The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team cruised to an easy win over Palmer on Wednesday to open a four-game road trip.
Now comes the hard part.
The Crimson Bears routed the Moose 74-37 on Wednesday, as the Juneau defense caused havoc for host Palmer. The Crimson Bears (3-1 overall) now turn their attention to the Alaska Airlines Eagle Classic in Anchorage, where they'll face defending state champion West Anchorage at 8 p.m. tonight, and nationally-ranked Outside opponents on Friday and Saturday.
But on Wednesday, the Bears warmed up for the tournament by feasting on sloppy passing by the Moose.
"They had trouble with our pressure, especially as the game wore on," Juneau coach George Houston said of Palmer. "We got our hands on a lot of passes, got a lot of turnovers and got a lot of layups as a result of those turnovers."
Juneau took a 16-10 lead after the first quarter, and then broke the game open with a 22-6 run in the second period for a 38-16 halftime advantage.
Junior Ryan Fagerstrom scored a game-high 17 points for Juneau, while senior Larry Cooper added 13 points and sophomore Will Egolf chipped in nine.
"Fagerstrom played much more relaxed than he had at home," Houston said. "He relaxed and got a couple of shots to drop, and hopefully that carries over."
Senior David Doerr - the only returning Palmer player with significant varsity experience - led the Moose with 15 points. Junior Willie Ratliff scored 10 points for Palmer (2-2 overall).
Houston said Juneau's sophomore posts, Egolf and Clae Baker, stood up well to Palmer's tall lineup. But he said the Crimson Bears will have to improve at blocking out and grabbing rebounds in their remaining games this week.
"That's going to have to be a point of emphasis - they're bigger than we are," Houston said of Juneau's upcoming opponents.
After playing West Anchorage, Juneau concludes the tournament with games against Laurinburg Institute of North Carolina at 6 p.m. Friday, and National Christian Academy of Fort Washington, Md., at 6 p.m. Saturday. Both squads are nationally ranked among prep schools, and feature a number of NCAA Division I recruits.
"It's just a real opportunity for us to play against high-level competition, see what we can do and try to get better," Houston said.
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CRIMSON BEARS 74, MOOSE 37
Wednesday's boys game from Palmer High School
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (74) - Larry Cooper 6 1-2 13, Norman Zura 1 0-0 3, Tom Derbesy 1 2-2 4, Tres Saldivar 2 2-2 6, Luke Miller 1 0-0 2, Ryan Fagerstrom 7 3-3 17, Scott Lesh 2 2-2 7, Kyle Huntsman 1 4-4 6, Clae Baker 2 3-6 7, Will Egolf 3 3-4 9. Totals: 26 20-25 74.
PALMER (37) - Jeremy Weber 0 0-0 0, Tanner Fullmer 1 0-0 2, David Doerr 4 4-4 15, Levi Kincaid 0 1-2 1 Jared Berberich 0 1-2 1, Willie Ratcliff 5 0-0 10, Cole Jacobson 1 0-1 2, Kenny Jenkins 1 0-0 2, Aaron Kohring 1 0-0 3, Trent Berberich 0 1-2 1. Totals: 13 7-11 37.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 16 22 19 17 - 74
PALMER 10 6 12 9 - 37
3-point goals - Juneau-Douglas 2 (Zura, Lesh), Palmer 4 (Doerr 3, Kohring). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Juneau-Douglas 12, Palmer 22.