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “I thought that was the best we moved the ball and looked for each other. We worked to get guys open. We looked in the open court and made the pass when it was appropriate. That was fun for me to watch, I have been waiting to see that come out of our guys. I know it is in there, I see it in practice and in the individual work they do. It is nice for them to have the chance to display it and a nice crowd here tonight to see it.”
Tony Yadao buried the first jumper of the evening at 7:50 of the first period, taking just eight seconds to retrieve the tip, dribble inside the arch and calmly lift into a straight swish.
Austin Shoemaker kept the ball alive on the next possession, getting two rebounds on his own shot, only to have teammate Alec Calloway tip in what would have been a third rebound. Calloway would end the night with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Shoemaker would score a team-high 16 points.
What is incredible is that those two players probably touched the ball the least when on the floor. Effort has become the Crimson Bears priority.
Yadao would bury another jumper, Lance Ibesate a deep three and Gary Speck scored and was fouled to cap off the 14-6 first period lead.
Ketchikan’s Kyle Day got open looks in the second quarter when the Crimson Bears went to a trapping defense. A pair of three’s from deep outside the arch for the Kings sharpshooter and the JDHS defense went back to straight man.
“He is a good shooter and they work hard to get him open,” Casperson said. “He comes off screens. It was a concern in the first half.”
Yet Day’s points didn’t come until after the Crimson Bears had gotten blocks from Gross, a Phillip Fenumiai steal and score, and a tip by Yadao. Calloway tipped in two more shots and Ibesate double pumped and dished a pass to Speck who scored at the buzzer for a 33-16 advantage. The Crimson Bears had closed out the half with a 19-point second period.
“The guys are working hard and they believe in their teammates,” Casperson said. “Somebody else can step in and they are encouraged by their teammates. They get in and work just as hard defensively as the last guy.”
Defensively, the Crimson Bears never let Ketchikan put in a run of more than three points in the second half, winding their lead to 47-27 after three quarters and scoring 18 points in the final stanza.
Ibesate added nine points for JDHS, Yadao eight, Speck seven, Fenumiai five, Ryan Kelly, Jesse Miller, Darien Stanger, and Taylor Swofford two each. Ketchikan’s Day had a game-high 21 points, Travis Taylor added 11, Omar Mendoza five and Brien Auger one. JDHS hit 4-10 at the free throw line, Ketchikan went 3-10.
On Saturday Ketchikan struck first but the Crimson Bears went on an 8-0 run that forced a Kings time out. A Kyle Day reverse layup and free throw gave the Kings momentum and a 15-13 first quarter lead in a back-forth-court race.
JDHS went on another 8-0 spurt in the opening minute of the second period and Yadao applied defensive pressure on Days explosive offense to carry the Crimson Bears into the break up 30-21. JDHS couldn’t put the Kings away in the second half. Up by 20 points in the third period the Kings battled back to 46-33 starting the final stanza. Day then hit a three and three free throws to close the Kings within seven points, 48-41 in the fourth, but Yadao and Ibesate spread the floor. The duo scored 10 points in the stanza and dished passes inside to Speck and Calloway to seal the game 60-43.
Yadao scored a game-high 24 points, Ibesate added 14, Shoemaker eight, Fenumiai, Calloway, and Speck four each, and Gross two.
Ketchikan’s Day had 21 points, Taylor added eight, Dulay five, Lervick four, Seludo three, and Auger two. JDHS hit 22-29 from the line, the Kings went 10-17.
“I was really proud of the way we responded,” Casperson said. “Ketchikan is a tough team and battled back to cut our lead in half, and our guys responded. We break our huddles with “together,” and it seems that is starting to mean more to them now. They are encouraging each other more and we our working to get ‘our’ shots not trying to get ‘me’ a shot.”
The Crimson Bears face Mt. Edgecumbe on Thursday. The Braves beat JDHS in the Region V tournament last season.