In addition to uniforms and sneakers, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls basketball teams should bring their alarms clocks to Anchorage next week.
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Both teams will open play in the Alaska State Basketball Championships next week with a pair of morning contests.
The Crimson Bears boys (21-3), seeded second in the tournament, will take on seventh-seeded Chugiak (16-11) at 9:40 a.m. on Thursday, March 23, at the Sullivan Arena. The top-seeded and defending state champion JDHS girls (21-3) are slated to battle Homer (12-8) at 11:40 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22.
Coach Lesslie Knight's girls team has won 11 of their last 12 games en route to sealing the top seed.
In the Mariners, Juneau-Douglas faces a new opponent but a similar challenge. After having gone up against powerful centers like Sitka's Kim Dodson, Dimond's 6-foot-2 sisters Savannah and Shaina Afoa and Service's Sylvia Bullock, the Crimson Bears must contend with another towering post player.
to see the full state brackets, check out http://www.asaa.org, click on the march madness banner, then click on the brackets.
Homer features 6-foot-2 center Reba Temple, who scored 22 points in Friday's 47-38 semifinal win over Colony in the Northern Lights Conference tournament. The Mariners went on to place second in the conference, falling 52-43 to Wasilla on Saturday after taking a nine-point halftime lead in the title game.
Homer's Kayla Creamer scored 15 points in the final.
The two teams share three common opponents, which may provide insight into who has the edge come next week.
Homer lost by 15 points to Colony and 11 points to Wasilla in February while JDHS beat Wasilla three times this season and defeated Colony by four on Feb. 3. Both the Mariners and Crimson Bears topped Ketchikan this season.
The winner of next Wednesday's contest will take on either Colony or Dimond in the semifinals on March 24. In the other half of the bracket, Wasilla takes on East Anchorage while Cook Inlet Conference champion Service battles Mid-Alaska Conference winner North Pole on March 22.
In 3A Girls, Mt. Edgecumbe takes on Eielson on March 22 while Wrangell battles Barrow on March 22. Both games will take place at the Sullivan Arena.
Top-ranked Yakutat will face Tikigaq on March 21 at Service High School in the Class 2A girls quarterfinals while fellow Southeast Conference member Hoonah plays Bristol Bay later that night.
On the boys side, Juneau-Douglas faces an unknown commodity in the Mustangs.
The Crimson Bears are arguably playing their best basketball in the second half of the season, winning seven straight games and 16 of their last 17 contests.
Chugiak is also playing well as of late, having won four of its last six games with its only two defeats coming courtesy of top-ranked West Anchorage.
The Mustangs feature an array of proven scorers with Shane Ghramm, Brian Niedermeyer, Conor Spink and Justin Williams. More impressively, however, is how Chugiak battled late in the season.
The Mustangs defeated Bartlett 74-73 in overtime in the Cook Inlet Conference quarterfinals on Thursday as Ghramm knocked down a 3-pointer as time expired to force the extra period.
They followed up that win by knocking off Dimond 66-57 Friday to seal a place in Anchorage. The Mustangs hung tight with West before falling 71-59 in the conference title game. Chugiak trailed by just five points in the fourth quarter to the Eagles, who have won 41 straight games against in-state competition.
While the Bears and Mustangs haven't played each other, the two squads share an extensive list of common opponents.
Chugiak went 8-2 against Sitka, Lathrop, Bartlett, Service, and Dimond. The Mustangs losses came Jan. 31 to Service and Feb. 7 to Dimond.
JDHS went a perfect 9-0 against those five teams this season.
The winner the Juneau-Chugiak game next Thursday will take on either Wasilla or Colony in the semifinals on March 24. JDHS beat Wasilla in overtime on Dec. 27 and lost at Colony 59-57 in the first game of the season on Dec. 14.
In the other half of the bracket, West Anchorage takes on eighth-seeded Lathrop while Dimond faces Kodiak.
In 3A boys, Southeast champs Petersburg faces Eielson on March 22 while Mt. Edgecumbe takes on Barrow on March 23.
Kake faces Tikigaq at 8 a.m. on March 21 at Service High School in the Class 2A boys quarterfinals while Yakutat plays Cook Inlet Academy later that afternoon.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.