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Juneau-Douglas exploded for 28 second-quarter points en route to a 72-60 Southeast Conference victory over Thunder Mountain at TMHS in the second of a two-day, two-game double dip between Juneau's old and new high schools.
Both teams played more loosely from the outset than they did Friday night, trading buckets back and forth with the game tied at 2-, 6- and 8-all.
"We had a lot more energy coming out tonight, and I think the crowd really helped us," said JDHS senior forward Colin Gozelski, who put up 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. "Whenever they went on a run, our crowd would get us back into it."
TMHS senior forward Cody Grussendorf drove the lane for a lay-up and a 10-9 Falcon lead.
JDHS sophomore guard Lance Ibesate splashed a triple after a kick out by Eric Sele, but Falcon guard Reese Saviers answered with a three-pointer. Senior wing Victor Wilson drove for a lay-up and a 14-13 JDHS lead after one quarter.
Falcon senior guard Torey Franzen tied the game at 16-16 with a triple from the wing, but JDHS went on a 16-3 run, punctuated by a Gozelski and-1 inside after a lot of contact, followed by an Ibesate steal and lay-up to give the Bears a 32-19 lead at the midway point of the second quarter.
The Bears closed the half with a 6-2 spurt for a commanding 42-29 lead at the break.
Gozelski led the first-half charge, scoring 11 points for JDHS.
"Our defense in the first half was not where we need it to be," TMHS coach John Blasco said. "We got beat off the dribble quite a bit. That's knowing the guy that you're guarding, and that's also taking pride in defense and not just letting your guy beat you off the dribble."
The Bears went cold in the third quarter and the Falcons clawed their way back into the game, pulling within five points, 44-39, after a big-time three-pointer from Saviers.
JDHS coach Steve Potter said he wasn't surprised the Falcons were able to get back into the game.
"They're talented kids, Blasco is a good coach and he's going to make them play hard," he said. "There's no alternative. But it was about what I expected. They played better, and I thought we played better."
But then JDHS closed with a 6-0 spurt to hold a 50-39 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
"We cut it to five, and then made two or three bad decision and it was back up to a 10-point game. It's hard to fight back from down 10 that late in the game when they're feeling good. We had the momentum and everything going in our favor, and then a couple turnovers and poor shots and the game is back in their hands."
Both teams lit it up in the fourth quarter, with the Falcons outscoring the Bears 24-22, though they never got closer than 10 points.
Saviers led all scorers with 20 points and had 12 rebounds, while Grussendorf had 18 points for TMHS.
Alex DeRocher had 17 points for the Bears, and Ibesate had 16.
JDHS scored 22 points off Falcon turnovers, and the Bear bench outscored TMHS's 27-4.
JDHS won the JV game 51-29 behind 16 points from Phillip Fenuiai and 12 from Cort Saviers. Jake Gates paced the Falcons with seven points.
Bears ground Falcons in first-ever meeting at JDHS
Emotions ran high from the outset of the first-ever cross-town boys' basketball tilt between Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain, with the Crimson Bears winning convincingly, 60-45, in front of a frenzied full house at JDHS.
The bigger Bears owned the boards and shot the ball well while the Falcons couldn't find the range from the field or the free throw line. JDHS pulled down 50 boards to TMHS's 36, and shot 45 percent overall from the field, including 5 of 11 from behind the arc. The Falcons shot just 28 percent, including 1-for-11 from the perimeter, and just 14 of 33 from the stripe.
"It was a cold night. We were jittery through almost the entire first half, which is way longer than you should be," TMHS coach John Blasco lamented afterward. "We were 5-for-14 in the first half and in a 13-point ballgame, you miss nine free throws. Your psychological mindset is a lot different when you're down 13 instead of five or six.
"I played loud crowd noise in practice when we shot free throws in hopes that we would be prepared," he continued. "Clearly, it affected both teams. I'm very proud of how much we got to the line because we haven't gotten there that much any other time this year, but you have to capitalize. To miss 19 free throws in a 15-point ballgame, that says a lot. We didn't play a very good game and we didn't shoot well, but it was fun."
Though victorious, JDHS coach Steve Potter was unhappy with the fact his team got to the line just seven times, making but one.
"I don't necessarily agree with that, but it's our own fault," Potter said of the major free throw discrepancy. "We were settling for shots and taking early shots instead of taking our time to do the work. But we certainly were effective when we were patient enough to go inside. We got good inside-out action and we got most of our three-point opportunities. We just need to do a better job."
JDHS held a 10-5 lead after the first quarter, was up 30-17 at the half, and only trailed once, 5-4, in the game's early going.
The game was tight until midway through the second quarter. With JDHS leading 16-9, the Falcons scored five straight to cut the deficit to two, 16-14, after back-to-back buckets off the glass inside by De'Andre King.
But senior Alex DeRocher, who led all scorers with 20 points, drilled his first of four three-pointers from the wing to open the floodgates.
"That's awesome, but it's a team effort," DeRocher said of his big night shooting the ball. "I'm just glad we got the win. I don't care if I score 30 points if we lose. That's not fun to me. I just want the win."
Senior forward Paul Tupou followed DeRocher's lead with an old-fashioned three-point play to push the cushion to eight, 22-14, and the Bears closed the half on a 14-3 run, with sophomore guard Tony Yadao hitting a beautiful double-clutch scoop shot in the lane with time running out.
JDHS doubled up the Falcons 34-17 after senior forward Eric Sele opened the third quarter with back-to-back buckets inside off dishes from senior wing Victor Wilson.
Senior forward Cody Grussendorf scored four straight points to cut the deficit to 38-21, but Yadao halted any Falcon momentum with a stuff of a Reese Saviers lay-up attempt after Saviers got out on the break. Wilson scored over King inside and senior forward Colin Gozelski drove to the cup for a deuce and a 44-25 Bears lead heading into the final eight minutes.
The Falcons finally got going offensively in the fourth quarter, scoring 20 points in all, but it was too little, too late. Saviers, who struggled from the field, shooting just 3-for-14, went to the cup but was rejected again, this time by senior forward Lawrence Fenumiai, who then playfully flexed for the fervent JDHS studentsection.
DeRocher pushed the Bears' lead to 54-28 with a triple from the wing, and then the Falcons chipped away, outscoring JDHS 17-6 over the game's final four minutes.
DeRocher credited the Bears' big men for owning the glass.
"Our boards were key. We've been working a lot on boxing out in practice, and our help-side defense. I think that really helped us out tonight," he said. "Our big men really stepped it up and boxed out for us. They realize that's their job, and they've been doing a great job."
JDHS won Friday's JV matchup 53-37 behind 15 points from Alec Calloway, and 10 from Phillip Fenumiai. Josh Tupou led the Falcons with 11 points, and Keith Ainsworth put up nine.
JDHS 60, TMHS 45
THUNDER MOUNTAIN: Franzen 1-4 0-0 2, Ainsworth 0-1 0-0 0, R.Saviers 3-14 3-10 10, Jahn 1-1 0-0 2, Grussendorf 3-19 9-17 15, Hotch 0-0 0-0 0, Gates 0-1 0-0 0, Koenig 3-5 0-0 6, King 4-9 0-2 8, Speck 0-0 2-4 2. Totals 15-54 14-33 45.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS: Ibesate 0-4 0-0 0, Hurtte 0-1 0-0 0, C.Saviers 0-0 0-0 0, Yadao 3-5 0-0 7, Gozelski 4-8 0-3 8, Wilson 3-6 0-0 6, P.Fenumiai 0-0 0-0 0, DeRocher 8-15 0-0 20, Wheat 0-0 0-0 0, Gross 1-1 0-0 2, Sele 3-9 0-0 6, L.Fenumiai 2-5 0-0 4, Tupou 3-6 1-4 7.