The Crimson Bears swept Ketchikan for the 4A Southeast Conference title and a trip to state on Thursday night, but head coach Steve Potter and company had one big reason to stick around for Saturday night's 3A/4A crossover game - sweet, sweet revenge.
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team avenged last season's homecourt crossover loss to 3A Petersburg with a 69-59 spanking of the Vikings Saturday that featured a 20-point Bears lead after three quarters.
Petersburg defeated Wrangell 51-34 in Thursday's 3A SEC title game to take their fourth straight trip to the state tournament and the crossover matchup. The Bears' win marked the third time in those four years that they have toppled the Vikings in the Saturday night contest, with the exception being last season's 61-59 overtime upset at JDHS that featured 14 lead changes. That win marked Petersburg's first outright SEC championship since 1971.
The final game of the four-day 2009 Southeast Conference Basketball Tournament did not tip off until after 9 p.m., but a full crowd sided heavily with the underdog Petersburg team as it jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead behind a three-pointer and two free throws from 5-foot-7 guard Jon Mazzella.
Mazzella would go on to rack up a game-high 27 points, including a trio of three pointers in the Vikings' losing effort.
JDHS Junior Cody Grussendorf and senior Corey Mahar responded to the Petersburg run, though, by each forcing steals and then scoring off consecutive Vikings possessions. The quick series pulled the Bears even at 9-9. After a frantic run of swapping baskets, JHDS junior guard Reese Saviers finally gave his team their first lead at 16-15 on a deep three-pointer from the top of the key. Mazzella answered with a three of his own, but junior post Paul Tupou answered for Juneau-Douglas to end the first period tied 18-18.
The Bears quickly took control in the second period when Saviers was fouled on another three-point attempt and converted all three free throws to kick off a 15-4 JDHS run. Five different Bears scored in the stretch, with only a pair of spinning layups from Mazzella breaking the streak. A putback from sophomore Colin Gozelski eventually gave Juneau-Douglas a 35-26 advantage at the half.
The Vikings scored the first five points of the third quarter, pulling within three points after a pair of free throws from Kevin Akers. JDHS responded with an 19-1 run of their own, though, that was capped by a pair of long-range bombs from senior Sean Bavard and an old-fashioned three-point play from Saviers. Paul Dupree finally hit just Petersburg's second field goal of the quarter to close the scoring with the Vikings down 54-34.
Petersburg managed to slowly creep back into contention in the fourth quarter, as a two-and-a-half-minute 14-3 run briefly pulled the Vikings back within single digits at 66-57. Mazzella's steal and breakaway layup with little more than a minute remaining capped the run, but Potter brought his starters back onto the floor for the next series to seal the win.
Grussendorf and Saviers led the Bears offense with 12 points apiece. Gross chipped in 11, while Bavard added nine. Senior Alex Fagerstrom, Gozelski and sophomore big man Jazz King each tossed in six apiece for JDHS.
Petersburg big man Jordan Birchell chipped in 12 points behind Mazzella's effort, while Akers added 11.
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