The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team scored its second big victory in as many nights with a 66-59 win over third-ranked Wasilla in the opening round of the T-Bird Classic Thursday in Anchorage.
The win follows up the Crimson Bears' exciting 63-60 win over the second-ranked Dimond Lynx on Wednesday and keeps Juneau's overall record perfect this season at 7-0. In the tournament's late boys game, top-ranked Bartlett defeated East Anchorage 104-87.
Wasilla (4-4 overall) was led by junior 6-foot, 11-inch center Ray Schafer - who is widely considered the best Alaska high school basketball prospect since Juneau's Carlos Boozer - and the Warriors had more size than any team the Bears have played this season.
"It was a classic matchup between size and quickness," Crimson Bears head coach George Houston said. "I thought our guys worked hard up and down the court and we were able to put pressure on him with our guards."
The Bears' pressure defense held Schafer to just four points and one field goal in the first half as Juneau took an early first-quarter lead it never gave up. Juneau led 15-8 at the end of the first quarter and extended to 29-19 lead at half-time.
"I don't know if we took him out of the game or if he took himself out of the game," Houston said. "They made a point to go to him in the second half and we had a hard time guarding him. He's not just a big stiff. He's talented and has some skills."
The Crimson Bears continued to roll in the second half and pushed their lead to 45-28 late in the third quarter. That's when the Warriors made a charge and closed the gap to 56-52 before Juneau's Bryan Hamey knocked down a crucial 3-pointer to bring the score to 59-52.
"That kind of took the wind out of their sails," Houston said. "It was lot like the 3-pointer he hit against Dimond the day before. It was from the left side, right in front of the bench, in just about the same spot and it made it a seven-point lead."
The rest of the game, Wasilla desperately tried to play catch-up by fouling, but Junior Cumlat sank seven of eight free throws in the final minutes to seal the win for the Bears.
"They were scrambling and trapping," Houston said. "Junior ended up being the one with the ball. They fouled him and he knocked down the free throws. That's what we expect out of a point guard."
Cumlat and Ryan Monagle each scored 12 points to lead another balanced scoring attack by Juneau. Hamey scored nine points and Joe Ayers got into the scoring with seven points. Craig Kitka, Bryon Wild and Jake Miller all had six points and Curtis Lane finished with five, shooting just 1-for-10 from the field.
Wasilla was led by Schafer with 24 points and Adam Fitt-Chappell with 19.
Monagle had 10 rebounds for the Bears who outrebounded Wasilla 43-23, despite the big size advantage for the Warriors. The night before, Juneau was outrebounded by Dimond and did not record a single offensive rebound.
"I mentioned to them that I had never seen a game where we hadn't got an offensive board," Houston said. "And I guess they took it to heart. They took it to the glass with a lot more voracity."
The Bears also improved their free-throw shooting to 78 percent, a huge improvement from the dismal 50 percent shooting against Dimond the night before.
Juneau plays its second game of the T-Bird Classic against host East Anchorage at 6 p.m., a rematch of a Dec. 27 game the Bears easily won 82-56. The game will be broadcast by KINY AM-800.
"I'm a little concerned about East," Houston said. "It's only natural to have a let-down with the third game in as many days and East has improved since we played them last time. But I think we have too."
Crimson Bears 66, Warriors 59
Thursday's game at East Anchorage High School
Juneau-Douglas (66) Junior Cumlat 2 7-8 12, Joe Ayers 3 1-2 7, Ryan Monagle 5 2-3 12, Curtis Lane 1 2-2 5, Sterling Henderson 1 0-0 3, Alex Heumann 0 0-0 0, Nik Hura 0 0-0 0, Bryan Hamey 3 2-3 9, Craig Kitka 3 0-0 6, Josh Laramie 0 0-0 0, David Jones 0 0-0 0, Bryon Wild 3 0-0 6, Jake Miller 3 0-0 6, Ray Zimmer 0 0-0 0, Adam Nelson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 24 14-18 66.
Wasilla (59) Cody Scheirman 2 0-0 4, Clayton McCaul 0 0-0 0, Aaron Reth 0 0-0 0, Kent Sharey 0 0-0 0, Scott Faeo 1 0-0 2, Travis Webb 2 1-2 5, Adam Fitt-Chappell 7 2-2 19, Adrian Furman 0 0-0 0, Jake Collins 2 0-0 5, Luke Schafer 0 0-0 0, Mason Heibel 0 0-0 0, Ray Schafer 9 6-8 24. Totals: 23 9-12 59.
Juneau-Douglas 15 14 18 19 -- 66
Wasilla 8 11 16 24 -- 59
3-point goals -- Juneau-Douglas 4 (Cumlat 1, Lane 1, Henderson 1, Hamey 1), Wasilla 4 (Fitt-Chappell 3, Furman 1). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Juneau-Douglas 12, Wasilla 15.