The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team made a better showing, but drew the same result as they dropped an 88-61 decision to Bartlett in Thursday's first-round action of the East T-Bird Classic at East Anchorage High School.
"We got blitzed again, but this time we played 'em," said Juneau coach George Houston, whose team was within six points in the third quarter. "We showed improvement."
The Crimson Bears - who opened the season with an 89-41 loss to the two-time defending state champion Golden Bears on Dec. 17 - played much better this time, even though they were missing senior forward Adam Nelson to an Achilles' tendon injury the entire game. Nelson was Juneau's leading scorer with 14 points the first time the teams played.
Juneau also had a short roster since several of younger players were traveling with the junior varsity team to Petersburg this weekend.
Nelson tweaked his the tendon during practice on Tuesday, then sat out much of Wednesday's practice. Houston said there was a game-time decision to start Nelson, but he came out of the game after just two trips up the court and didn't play again. Houston said he's not sure if Nelson will play again during the tournament, because he'd rather give the injury time to heal.
"It's more important to have him down the road, so he may have to take some more time off," Houston said.
Bartlett's pressure-cooker defense did force Juneau into its share of turnovers, but the Crimson Bears did a much better job protecting the ball than in their first meeting.
The Golden Bears (6-3 overall, with only one loss to an Alaska team the past three seasons) had some runs, including one in the first quarter that threatened to recreate Juneau's December nightmare. Juneau had just taken an 11-10 lead on a 3-pointer by Alex Heumann when Bartlett - led by 6-foot-3 all-American junior guard Mario Chalmers and 6-7 post player Josh Mitchell - went on a 13-0 run. Bartlett led 27-13 at the end of the first quarter, then scored the first six points of the second period to take a 20-point lead.
But instead of folding under the pressure, the Crimson Bears (5-5 overall) fought back.
Juneau trailed by 19 points, 44-25, late in the half, but the Crimson Bears closed out the quarter with a 7-0 run to make it 44-32 at halftime. Juneau scored the first five points of the third quarter to close the gap to seven points, 44-37, and the Crimson Bears held close to that deficit most of the third quarter. The closest Juneau came was six points, 59-53, after a bucket by Josh Monagle midway through the third quarter.
"We had it down to six, but it was like we hit the wall," Houston said. "We turned the ball over a couple of times and they're so quick and athletic they turned those into layups at the other end."
Bartlett went on a small run to take a 68-55 lead into the fourth quarter, and the Golden Bears would continue to pull away in the final period as the short-handed Crimson Bears wore down. Bartlett outscored Juneau 20-6 in the fourth quarter.
Monagle, a sophomore forward, scored 22 points to lead Juneau, with 10 of those coming in the second quarter. Heumann, a senior guard, scored 18 points, while junior forward Mychal Hutcherson came off the bench to replace Nelson and scored six points while grabbing numerous rebounds.
Chalmers scored 21 points to lead Bartlett, though he did miss two dunks. Mitchell added 19 points (12 in the first quarter), while Tony James scored 17 points off the bench and Doug Hardy added 14 points for the Golden Bears.
Juneau will play at 5 p.m. today against Chugiak, which lost 60-46 to Lathrop in another of Thursday's first-round games.
"Chugiak's got some big kids and their guards are athletic," Houston said. "They have some size and they played quite a number of kids. We'll do what we can."
In other opening-round games, Service edged Colony 46-44 and tournament host East Anchorage beat Sitka 65-43 in the late game (no details available). Colony takes on Sitka at 3:15 p.m today.
On Saturday, the seventh-eighth place game is at 3:15 p.m., the fourth-sixth place game is at 5 p.m., the third-fifth place game is at 6:45 p.m. and the championship is at 8 p.m.
The Juneau Empire sports department can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOLDEN BEARS 88, CRIMSON BEARS 61
Thursday's boys boxscore from East Anchorage
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (61) - Larry Cooper 1 1-2 4, Tom Derbesy 0 2-2 2, Tres Saldivar 1 0-0 2, Alex Heumann 7 0-0 18, Rob Carte 0 0-0 0, Mychal Hutcherson 3 0-2 6, Josh Monagle 10 2-2 22, Kyle Huntsman 0 1-2 1, David Jones 2 0-0 6, Adam Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 6-10 61.
BARTLETT (88) - Tony James 7 2-4 17, Doug Hardy 5 2-2 12, Antaune Jordan 3 0-0 6, Mario Chalmers 9 0-0 21, Andre Jones 0 0-0 0, Josh Mitchell 9 1-2 19, Marty Stokes 0 2-2 2, Ben Cooper 0 0-0 0, Bryan Leiser 0 0-0 0, Avery Jackson 2 1-3 6, Damon Ingram 2 0-0 5. Totals: 37 8-13 88.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 13 19 23 6 - 61
BARTLETT 27 17 24 20 - 88
3-point goals - Juneau-Douglas 7 (Heumann 4, D. Jones 2, L. Cooper 1), Bartlett 6 (Chalmers 3, James 1, Jackson 1, Ingram 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Juneau-Douglas 12, Bartlett 10.