One night after a convincing 20-point victory, the Crimson Bears boys' basketball team came out on top 70-68 in what was a heated battle with the West Valley Wolfpack Saturday evening.
At the beginning of the third quarter, West Valley came out with much more intensity than the Bears and quickly erased a seven-point deficit with full-court pressure defense, trapping at every opportunity with a subsitution pattern resembling a game of musical chairs.
Coach Steve Potter said his team failed to match the Wolfpack's intensity coming out of the locker room after halftime.
"Their energy level was so much higher than ours coming out, for whatever reason," he said. "We stuck with it and continued to play hard, but it wasn't very pretty.
"But if you're playing hard, it sometimes makes up for it not being very pretty."
The "not very pretty" part: the Crimson Bears committed 26 turnovers to the Wolfpack's 22. JDHS also got to the line 26 times, but could only hit 16 of them. The game was played mostly in transition as the two teams combined for 52 points off turnovers.
Potter said that style of play fits in perfectly with what West Valley wants to do.
"We got caught up in their tempo," he said. "That's not really our tempo. We like to think it is, but it's not really our tempo - yet."
Forward Paul Tupou recorded a career high 16 points and finished one rebound shy of a double-double.
"There were just a lot of open looks off a lot of good passes," he said. "It was a really, really close game, so I just couldn't miss on those easy ones where I had the perfect pass and open shots.
"I'm proud of the team pulling through at the end."
Tupou said the team was "shocked" by the way West Valley came out after halftime, but was able to stay in the game with the home crowd, in particular the student section, going nuts.
"I think we came out a little flat, but luckily we picked up the momentum," he said. "(The crowd is) everything, it's a lot. It gets your blood rushing. You make that shot and you hear them screaming, it just gives you that extra jump in your step.
"It's awesome - you don't get that anywhere else."
With a matchup against cross-town rival Thunder Mountain coming up next weekend, Tupou said the team is ready to go.
"I can't wait, it's going to be the highlight of my season," he said. "I just cannot wait."
Alex DeRocher led JDHS with 16 points, while Colin Gozelski and Victor Wilson had 10 each.
Matthew Tynan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 523-2267.
Bears romp in Game 1
Juneau-Douglas played perhaps its best half of basketball Friday night in taking a 31-13 lead into the locker room at halftime before cruising to a 65-45 homecoming win over visiting West Valley.
"I thought that we used the momentum of homecoming," coach Steve Potter said, "and we saw what happend to the girls earlier and what happens if you don't come out focused."
Aside from committing 20 turnovers, JDHS could do no wrong in steamrolling the Wolfpack from the opening whistle. The Bears led 11-0 early in the first quarter and 18-4 heading into the second. Up 21-9, senior guard Victor Wilson laid down a picture-perfect bounce pass to a cutting Eric Sele for an easy deuce to ignite a 6-0 spurt. Wilson then went straight to the cup for two more before sophomore guard Lance Ibesate got into the action, driving and hitting a tough shot under the basket.
Senior wing Colin Gozelski deflected a pass and got the ball back from Terrence Wheat for a breakaway lay-up, and another Gozelski steal led to two free throws for sophomore guard Tony Yadao and a 31-13 Bears lead at the half.
Up 44-21 late in the third, Yadao got a lay-up on a run out, and then made a superb hustle play in deflecting the ball, diving to the floor and sending a pass to Ibesate for another lay-up and a 48-21 Bears lead heading into the final frame.
Two Yadao free throws doubled up the Wolfpack 56-28 with 6:11 to play before West Valley went on a 10-0 run, but it would get no closer than 18 the rest of the way. The fourth quarter was the only one in which the Wolfpack scored in double digits, and JDHS junior guard Travis Goddfrey set the final score by splashing a triple from the wing.
JDHS forced 25 turnovers, leading to 25 points, and outscored the Wolfpack 21-3 from behind the arc, where Alex DeRocher shot 3 of 6, and Yadao canned both of his attempts. The backcourt duo scored 14 points each for JDHS to lead the way. The Bears also had 19 assists on 23 field goals, and the bench contributed 32 points in JDHS's most balanced effort this year. Ibesate had seven points, five assists and three steals to stuff the stat line, while Wilson had six points, four assists and four steals.