Roundup: Braves face Wolves for boys' 3A title

Posted: Friday, March 04, 2011

Sitka took care of its end of the bargain, and then Mt. Edgecumbe did the same.

The Braves rolled to a 69-53 semifinal win over the Craig Panthers on Thursday, setting up a crosstown showdown with the Wolves for the 3A boys’ bracket championship today at the Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.

Mt. Edgecumbe stormed to a 28-13 lead by the end of the first quarter. Craig closed within 11 points late in the second to make it a 39-28 game at the break, but the Braves responded with a 15-9 run through the third quarter to lead by 17, 54-37, with eight minutes to play.

“I thought there were times that we got complacent and too comfortable with where we were at,” Mt. Edgecumbe coach Archie Young said. “We’ve talked about our motto of never being satisfied and we need to get back to that for a full 32 minutes. If we do that then we’ll be successful We just have to make sure we’re focused for the whole game.”

Today’s 3A boys’ bracket championship game against archrival Sitka is at 5:10 p.m. at JDHS. The Braves are 2-0 against the Wolves this season.

Craig faces defending 3A state champion at 1:30 p.m. today in the loser’s bracket quarterfinal.

Wrangell edges Chiefs

The Mt. Edgecumbe girls’ basketball team was the first to go Thursday in the first round of elimination games as Wrangell pulled out a 1-point win, 38-37 over the Chiefs on the 3A girls’ side of the 2011 Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament.

The Chiefs took a 22-16 lead into the half behind 10 early points from senior Kristin Johanson, but they were unable to keep the momentum going in the second half. The score remained the same after three quarters as each team managed nine points, but it was the Wolves who took the game over in the fourth as they outscored Mt. Edgecumbe 13-6 in the deciding period.

The Wrangell attack was a well-balanced one, led by sophomore MiKayla Stokes’ seven points, while classmate Alyssa Allen, junior Loni Buness and seniors Jaci Wright and Katelyn Reeves scored six points apiece.

Johanson’s 15 points were a game high for Mt. Edgecumbe while junior teammate Brandi Hale pitched in 10 points.

The Wolves will play Haines at 11:50 a.m. today.

Bears roll Chiefs

The Haines boys’ basketball team showed it wasn’t quite ready to be ousted Thursday morning as the Glacier Bears cruised to a 79-51 win over outmatched Metlakatla on the second day of the 3A boys’ side of the 2011 Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament.

The Chiefs stayed within striking distance of Haines through one quarter, but the Glacier Bears outscored Metlakatla 30-11 in the second quarter to enter halftime up 50-24. It was the second time in the tournament Chiefs allowed 30 points in a single quarter after Sitka posted the same number against Metlakatla during the first period on Wednesday.

Haines swingman Tyler Swinton accounted for 11 points of the 30 in that second quarter explosion on his way to a game high 25 points. Junior Devin Braaten was second on the team in scoring with 13 points, while classmate Austin Badger and freshman Justin Swinton scored 12 apiece.

The Chiefs were led by sophomore guard Drew Yliniemi with 13 points, but nobody else reached double figures in scoring for Metlakatla.

The Glacier Bears will play Craig at 1:30 p.m. today.

Sitka girls keep momentum

The Sitka girls’ basketball team kept its momentum going Thursday with an impressive comeback victory in the final minutes to hand Petersburg a 47-41 loss, its first loss of the 2011 Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament.

Down 31-25 after three quarters, Sitka junior Hunter Huddlestun hit a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:17 remaining in the game, and freshman Megan Reid got inside for the eventual winning basket as the Wolves outscored the Vikings 22-10 in the final frame. Junior Sariah Ady scored a layup and classmate Katina Wathen hit two free throws in the final minute to cap the scoring, and Sitka held Petersburg scoreless over the final four-plus minutes to secure the victory.

After scoring 17 in the third quarter alone, the Vikings got off to a hot start in the fourth with 10 early points. But the shots were not falling down the stretch and Petersburg turned the ball over twice in the final minute to seal its fate on this day.

“I thought the girls did awesome. Everybody came off the bench and contributed,” Sitka coach Rich Krupa said after the game. “We are one step away from our goal. We want to be Southeast champs again and we’re almost there. It was a team effort with great boxing out, rebounding and big shots at the end.

They just did a wonderful job.”

The Wolves hit just three 3-pointers in the game, but all of them came in the all-important fourth quarter.

“We made some big shots, so that was perfect,” Krupa said. “And thank God we made those free throws at the end.”

Petersburg’s Carolyn Kvernvik led all scorers with 14 points while teammate Hillary Scherrer accounted for 11 points.

Ady led the way for Sitka with 12 points and Huddlestun’s 11 were good enough for second best.

Sitka plays Craig at 3:30 p.m. today while Petersburg will play in an elimination game against Metlakatla at 8:30 a.m.

Braves to face Wolves for boys’ 3A title

Sitka sprinted to a 22-11 first-quarter lead and held off Petersburg the rest of the way, earning a 72-56 win Thursday to advance to the 3A boys’ bracket championship game of the Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.

The Vikings cut into the deficit with a 13-8 run through the second quarter, but the Wolves scored 18 in the third to lead by 11 with eight minutes to play. Petersburg drew no closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Sitka coach Andy Lee credited his team’s balance, conditioning and work on the defensive end.

“In June, July and August, this is what we were about: We lifted weights, we ran, and we like to wear people down and play tough defense,” he said. “We play a well-rounded game and we don’t have a leading scorer, per se. We prepared for a tough opponent, and I think coach (Rick) Brock is one of the best coaches in the state and it’s always a challenge (to beat Petersburg).

Sitka’s Mik Potrzuski led all scorers with 23 points, Mike Matz added 15 and Luke Clayton 10.

Guy Birchell led the Knights with 16 points, and Taylor Pullar added 11.

Sitka squares off with Mt. Edgecumbe at 5:10 p.m. today in the conference tournament championship game.

“We’re excited about the opportunity and we think Southeast has the best basketball in the state at this level,” Lee said. “I don’t think you’re going to see better teams that Mt. Edgecumbe, Petersburg and us.”

Petersburg faces Wrangell at 9:40 a.m. in the loser’s bracket semifinals.

The overall champion and the winner of the loser’s bracket both earn a state tournament berth.

Craig holds on, tops Haines

Time and time again, Craig answered the call.

The Panthers held on to top the Haines Glacier Bears 55-51 Thursday in a 3A girls’ bracket semifinal at the Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from those guys,” Craig coach D.J. Hansen said of Haines’ ability to keep battling back. “We’ve played those guys throughout the years and built our programs together, and they’ve always been really tough for us. They played very well and we played well.

“I’m glad we came out on top. I’ve got a lot of seniors and four years of hard work and a little determination from them … pulled it out.”

The Panthers led 14-7 after the first quarter and had an answer every time the Bears made a push in the second, heading into the locker room with a 30-23 halftime lead after a stickback before the buzzer by Grace Beckman.

Big 3-pointers by Melissa Castle and Alex Owen helped keep the Bears at bay in the second quarter after Haines pulled within one and three points, respectively.

But in the third quarter, the tide finally turned.

Haines came out of the locker room to score the first six points, finally taking its first lead at the 5:40 mark after a driving score by Abby Jones.

The teams traded buckets on three straight possessions and a Hannah Wing free throw with 2:12 left in the third gave Haines a 36-35 lead with eight minutes to play.

Craig rallied back into the lead after scoring the first four points of the fourth period and held a 51-47 lead with 1:47 to play.

Jones then stepped in front of a pass and drove for a contested layup to cut the deficit back to just two points, 51-49, with 1:19 remaining.

But once again the Panthers held their ground, making 4 of 6 free throws down the stretch to earn a spot in the conference championship game at 3:30 p.m. today against Sitka.

Castle led Craig with 16 points, Owen added 14 and Liz Isaacs 11.

Jones and Hannah Wing each scored 21 points for Haines.

Haines faces Wrangell at 11:30 a.m. in the loser’s bracket.



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