Bartlett hands Juneau boys first loss

Wasilla claims East T-Bird Classic title on point-differential tiebreaker

Posted: Sunday, January 27, 2002

The Juneau-Douglas boys basketball team's winning streak came to a halt Saturday after a 77-71 loss to Bartlett in a showdown at the East T-Bird Classic at East Anchorage High School.

On Friday, the Crimson Bears defeated tournament host East 81-63 and Wasilla defeated Bartlett 55-52 in overtime. In Saturday's late boys game, Wasilla clobbered East 90-50.

Juneau, Wasilla and Bartlett all tied for the tournament's championship with 2-1 records, but the tie-breaker went to Wasilla by means of point differential. Juneau finished in third and won the sportsmanship award. Ryan Monagle, Curtis Lane and Junior Cumlat were named to the all-tournament team and Bartlett's Andrew Smith was named tournament MVP.

"It was a tremendous week for us," Juneau head coach George Houston said. "We saw some good teams, played some good teams and grew up as a group. I'm happy with a 3-1 record on the road trip. We've had much worse trips. We proved we can play at a level with the best teams in the state. Now we have to concentrate on getting better. It's still early in the season."

The Crimson Bears (8-1 overall, 2-0 region) were state's last undefeated team in Class 4A heading into Saturday's game and had held the No. 1 spot in the Alaska State WPI rankings. In the Alaska Sportswriters' Poll released Wednesday, Juneau was ranked fourth. Juneau defeated second-ranked Dimond on Wednesday and third-ranked Wasilla to open the T-Bird Classic on Thursday.

However, the top-ranked Golden Bears were too much for the Crimson Bears to handle Saturday. For a time, Bartlett looked like they would run away with the victory by jumping out to a 19-10 lead after the first quarter. Bartlett kept the margin at 39-30 heading into halftime and extended its lead to 54-43 at the end of the third quarter.

The Crimson Bears made a run in the fourth quarter and cut the lead to four points for a short time, but the Golden Bears were able to stop Juneau's run and held on for the win.

"They were really good," Houston said. "They are talented and athletic. We were tentative -- kind of indecisive because of their size. It's amazing we were only down by nine at the half. It could have been more. We were lucky we didn't get blown out."

Juneau was led in scoring by Monagle with 17 points and Lane scored 16. Bryan Hamey had another solid game off the bench with 13, while Cumlat added eight points.

Player-of-the-year candidate Smith led the Golden Bears with 23 points and the guard combo of Mario Chalmers and Doug Hardy scored 22 and 19 points, respectively.

"We had trouble with Smith," Houston said. "We tried doubling him a lot."

On Friday, Juneau faced a much-improved East team from Dec. 27, when the Bears routed the Thunderbirds 82-56 at Juneau's Princess Capital City Classic.

East kept the game close in the first half and went into halftime tied at 39 with Juneau. But the Bears pulled away in the second half, outscoring East 26-13 in the third and 16-11 in the fourth quarter.

"I didn't think we were fired up and ready to play," Houston said. "East was ready and came out fired up. We were just a little flat."

Monagle led Juneau with 17 points and Lane chipped in 13, including three 3-pointers. The Bears got some unexpected help in scoring from Craig Kitka who scored 13 off the bench and Jake Miller who added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Thunderbirds were led by Jonathan Zuker with 17 points and Bennie Holt with 10.

The Crimson Bears will see their next action on Feb. 1-2 when they travel to Sitka for two games against their Region V-Class 4A rivals.

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