The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team trailed the Wasilla Warriors by 10 points with less than four minutes to go in Thursday afternoon's opening-round game in the Alaska Prep Shootout at Dimond High School and it appeared the Crimson Bears were well on their way toward matching Wednesday night's 17-point loss to the Warriors.
But a brief flurry brought Juneau to within two points with more than two minutes left in the contest and the Crimson Bears even had a chance to close within one point. Then Juneau missed a free throw and Wasilla made its shots from the line to claim a 58-52 victory Thursday.
"It was a furious run," Wasilla coach Chuck Martin said of Juneau's rally. "Obviously there's still some fight left in that dog."
The Crimson Bears, who have now lost four straight to fall to 3-4 on the season, trailed 45-35 with 3:48 left on the clock. But Curtis Lane sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers around a 3-pointer from James Severin to help Juneau close the gap. Severin scored a bucket and was fouled with 2:13 left to make it 48-46 Wasilla, but he missed a free throw that could have brought the Crimson Bears to within one.
Down the stretch, Juneau sent Wasilla to the free-throw line and the Warriors started making free throws they were missing earlier in the quarter.
"We can get better," Juneau coach George Houston said. "But from where we were yesterday we were a lot better today. Yesterday we got down and we didn't battle at all. Today we were battling the whole way. For us the big thing will be overcoming the disappointment of losing to Wasilla. But tonight (against Skyview) will be a lot easier to deal with because the kids had an effort out there."
Wasilla (4-2 overall) pounded the ball inside to 6-foot-10 sophomore center Ray Schafer most of the game, and Schafer led the Warriors with 19 points, six rebounds and three assists. Guards P.J. Bean and James Watts added 13 points and 10 points respectively, but one of the key players in the game for Wasilla was guard Scott Faeo who had eight points and five steals.
It was the loss of Faeo, who led Wasilla in scoring Wednesday when the Warriors beat Juneau 63-46, to a technical foul that was also his fifth personal that helped spark Juneau's comeback. Faeo had the ball and was driving for the basket when Juneau's guard combination of Lane and Junior Cumlat tracked him down and stole the ball with about 5 1/2 minutes left in the game and Wasilla leading by 13 points. Faeo made a swipe at the ball and was called for his fourth foul, then was called for a technical when he slapped the scorer's table in frustration as the teams headed the other way. The technical was Faeo's fifth foul, and the resulting disqualification knocked Wasilla's chief ballhandler out of the game.
"Faeo was frustrated, but he didn't do anything that deserved a technical," Martin said. "When that happened we were getting comfortable and in no significant amount of time, suddenly it's a game agin. Juneau deserves some credit because they kept fighting. For us to get out of there with the win is big for my younger guys. I don't think we panicked and I thought we did well to hold on."
Lane scored 18 points to lead Juneau, with four 3-pointers, and Severin added 12 points and five rebounds. Joe Ayers, one of Juneau's guards, led the Crimson Bears in rebounding with seven boards.
Juneau jumped out to a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Wasilla countered with a 12-4 run in the second quarter to make it 18-17 at halftime. Wasilla made it 38-31 at the end of the third quarter, and the Warriors made 12 of their 15 shots (80 percent) from the field in the second half. Houston said much of Wasilla's offense was run through "the big guy" (Schafer), but Wasilla also had several layups on guard penetration moves.
"It's a little more physical up here, and there were some inconsistent calls," Houston said. "We have to get more consistent offensively. We only scored four points in the second quarter and we hit an offensive lull. We didn't spread out and we got too congested."
Juneau will play the Skyview Panthers (2-2) in today's 4:45 p.m. consolation bracket game (broadcast live in Juneau on KINY, 800-AM). Skyview lost to Dimond 78-44 on Thursday. In Thursday's other first-round games, East Anchorage beat Grace Christian School 74-61 and Bartlett knocked off Anchorage Christian Schools 82-54.
Houston said Skyview brings an unorthodox style to the court, such as hook shots from the wing, and the Panthers will run a lot of zone defenses against Juneau. He said Skyview uses a 1-2-1-1 zone in full-court situations, then will drop into a 1-2-2 or 3-2 zone in half-court play.
"Skyview looked pretty good in the first half against Dimond," Houston said. "We haven't seen much zone and Skyview's probably a little bigger than we are. For us, we just need to play hard and get better."
WARRIORS 58, CRIMSON BEARS 52
Thursday's first-round boys boxscore from the Alaska Prep Shootout at Dimond High School
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (52) -- Joe Ayers 1-2 0-0 2, Jon Carlo Malacas 0-1 0-0 0, Ryan Monagle 2-3 0-0 4, Julius "Junior" Cumlat 1-2 0-0 2, Curtis Lane 6-11 2-3 18, Craig Kitka 0-0 0-0 0, Sterling Henderson 0-0 0-0 0, Leon Bus 1-2 0-0 2, Clay Brown 1-5 2-2 4, Bryan Hamey 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Miller 3-6 0-0 6, James Severin 3-14 4-5 12, John Mackie 0-0 0-0 0, Byron Wild 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 19-49 8-10 52.
WASILLA (58) -- P.J. Bean 3-7 7-10 13, Cody Scheirman 0-1 0-0 0, Clayton McCaul 0-0 0-0 0, Patton Pettijohn 0-1 0-0 0, James Watts 3-5 3-6 10, Scott Faeo 3-4 1-1 8, Sam Widmer 0-0 0-0 0, Travis Webb 3-3 0-0 6, Jake Collins 0-1 2-2 2, Mason Heibel 0-0 0-0 0, Ray Schafer 6-11 7-9 19, Adam Tebow 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 18-34 20-28 58.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 14 4 14 20 -- 52
WASILLA 5 12 20 21 -- 58
3-point goals -- Juneau-Douglas 6-14 (Lane 4-8, Severin 2-3, Brown 0-3), Wasilla 2-4 (Faeo 1-1, Watts 1-2, Pettijohn 0-1). Rebounds -- Juneau-Douglas 30 (Ayers 7, Severin 5), Wasilla 23 (Schafer 6, Watts 4). Assists -- Juneau-Douglas 7 (Ayers 2, Cumlat 2, Severin 2), Wasilla 7 (Schafer 3). Fouled out -- Juneau-Douglas 0, Wasilla 1 (Faeo). Technical fouls -- Juneau-Douglas 0, Wasilla 1 (Faeo). Total fouls -- Juneau-Douglas 24, Wasilla 15.