With just 10 seconds left in his high school home court career, Juneau-Douglas senior Jesse Miller got the chance he had been waiting for since basketball was one of his seasonal sports.
With the Crimson Bears ahead of cross-town rival Thunder Mountain 50-35, and a packed crowd looking on, Miller broke down court on a Falcons missed shot that teammate Ryan Kelly corralled. The Falcons defenders ran at Kelly who unleashed an unlikely pass through their towering arms.
The ball floated softly into Millers hands and became a rapid dribble, a timed two-footed leap, and a soft drop down over the rim.
“I have been working on it for a long time,” Miller said. “I just thought this is senior night, my final and last chance to get a dunk on my home floor. It was kind of a bet between me and my dad to see if I could get one. Finally I got it. It definitely wasn’t something I dreamed about as a freshman, but coming into my junior year I started to think I needed to work on getting up in the air. Now, well, it is just crazy.”
Miller’s “dunk” was just one piece of a weekend of lasting memories for the four varsity teams.
Friday’s first game pitted the Crimson Bears girls hosting the Falcons girls and Thunder Mountain’s Jonelle Staveland went crazy from the field, scoring 12 of the Falcons 14 first-half points to keep them in a 23-14 barnburner.
JDHS’ Esra Siddeek matched her shot for shot and tallied 12 of her game-high 19 points in the first half as well.
For the first time all season the two teams battled evenly every quarter, with the Crimson Bears going up 32-22 after three periods.
With seniors Nicole George and Sierra Tagaban for JDHS and Shale Kibby and Kinsey Marshall for TMHS on the floor the fourth quarter became an epic scoring fest.
George’s rebounding allowed Brakes to notch seven of her 10 game points in the period and Tagaban’s defense slowed the hot-shooting Staveland to some degree. For the Falcons, Kibby and Marshall made it a point to set hard picks that Staveland used to notch another seven points and allowed Ashley Young to concentrate on crashing the boards and scoring all nine of her points in the quarter.
JDHS scored 23 points in the fourth period and TMHS 21.
Siddeek led Juneau with 19 points, Gabi Fenumiai 13, Marissa Brakes 10, TJae Garcia six, Kayla Balovich, Amberli Fitka and George two each, and Tagaban one. Fenumiai grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, Kaitlin Fagerstrom and George six apiece, Balovich and Brakes four each, Tagaban three, and Kymberlee Kelly two. Brakes gave out nine assists.
Staveland led the Falcons with 19 points, Young added nine, Kibby seven, Eyerus Tingley four, Shayla Reeves two, and Micheala Demmert and Emily Winters one apiece. Staveland and Young pulled down six rebound apiece, Kibby and Tingley three each. JDHS hit16-35 from the charity stripe, TMHS went 14-22.
If the girls game was a barn burner than the boys followed on Friday night with a barn raiser as the visiting Falcons got behind the deep shooting of Keith Ainsworth, Matt Seymour and Ty Grussendorf to open a 16-10 first period lead. The JDHS seniors scored the point total in the first half for the Crimson Bears. Taylor Swofford ripped a board and put in a sky hook off the backboard, Austin Shoemaker drilled a deep three, Alec Calloway followed in a shot, Miller was his pesky put back self, Lance Ibesate and Tony Yadao played their flawless drive and take the foul game and Evan Gross battled inside.
The upset minded Falcons relied on Seymour from the field and senior Camden Thomas and junior Travis Johnson on the boards inside to keep the game notched at the half 22-22.
JDHS senior Ryan Kelly and junior Phillip Fenumiai gave the Crimson Bears a spark in the third period and took a 35-27 advantage into the fourth period. JDHS outscored the Falcons 12-8 starting the final stanza and after a TMHS timeout the Crimson Bears scored the games final five points.
Yadao and Fenumiai led the JDHS with 10 points apiece, Ibesate added eight, Shoemaker seven, Kelly and Miller four apiece, Gross three, and Darien Stanger, Calloway and Swofford two each.
Seymour led the Falcons with a game-high 11 points, Ainsworth eight, Sam Jahn and Vili Tupou five apiece, and Grussendorf and Josh Tupou three apiece.
JDHS hit 11-14 at the charity stripe, TMHS went 4-14.
The Falcons nearly got revenge on their own senior recognition Saturday at the Thunderdome.
Trailing 22-15 at the half the Falcons stormed back to drop a tightly contested 50-44 game to the Crimson Bears.
Final stats were not available by press time.
The Falcons’ girls fell on their senior night 66-30.
Trailing 10-9 starting the second period Kibby hit a shot to give the Falcons their first lead of the game and Tingley followed with a three pointer. The Crimson Bears regained the lead on baskets by Fenumiai, Kelly and Siddeek and never relinquished the lead again, taking a 34-23 advantage at the half.
“This was the best game we played all season,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “Everybody contributed in many ways. One of our goals was to make Jonelle (Staveland) work to get her shots, which we did very well. She is a good shooter. Kymberlee (Kelly) really stepped up tonight and played like a veteran.”
The Crimson Bears went on a 19-2 run to open the third period and the Falcons watched defensive standouts Reeves and Young foul out in the fourth quarter.
Siddeek led all scorers with 18 points, Fenumiai added 14 for JDHS, Kelly eight, Balovich seven, Gross five, Tagaban and Brakes four, Fogg, Roldan, and Fitka two each.
Staveland led the Falcons with 13 points, Kibby added six, Reeves four, Morris, Tingley and Young two each, and Demmert one.
JDHS hit 9-23 at the charity stripe, TMHS went 1-6.