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ANCHORAGE- The Juneau-Douglas High School boys cut an 18-point deficit to 4 with six minutes remaining, but fell 68-58 to Notre Dame Academy (Va.) on Thursday in the first round of the Alaska Airlines Tournament at West High School.
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Bears senior Will Egolf led all scorers with 28 points, after tallying zero in the first quarter. Notre Dame used its size and athleticism - aggressive guard play and a front three standing 6-8, 6-6, 6-6 - to rush out to a 23-5 edge at the end of the first period.
"They just jumped all over us," JDHS coach Steve Potter said. "I think we were a little bit intimidated. Once we got past the initial shock of how athletic and how quick their bigs were, we did fine. But we dug ourselves too big of a hole to get out of."
"We turned the ball over a little bit, and they had a little bit of a full-court press that we had trouble adjusting to," he said. "Their guards were physical with us, and we didn't make hard cuts initially. We came out soft, and they took the ball from us."
Juneau cut the lead to 4 with six minutes remaining, but Notre Dame hit its free throws when fouled.
"We had some good defensive stops, but we gave up too many offensive rebounds," Potter said. "It just wore us out. We couldn't get over the hump.
"Once we got the ball to Will, we were doing fine," he said. "Throw the first quarter out, and we'd be feeling pretty good right now."
Juneau will play the loser of Barlett/Bishop Gorman at 4:45 p.m. today in the consolation bracket of the eight-team tournament.
Notre Dame (22-0) is an independent Catholic preparatory college in Middleburg, Va. Point guard Jer Bowman has agreed to play college ball at Division I Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Coincidentally, Marist opens its 2007-2008 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference against Bradley University, Egolf's future school.
All five Notre Dame starters finished in double figures, an indication of their balanced attack. Bowman led the way with 16.
Clae Baker dumped in six points for Juneau, and Nico Saldivar added five.