The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team ran into one of Anchorage’s tougher ball clubs over the weekend in a season-opener that will not soon be forgotten.
The West High School Eagles used a powerful inside game and a full court press to dominate the Crimson Bears on Friday 66-29, and had to fight a tougher Crimson Bears squad in their 60-43 win on Saturday.
“The kids won’t forget that game,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said of Friday’s game. “They have to use it, tuck it away in their memory banks and pull from it when they need to. They need to realize how far they came in one game even.”
Keith Ainsworth led JDHS with 12 points on Friday, but two quick fouls in the first quarter limited his action with 6:01 left in that stanza and the Bears trailing 14-2.
West was up 17-8 starting the second quarter and tacked on another 14 points before the break, compared to six for JDHS. Ainsworth got his third foul with three minutes remaining in the half.
JDHS never got into an offensive flow and fell behind 44-23 starting the final quarter.
Aquino Brinson and Jeffrey Pusich scored four each in the game, Bruce Jones three, Kevin Guimmayen, Adam Empson and Nathan Klein two apiece.
JDHS hit 9-13 at the charity stripe, West was 7-12. Theo Oghide led the Eagles with 12 points, Joe Riley and Deandre Wilson 10 each, David Harrison eight, Ivan King seven, Da’zhon Wyche six, Jhayde Zamora five, Christian NiDoy four, Curtis Sicks and Riley McGee two each.
On Saturday West again got the first quarter advantage, taking an 18-8 lead into the second stanza but the Crimson Bears forced the action.
“We certainly did things better tonight,” Casperson said. “We executed a lot better. “
The Crimson Bears did not let the Eagles get the open looks they had the night before, closing out on the perimeter and pushing West out of the key.
JDHS played even with West through the second and third quarters, losing both by just one point. Empson scored seven of his eight game points in the period to pull JDHS to 47-35 starting the final quarter.
A quick three by Ainsworth cut the deficit to nine at 47-38 with 6:57 remaining. West pushed the margin again until Speck brought the Crimson Bears back to nine again.
West would pull the ball out to force action and drive to the basket, going to the free throw line 16 times in the final period and 29 for the game, making 15. JDHS went to the charity stripe just 13 times and hit nine.
Ainsworth led JDHS with 13 points, Speck and Empson eight apiece, Brinson seven, Pusich five, and Jones two.
Joe Riley led West with 16 points, McGee 11, Oghide nine, Wilson eight, Nidoy six, Wyche five, King and Harrison two each and Sicks one.
“There are definitely some positives,” Casperson said. “With a group like this needing experience, to see them go from a 37-point loss on Friday, and use an hour shoot-around on Saturday to make some adjustments and see them implement them in a game. That is encouraging. We are a work in progress and we are going to keep getting better. They have to understand that where we are now is not where we are going to be.”