Playing to the end

Bears lose hard-fought battle to Dimond

Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Dimond closed with an 11-0 run to pull away from a gritty, determined Juneau-Douglas in Monday's 4A boys' basketball state tournament consolation round, ending the Crimson Bears' season 64-45 at Sullivan Arena.

Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire

"We played hard today, and I liked our effort top to bottom," JDHS coach Steve Potter said. "Things didn't go our way and we had a lot of trouble making shots. We had good looks, open looks, and our pressure did disrupt them, but the ball just didn't bounce our way.

"Little, teeny breakdowns added up to lay-ups for them, and they played well."

The Bears shot just 15-for-56 for 27 percent, while Dimond shot 49 percent, 25 of 51.

Senior forward Paul Tupou cut the Dimond lead to single digits, 49-41, to start the fourth quarter, and senior guard Alex DeRocher buried his sixth 3-pointer to make it 53-44 with 4:32 remaining.

Sophomore center Evan Gross made a free throw before fouling out to further cut into the deficit, but 6-foot-7 Dimond center Ryden Hines ended up being the difference with his 25 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Lynx. Hines was 11-for-17 from the field.

"I thought our kids really stepped up," Dimond coach Rob Galosich said. "(DeRocher) was hurting us with his outside shooting, but we adjusted the zone and took away their inside looks. Our kids did a really good job keeping them down.

"I thought our big kid is just a lot better than their big kids, and he really played well today."

Dimond crashed the offensive glass early in building a 10-2 lead, with all five buckets coming inside, three on stickbacks. The Bears got back into it after Tupou scored inside and DeRocher found his range, burying a triple from the wing to make it 10-7, Dimond.

The Lynx reeled off six straight after a timeout, but DeRocher stuck another 3-pointer from the corner to make it 16-10, Lynx. Hines countered with a 3-point play, and Dimond led 23-12 after one quarter of play.

The teams traded baskets early in the second quarter, and a 3-pointer by DeRocher cut the deficit to 7, 25-17, at the midway point. Another DeRocher triple made it 28-20, Dimond, at the 1:35 mark, but the Lynx went right back inside, and led 30-24 at the break after four straight free throws by junior forward Gozelski.

The Lynx pulled back out by 10 early in the third quarter, but six straight points by the Bears, including a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Lance Ibesate on a kick out by Tony Yadao, brought JDHS within four, 36-32, midway through the period.

But Dimond had an answer every time the Bears made a run, going inside for easy buckets. Hines scored six straight to push the lead back to 10, 42-32, though DeRocher again splashed a triple to make it 42-35.

Junior guard Dylan Lauwers scored four straight, followed by a pull-up jumper by Jake Hurst, to make it 49-35, Lynx, and Dimond led by 10 heading into the fourth.

Potter said he was pleased with the way the season ended after a rough start, with the Bears upsetting Ketchikan in the region tournament to earn the lone Southeast Conference state bid. The Kings went 7-1 in conference during the regular season, but the Bears won 2 of 3 when it mattered most.

"I like our outlook down the road, but I really enjoyed this group of kids," he said. "They got along well together - they bickered a little bit when things weren't going well, but they stuck together as a team, and that's important."

Potter said young guys like Gross, Alec Calloway, Ibesate and Yadao, all sophomores, and freshman Phillip Fenumiai gained invaluable experience after all played at Sullivan Arena on the big stage.

"It's something you can't simulate. Playing in the arena here is different than anywhere else. It's a different feeling," he said. "Our young guys got some opportunities.

"I think we decided coming into the tournament that Alex and Colin were the only two guys who had ever scored in the state tournament before, so we gained some experience and we'll see how they go on," Potter continued. "It's the end of the line for the seniors, but the team will keep going."

DeRocher said he was happy to make one last trip to Anchorage with the basketball team.

"It's disappointing to come up here (and not win), but I don't regret anything. It's an awesome feeling to come back (to state)," he said. "I came last year and loved it, so I wanted it that much more. When we were facing Ketchikan and we beat them the first night, we were like, 'Wow, we can really do this.' My hopes were high.

"I was just happy that we beat them," he continued. "They might have deserved it, but we hung in there and beat them, so we were deserving, too."

JDHS - Ibesate 1-5 0-0 3, Gozelski 1-9 4-4 6, Yadao 0-4 2-2 2, Wilson 0-3 0-0 0, Fenumiai 0-1 0-0 0, DeRocher 7-24 0-0 20, Wheat 0-0 0-0 0, Calloway 1-1 0-0 2, Gross 0-0 1-2 1, Sele 1-2 1-2 3, Tupou 4-7 0-0 8. TOTALS 15-56 8-10 45.

DIMOND - Jack-Nixon 2-4 5-6 9, Lauwers 4-13 1-1 9, Romo 0-1 0-0 0, Samuels 2-4 1-2 5, Bolling 0-1 0-0 0, Hurst 1-3 0-0 2, Bennett 2-2 0-2 4, Adams 2-5 0-2 4, Hines

11-17 3-3 25, Carter 1-1 2-4 4, Phillips 0-0 1-2 1, Hueners 0-0 1-2 1. TOTALS 25-51 14-24 64.

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