Because the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team couldn't put together a complete game, the Crimson Bears dropped a pair of homecoming weekend games to the Colony Knights.
The Crimson Bears lost to Colony, ranked No. 4 in the state's sportswriters' poll, in an 80-74 double-overtime thriller on Friday night. On Saturday, Juneau fell 47-40 after rallying to tie the game entering the fourth quarter.
After the series, the Crimson Bears (7-8 overall) were mulling over the little things they needed to do in order to beat the Knights (12-6 overall).
"Sometimes that's just the way the ball bounces," said Juneau senior forward Tom Derbesy, one of the team's three co-captains. "There were a lot of things we didn't do that are necessary to win. A good team makes those plays, and we made a lot of mental mistakes.
"Winning teams hit their free throws, they take care of the ball, they execute their offense and they play with a high level of defensive intensity. We've had games where we've done three of the four or two of the four, but it seems we haven't been able to put all four together in the same game."
In Saturday's game, the Crimson Bears didn't make their free throws (they only made six of 15 shots), they committed 25 turnovers, they shot just 38 percent from the field (15-for-39 for the game) and they didn't play with any defensive intensity in the first half. Friday's game was better, but Juneau still made 18 turnovers with many of them coming at critical times.
"It was so-so," Juneau junior Kyle Huntsman said of the weekend. "We're disappointed we came out soft tonight (Saturday) and lost our homecoming games. Yesterday we played hard, but we didn't play good defense tonight. I am glad we came out in the second half a lot harder. Hopefully we'll meet them again in the state tournament. But we can't get too far ahead of ourselves. We've got to win our conference first."
Friday's game was one of the better high school games played at the JDHS main gym over the past five years, but both teams made some mistakes that could have given the victory to their opponent.
Juneau struggled to get the ball past the defense of Colony senior Justin Schwartzbauer, who seemed to deflect just about every other entry pass by the Crimson Bears in the first quarter. Also, Juneau was assessed a first-quarter technical foul because the coach forgot to list Huntsman's name in the scorebook.
Colony led 17-16 at the end of the first quarter, and it was only the eight points of Luke Miller keeping the Crimson Bears in the game. But in the second quarter, Juneau settled down and took a 31-28 halftime lead. The Crimson Bears still led 41-40 entering the fourth quarter, and they took a 61-57 lead with 1 minute, 21 seconds left when Colony coach Jeff Bowker was called for a technical after arguing a charging call on David Registe. Juneau's Norman Zura, who had just two points midway through the fourth quarter and then scored 13 of the team's next 15 points in regulation, hit the technical shots.
But Colony's Ricky Cunningham scored on a rebound and then Cade Dickey was fouled and made both free throws to tie the score at 61-61 at the end of regulation, sending the game into overtime. The teams swapped leads in the first overtime and Colony led 69-66 when Juneau senior Larry Cooper hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force a second overtime. In the second extra period, Colony took a lead and then hit six of 10 free throws down the stretch for the victory.
"I felt good at the beginning and I got a lot of open looks," said Miller, who finished with 13 points. "I don't want to make excuses, but I'm dead tired. It was such a close game. We had 'em."
"It was pretty close, but I knew it was going in," Cooper said of his shot. "The first quarter was kind of slow, but in the second quarter we picked it up. We needed to come out more aggressive."
Dickey scored 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Colony on Friday, with Schwartzbauer adding 17 points and Kyle Hoffman 14. Zura scored 18 points to lead Juneau, Miller had 13, Huntsman and Mychal Hutcherson both scored 10 and Cooper chipped in nine.
"It was so loud when they hit that 3," Coffman said of Cooper's 3-pointer in overtime. "Some of their key players fouled out, and we just played through the whole game. Our younger kids came through for us."
"Last Tuesday we lost to Heritage (Christian School of Anchorage, a Class 3A school), so it was nice coming back from that," said Dickey, who had a season-high on Friday. "We took care of the ball and hit our free throws."
In Saturday's game, Juneau fell behind 13-9 at the end of the first quarter and trailed 29-20 at halftime. But in the third quarter, the Crimson Bears tightened up their defense and held Colony to just one basket as the score was 31-31 entering the fourth quarter. Juneau missed all five of its free throws in the fourth quarter, and the Crimson Bears fell behind 39-31 before they were forced to foul and send the Knights to the free-throw line. Colony only made eight of 13 free throws down the stretch, but it was enough to clinch the victory.
Ricky Cunningham scored 12 points to lead the Knights, while Rhett Magner, who missed most of Friday's game with a leg injury, added nine and Schwartzbauer scored eight. Dickey didn't score until late in the fourth quarter and had five points.
Zura again led Juneau, this time with 14 points. Miller had seven, while Derbesy, Hutcherson and Scott Lesh added five each for the Crimson Bears.
"We wasted a half here," Derbesy said. "We were not playing at the proper level of intensity."
Earlier on Saturday night, Ryan Larson, Nick Andrews and Zach Heppner scored eight points each as the Juneau C team claimed a 49-33 victory over the Eighth-Grade All-Stars. Eric G. (no last name available) scored 12 points to lead the All-Stars, who trailed 23-4 at halftime.
The Crimson Bears hit the road to Fairbanks this coming weekend for a three-game trip that was a last-minute addition to the schedule. Juneau will play Lathrop on Thursday night in a make-up for a game postponed due to Juneau's travel difficulties getting to Bartlett's Sheri Stears Memorial Tournament last month in Anchorage. The Crimson Bears also will play West Valley on Friday night and then take on Lathrop again on Saturday.
Charles Bingham's last day as Juneau Empire sports editor was Saturday. The Empire sports department can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
KNIGHTS 47, CRIMSON BEARS 40
Saturday night's boys boxscore from JDHS
COLONY (47) - Ryan Gray 0 0-0 0, Justin Schwartzbauer 3 2-2 8, Ryan Coffman 2 2-2 6, David Registe 0 0-0 0, Tim Egger 1 1-2 3, Regis Price 0 0-0 0, Rhett Magner 3 3-4 9, Ricky Cunningham 5 2-4 12, Cade Dickey 1 3-5 5, Kyle Coffman 2 0-1 4, Tom Creasey 0 0-0 0, Wade Bowen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 13-20 47.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (40) - Larry Cooper 1 0-2 2, Norman Zura 6 0-0 14, Nico Saldivar 0 0-0 0, Tom Derbesy 2 0-0 5, Tres Saldivar 0 0-0 0, Luke Miller 2 3-4 7, Ryan Fagerstrom 0 1-4 1, Daryl Lew 0 0-0 0, Scott Lesh 2 0-0 5, Mychal Hutcherson 2 1-2 5, Kyle Huntsman 0 1-2 1, Cameron Cook 0 0-0 0, Bryan Ryder 0 0-1 0. Totals: 15 6-15 40.
COLONY 13 16 2 16 - 47
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 9 11 11 9 - 40
3-point goals - Colony 0, Juneau-Douglas 4 (Zura 2, Derbesy 1, Lesh 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Colony 16, Juneau-Douglas 22.
KNIGHTS 80, CRIMSON BEARS 74, 2OT
Friday night's boys boxscore from JDHS
COLONY (80) - Ryan Gray 2 2-2 7, Justin Schwartzbauer 7 2-3 17, Ryan Coffman 1 0-0 2, David Registe 1 0-0 2, Tim Egger 2 1-2 5, Regis Price 0 0-0 0, Rhett Magner 0 0-0 0, Ricky Cunningham 2 1-2 5, Cade Dickey 8 11-19 28, Kyle Coffman 3 8-10 14, Tom Creasey 0 0-0 0, Wade Bowen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 29 25-38 80.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (74) - Larry Cooper 3 0-0 9, Norman Zura 6 4-4 18, Nico Saldivar 0 0-0 0, Tom Derbesy 1 0-0 2, Tres Saldivar 0 0-0 0, Luke Miller 4 5-7 13, Ryan Fagerstrom 0 0-0 0, Daryl Lew 0 0-0 0, Scott Lesh 3 0-0 6, Mychal Hutcherson 4 2-2 10, Cameron Cook 0 0-0 0, Bryan Ryder 2 2-2 6, Kyle Huntsman 4 2-4 10. Totals: 27 15-19 74.
COLONY 17 11 12 21 8 11 - 80
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 16 15 10 20 8 5 - 74
3-point goals - Colony 3 (Gray 1, Schwartzbauer 1, Dickey 1), Juneau-Douglas 5 (Cooper 3, Zura 2). Fouled out - Colony 1 (Egger), Juneau-Douglas 2 (Derbesy, Huntsman). Technical fouls - Colony 1 (bench 1), Juneau-Douglas 1 (bench 1). Total fouls - Colony 20, Juneau-Douglas 25.