Dimond High School junior Muhamad Cole took a rebound pass at half court from teammate Isaiah Pili and dribbled in for a layup with 7.9 seconds remaining as the Lynx defeated the Crimson Bears 54-51 in the boys’ championship game of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Monday night.
JDHS junior Adam Empson scored a game-high 17 points.
“He was voted as a captain by his teammates and he is willing to shoulder the role of leadership,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Adam stepped up and kept us in the game. He asserted himself offensively.”
A turnover by the Crimson Bears resulted in Cole going to the free throw line and hitting one of two shots for the three-point advantage. JDHS did not get another look at the basket.
Empson hit two free throws to tie the score at 51 with 2:24 remaining and Dimond spread the floor.
JDHS junior Bruce Jones blocked a shot with 57.5 seconds remaining and drew an offensive foul on Cole 20 seconds later but the Crimson Bears failed to score and the rebound was tipped out to Cole.
The Crimson Bears had 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
“We are playing a lot of guys and we are pretty young and inexperienced,” Casperson said. “There are going to be some growing pains. We are playing a style that lends itself to having turnovers now and then, that is something I have to accept.”
Dimond shot 9-26 in the first half and had 11 turnovers while JDHS gave up the ball 14 times, hit 9-25 from the field and led at the half 26-25.
JDHS scored the first bucket of the third quarter with two minutes gone as the Dimond press forced four turnovers on the Crimson Bears.
Jones recorded his third block of the game with four minutes remaining in the period and the score tied at 29.
The lead would change five times until the Lynx held a 43-41 advantage with eight minutes to play.
JDHS senior Kevin Guimmayen hit a 3-pointer to give the Crimson Bears the 44-43 advantage at 7:04 of the fourth quarter but Cole hit a free throw to tie the score on Jones’ third foul and Josh Fosse scored to put Dimond up three.
Empson pulled JDHS within a point on a driving bucket and Cole answered for the Lynx from the charity stripe.
Dimond’s Carlos Diaz scored inside to give the Lynx a four-point advantage at 51-47 and Empson rebounded his own miss, tipping the ball to senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos for a bucket. Empson then hit two free throws to tie the score at 51.
Stewart Conn added seven points for the Crimson Bears, Guimmayen and Kale Tompkins six apiece, Bruce Jones four, Gunnar Schultz, Hodge-Campos and Rahul Chhabria three each and Bryce Swofford two.
Cole led the Lynx with 14 points, Fosi added 10, Austin Osborne eight, Zach Deloney seven, Carlos Diaz and Mason Merchant four apiece, Pili three and Rafa Zavala and John Paul Moran two each.
JDHS went 8-18 at the charity stripe; Dimond hit 11-20.
“Dimond started attacking us and we did not respond very well to the pressure,” Casperson said. “We learned that we have to understand how to operate under pressure. It is still early. I am proud of how we work together. They don’t bicker, everyone is playing and they are all buying in to it. The guys were really disappointed and they wanted to win it.”