Juneau Boys lose to Wasilla 45-43

State Tournament Semifinals

Posted: Friday, March 21, 2003

ANCHORAGE - The Wasilla Warriors rallied from a 12-point third-quarter

deficit to defeat the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boys basketball squad,

45-43, in the state tournament semifinals Friday night.

The loss ends Juneau's hopes to make it to its second consecutive state

championship game. The Crimson Bears lost to Bartlett in the state final

last year.

Juneau built an early lead and held a 10-point advantage going into the

halftime break, 28-18.

The Crimson Bears extended that lead to 12 points, 32-20, with 5:44 left in

the third before Wasilla's 7-foot center, Ray Schafer, came alive

offensively and keyed a 8-0 run.

Juneau still led by six, 38-32, going into the fourth quarter, but the

Crimson Bears only managed five points in the final period while Schafer and

Buddy Bailey combined for eight by themselves to lead Wasilla to victory.

Juneau had several unsuccessful attempts to tie or win the game in the

closing seconds, culminating in Joe Ayers running three-point attempt at the

buzzer.

Wasilla coach Jason Marvel said he challenged his players at halftime to

make a run.

"We were all hanging our heads, with long faces, and I told them...

adversity is a good thing. It (gives the chance) to show tremendous

character, and that's what we did."

Juneau senior Byron Wild was injured with 3:52 left in the third quarter

after hitting the floor hard while trying to grab a rebound. He appeared to

suffer a cut on the back of his head and was taken to a hospital for

treatment, but no further details were available Friday night.

Last year, it was Juneau that rallied for a 59-56 overtime win over Wasilla

in the state tourney semifinals. That history left the Crimson Bears

anticipating another down-to-the-wire game.

"The past three, four years we've had some really close battles," Juneau

senior Bryan Hamey said after the game. "We were expecting a good game, and

they got the better of us tonight."

Juneau will advance to play the winner of Friday night's late game between

Bartlett and Colony at 11:20 a.m. Saturday.

Wasilla will face the winner of that late game for the state title Saturday

night.

Look in Sunday's Juneau Empire for more details on Friday night's game, as

well as complete coverage of Saturday's Juneau boys game and highlights of

Class 3A games featuring the Craig boys, Petersburg boys, Petersburg girls

and Mount Edgecumbe girls.

Andrew Krueger can be reached at akrueger@juneauempire.com.



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