If Thursday night's 68-50 road loss to the Colony Knights was supposed to be one of Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team's midterm games, then the Crimson Bears deserve an F.
Juneau, on a three-game road trip to the Mat-Su Valley and Anchorage, fell behind 20-7 in the first quarter and were totally dominated by the Knights, who beat Juneau for the second time this season. Juneau, tied for fourth in the state's Class 4A state poll, really never challenged unranked Colony, trailing by 24 points once in the third quarter and a couple of times in the fourth quarter before the Crimson Bears made a late run to cut the final margin to 18 points.
"We failed, hands down," Juneau coach George Houston said by phone from the team's Anchorage hotel this morning.
"We pretty much got destroyed. They just thoroughly outplayed us and they outfought us. For some reason we were hesitant."
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Crimson Bears (9-5 overall), while it extended Colony's winning streak to five games. The Knights (10-7 overall) beat Juneau 57-46 in the consolation bracket of the Alaska Prep Shootout last month in a game that was quite similar to Thursday night's loss. In the game last month, Juneau fell behind 18-9 in the first quarter and never really got back into the game.
The Knights were led by guard Justin Coffman, who scored 19 points, while Jon Elliott came off the bench to score 15 points. Landon Swank, who didn't play in the January game, scored nine points before fouling out with a technical foul in the fourth quarter.
"They really took it to us," Houston said. "Those two (Coffman and Elliott) we just couldn't stop for some reason. They hit some tough shots and our defense let them through without much effort."
Juneau was led by Joe Ayers, who had 10 points, eight rebounds and two assists. Sterling Henderson also scored 10 points, while Bryan Hamey had nine points and Byron Wild scored six.
"The only guy close to being ready to play for us was Joe Ayers," Houston said. "Byron was working on Hyslip (Colony center Brandon Hyslip, who scored 16 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in January but only scored five points Thursday), but Byron only had two rebounds and two assists."
Houston said the Juneau players seemed passive, even though they led Colony in rebounding by one. He said there were 10 team rebounds, and on some of those Houston said the ball landed between three Crimson Bears and they actually seemed to back away from the ball.
"On our first five possessions, we only got off one shot," Houston said. "The other times we turned the ball over. Our lack of aggression was noticeable."
Houston said he planned to have the team watch the game's videotape this morning to see if they could figure out what went wrong. He also said if he had to watch the tape again, so did the players.
"We talked about the importance of this trip before we came up here," Houston said. "It was not a very good performance."
Another stat that upset Houston was Juneau's assist to field goal ratio, where Juneau had just six assists for its 15 made field goals. He said it was a sign the players are trying to do too much on their own, and not looking to their teammates to see who might be open and have a better shot.
Juneau continues its road trip today at 2:45 p.m. when the Crimson Bears play the Chugiak Mustangs (6-7 overall), a team that beat Colony earlier this season. Juneau closes out the road trip against the top-ranked Wasilla Warriors (12-2 overall) at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Both games will be broadcast on KINY radio, 800 AM.
"When you have a disastrous game like this on a road trip, you've got to learn how to move on," Houston said. "We've got to get beyond Colony."
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
KNIGHTS 68, CRIMSON BEARS 50
Thursday's boys boxscore from Colony High School
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (50) - Joe Ayers 3 3-6 10, Sterling Henderson 4 1-3 10, Alex Heumann 1 2-4 5, Nik Hura 0 1-2 1, Bryan Hamey 3 3-4 9, David Jones 1 0-0 2, Byron Wild 2 2-2 6, Kolt Garvey 0 0-0 0, Josh Monagle 0 4-4 4, Adam Nelson 1 0-0 3. Totals: 15 16-25 50.
COLONY (68) - Landon Swank 3 2-3 9, Joe Reza 2 1-2 5, Rhett Magner 1 0-0 2, Clay Hotchkiss 2 0-0 6, Justin Schwartz 0 0-0 0, Mike Benson 0 0-0 0, Justin Coffman 6 7-8 19, Dude Hooser 1 0-0 2, Antoine Spencer 0 1-2 1, Jason Christensen 1 2-3 4, Jon Elliott 6 2-2 15, Brandon Hyslip 1 3-4 5. Totals: 23 18-24 68.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 7 11 11 21 - 50
COLONY 20 13 19 16 - 68
3-point goals - Juneau-Douglas 4 (Ayers 1, Henderson 1, Heumann 1, Nelson 1), Colony 4 (Hotchkiss 2, Swank 1, Elliott 1). Fouled out - Juneau-Douglas 0, Colony 1 (Swank). Technical fouls - Juneau-Douglas 0, Colony 1 (Swank 1). Total fouls - Juneau-Douglas 19, Colony 20.