Once again, the Crimson Bears are Anchorage bound.
A late 9-1 run propelled Juneau-Douglas to a 61-53 win over archrival Ketchikan on Friday in another classic Southeast Conference clash in the 4A boys’ bracket championship of the Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament in Juneau.
Chas Allen banked a shot high off the glass with about two minutes remaining to make it a 50-48 game, and the Bears’ Lance Ibesate answered with a runner in the lane the other way to start the Bears’ big push.
Tony Yadao got a steal and a free throw, and then Ryan Baldwin put back a missed free throw to push JDHS ahead 55-48. Allen was fouled on a 3-pointer but he made just one free throw and Baldwin got another stickback. Two more free throws for JDHS essentially put the game out of reach with less than 20 seconds to play.
Junior Alec Calloway added insult to injury for the Kings by swatting away Allen’s last-gasp 3-pointer at the buzzer, the crowd went crazy and the Crimson Bears celebrated.
“In the timeout we all just stopped and talked about how we’ve already lost to them by two points in a really close game, and that irritated us,” senior forward Colin Gozelski said of the Bears’ key run. “We said, ‘We’re five minutes away from winning the game, let’s give it all we got, and let’s cut down these nets and win the Southeast.’”
JDHS coach Steve Potter credited the Bears’ defensive effort and overall balance. Ten different players got into the scoring column for JDHS, led by Gozelski’s 16 points. Yadao and Ibesate scored 10 each, and Baldwin added eight.
“(Ketchikan) made some tough shots and they made us look silly a couple of times, but I think it wore on them down the stretch and at the end of the game, we were still big,” Potter said. “Baldwin came up huge down the stretch and I thought Colin played his best game of the year, Lance and Tony were very good. I thought top to bottom, everybody contributed.”
Gozelski also saluted the raucous crowd that rocked the gym for giving the Bears a boost.
“We loved it. We’re 4-0 here and 0-2 there (in Ketchikan), so the crowd has something to do with it,” he said. “You have to love the crowd; both sides. Ketchikan brought like a hundred people to cheer for them. It was a loud gym with no open seats, and you’ve got to love that for a regional.”
Both teams came out firing in the early going, with Allen knocking down a long jumper to start things off. Yadao answered the other way with a 3-pointer from the top of the key for the Bears’ first lead.
Allen hit a free throw and Gozelski scored after two Juneau-Douglas offensive rebounds. Jesse Lindgren went to the cup for a deuce and Allen stuck a triple from the right side. Yadao then buried another 3-pointer to tie the game at 8-all as the teams traded blows back and forth.
Ketchikan finished off the first with a 9-2 run after Lindgren and Allen went straight to the basket for scores, and the Kings made seven straight free throws for a 19-10 lead, but JDHS senior Nino Crisostomo got a stickback to make it a 19-12 game after a quarter.
“I was nervous because whenever we beat them in one game, the next one is always really close,” Gozelski said. “I though we got kind of fat and happy there in the first quarter, but then we came back and made a good push to win the game.”
The teams traded scores to start the second period, and two straight JDHS buckets inside cut into the deficit. Ibesate found Gozelski wide-open underneath the basket for a score, and an Eddie Hurtte jumper tied the game at 25-25 at the 4:55 mark.
Lindgren regained the lead for the Kings with a tip-in the other way, and two free throws by Alex Williams pushed Ketchikan ahead by 3, 29-26.
But it was all Crimson Bears over the final two minutes of the first half.
De’Andre “Jazz” King scored inside and then Yadao made the play of the night, driving and whipping a behind-the-back pass to King for an old-fashioned 3-point play, again sending the crowd into a frenzy. Baldwin then got a score inside and Juneau-Douglas went into the locker room with a 33-29 lead at the break.
Ketchikan oustscored Juneau-Douglas 10-9 in the third quarter.
Allen led the Kings with 15 points and Lindgren added 15.