With a roster made up of just four seniors and three players who saw substantial minutes last season, Service High boys basketball coach Greg Fullmer is stressing the importance of using inexperience as a way to get the Cougars where they want to go.
For the time being, that means putting the ``move'' in youth movement.
Service played at its best Thursday when it ran. The Cougars parlayed their up-tempo style into a convincing 77-61 victory over Juneau-Douglas during the opening round of the Alaska Prep Shootout at Dimond High.
In other games, fourth-ranked Wasilla overwhelmed defending Class 1A runner-up Buckland 97-37, second-ranked Dimond buried Homer 71-34; and Grace Christian tripped Monroe Catholic 70-52 in a battle between Class 3A teams.
Few problems arose for Service (4-4) when it kept the ball from hitting the floor. Possessions often ended quickly as passes whizzed through the air.
``Passes take you down the floor faster than the dribble,'' Fullmer said. ``Our pressing offense works well when we run because we can create 2-on-1 and 3-on-2 breaks.''
Fullmer is so intent on Service cashing in by moving the ball up the court that in the third quarter he actually told a player to stop dribbling.
How's that for fundamentals?
``You just can't play Juneau-Douglas in the half court,'' Fullmer said. ``They are just too good.''
Service scored 13 of the game's first 19 points and led by as many as 13 points during the second quarter. Juneau senior forward Evan Tromble sank a jumper with four seconds left in the second to cut Service's lead to 40-33.
The Crimson Bears (4-6) hit 13 of 25 shots (52 percent) in the first half but had trouble slowing down Service and keeping it off the free-throw line. The Cougars stroked all 15 free-throw attempts in the first half and 28 of 34 in the game.
``In the first half we were totally outplayed,'' Juneau coach George Houston said. ``Once we came out and played in the second half, it was a little too late.
``If the season ended right now, we would be in trouble. Hopefully by the end we will have our act together.''
Service, meanwhile, will try to build on its act. The Cougars take on Wasilla in today's 7 p.m. semifinal.
``We just have to keep getting the ball up the court,'' said Service sophomore Zach Tilbury, who finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. ``Dribbling takes time, and we have to be quick.''
Paul Markoff scored 18 points to lead Service, Jason Orien added 14, and Marvil Douglas had 10. The Cougars fired in 53.3 percent (24 of 45) of their shots from the field.
Tromble paced Juneau with 19 points, and sophomore point guard Curtis Lane came off the bench to contribute 13 points.
The loss was the fourth straight for Juneau, which takes on Buckland today at 3 p.m.
Wasilla, fresh from a sweep of Juneau in Juneau last weekend, never struggled against Buckland. The Warriors jumped out to a 21-5 lead in the first quarter and never looked back.
James Watts and Ray Schafer led a quintet of double-figure scorers with 14 points. Wasilla shot 54.4 percent (40 of 74).
Jason Hadley, one of six Hadleys in uniform for the Sissauni, pumped in 14 points.
COUGARS 77 CRIMSON BEARS 61
Thursday at Dimond High School
Taylor Nerland 0 0-0 0, Jason Orien 4 5-6 14, Marvil Douglas 5 0-0 10, Paul Markoff 5 8-8 18, Stefan Novotney 0 0-0 0, Dustin Grimes 0 1-1 1, Brandon Barter 0 4-7 4, Zak Tilbury 5 5-6 15, Michael Auelua 4 0-0 8, Jimmy Wheeler 1 0-0 2, Mark Pierce 0 5-6 5.
Totals 24 28-34 77.
Joe Ayers 1 0-0 2, John Blasco 2 2-2 6, Ryan Monagle 0 1-5 1, Julius Cumlat 1 0-0 3, Curtis Lane 5 2-3 13, Clay Brown 1 4-4 6, Leon Bus 0 2-2 2, Evan Tromble 6 4-6 19, James Severin 1 0-0 2, Jacob Miller 0 0-0 0, John Chapman 3 1-4 7.
Totals 20 16-26 61.
SERVICE 19 21 11 26 - 77
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 22 9 19 - 61
3-point goals - Service 1 (Orien, Juneau-Douglas 5 (Tromble 3, Lane, Cumlat). Fouled out - Service (Tilbery), Juneau-Douglas (Tromble, Severin). Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Service 22, Juneau-Douglas 24.