Crimson Bears' boys fall in final games of Prep Classic

JDHS loses to Chugiak 53-49, Palmer 51-28

The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boy’s basketball team lost in the semifinals of the Dimond Prep Classic in Anchorage on Friday to the Chugiak Mustangs 53-49 and then in the third-place game on Saturday against the Palmer Moose 51-28.


“We got good shots but didn’t make any,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said of Saturday’s consolation loss to Palmer. “And we shot less than 30 percent from the floor.”

The Crimson Bears could not buy a basket, according to Casperson, and missed short hook shots, wide open three’s and layins against the athletic Palmer team.

“You are not going to beat too many teams at the varsity level shooting that percentage and scoring that low,” Casperson said. “Let alone the good teams like Palmer.”

The game was actually tied at six-all after one quarter of play, but the Crimson Bears couldn’t score in double figures in any of the final three periods while Palmer rode the shooting touch of all-state player Connor Looney.

Looney scored nine of his game-high 25 points in the second quarter as the Moose opened a 21-12 halftime advantage, and 12 more in the third period as they put up 20 points to seven for the Crimson Bears.

Senior Keith Ainsworth led JDHS with eight points, seniors Aquino Brinson and Jeffrey Pusich added six each, senior Gary Speck four, sophomores Adam Empson and Bruce Jones one apiece. Empson led with four rebounds and two assists.

JDHS hit 6-12 at the charity stripe, Palmer went 8-11. The Crimson Bears had 17 turnovers to 12 for the Moose.

Brian Selmer added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Moose, Hayden Niekamp five points, Nathan Mayer and James Nisbett two apiece.

Other Saturday scores included Grace beating Ketchikan 72-57 (Kable Lervick led the Kings with 26 points), Dimond over Soldotna 55-43, and Bartlett taking the championship game 61-59 over Chugiak.

Brinson was selected to the all-tournament team and Pusich received player of the game honors.

“He played hard,” Casperson said of Brinson. “He played consistent throughout all three games.

I hope it is a turning point for him.”

On Friday, the Chugiak Mustangs led 17-10 starting the second quarter against JDHS and opened up the largest lead of the game until the Crimson Bears hit a bucket to close to 31-19 at the half. The Crimson Bears outscored the Mustangs 12-9 in the third period and 30-22 in the second half, including a 12-2 run in the final period, but Chugiak held on for the four-point win, 53-49.

Ainsworth led the Crimson Bears with 12 points, Speck added 11, Empson eight, Brinson seven, Pusich six, Nathan Klein four, and Jones one.

JDHS hit 13-22 at the charity stripe, Chugiak went 15-23.

Skyler Fullmer scored 26 points to lead the Mustangs, Jake Brownlee added nine, Payton Fullmer and Roger Jorgensen eight apiece, and Alex Hess two.

The Mustangs outrebounded the Crimson Bears 41-29 (Brownlee 10 CHS, Fullmer eight CHS, Ainsworth eight JD, Speck six JD). JDHS had 11 turnovers, Chugiak 15.

Ainsworth was selected player of the game.

In other Friday action Ketchikan fell to Dimond 60-44, Bartlett topped Palmer 74-51, Soldotna over Grace 51-28.

JDHS will play at Ketchikan on Friday and Saturday.


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