ANCHORAGE -- The Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears shook off some first-game tournament jitters and came away with a 51-38 win over the Colony Knights on Thursday.
The win put the Juneau boys into tonight's Class 4A state tournament semifinal against the Wasilla Warriors. Tipoff is 9 p.m. in Anchorage's Sullivan Arena. Wasilla defeated Lathrop 71-62 Thursday in a double-overtime thriller.
In Thursday's other boys 4A games, the top-seeded Bartlett Golden Bears barely got by an upstart Kenai team 71-70, while Dimond knocked off Chugiak 51-45.
Bartlett plays Dimond at 7:15 tonight in the semifinals, while the consolation bracket features Kenai vs. Chugiak at 11:30 a.m. followed by Lathrop vs. Colony at 1:15 p.m.
"It feels good, very good, just one more win to go and we're in the big show," Juneau's Curtis Lane said. "We didn't want to lose. You can't come in here the No. 2-ranked team in the state and go out just like that."
After a couple of early turnovers, the Bears got on the scoreboard first on a basket by Lane. They went ahead 11-2, before the Knights got their offense going and closed to within 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. Colony continued to chip away at the Bears in the second quarter, outscoring Juneau 10-6. Juneau went into the locker room with a 21-19 halftime lead.
The Bears came out hot in the second half and went ahead 32-24 on the 3-pointer by Sterling Henderson, but Colony came back again. The Knights' Clay Hotchkiss scored five points in the final 2:30 of the third quarter and teammate Jason Christensen made a basket with 11 seconds remaining to give Colony a 33-32 lead.
The teams were deadlocked at 35, with a little over five minutes to go, when Bryan Hamey sank two of his biggest 3-pointers of the season to give Juneau a 41-35 advantage. The Bears then stiffened their defense, holding Colony to just five points and two buckets in the final quarter.
"It feels great, we were pretty pumped up for the game," Hamey said, "We came out kind of soft and didn't rebound very well, but we picked it up in the second half. I shot with confidence."
"The initial thing was we kind of went individual in the third quarter," head coach George Houston said. "That cost us the lead when they made that run at us. And then Bryan got us back out there a little bit. I thought he was huge. I thought he had some very good minutes for us."
Lane led the Crimson Bears in scoring with 12 points, while Hamey and Byron Wild each added nine points. Wild also had a team-leading nine rebounds. Ryan Monagle scored seven points with three steals, and Junior Cumlat had five points with four assists and two steals.
Brandon Hyslip had a double-double for Colony with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Hotchkiss also scored 10, while Antoine Spencer scored seven for the Knights.
"You gotta give all the credit to Juneau," Colony head coach Phil Engebretsen said. "They got the defensive stops and they made the big shots when it counted. In the fourth quarter of tight games, players have to make plays and I think the Juneau kids did that. Hamey's threes were huge and they extended that lead. And we missed a couple easy put-backs, then all of sudden it's a six-, eight-point game."
Juneau shot just 35.6 percent from the field and was 14 for 22 in free-throw attempts. But the Bears biggest problem was on the glass, where Colony outrebounded Juneau 39-28. It was the third time Juneau defeated the Knights this season.
"I thought we just got annihilated on the boards," Houston said. "I mean they just really kicked us at the offensive end. We've got to do a better job with whoever we play tomorrow, because they're both bigger than Colony and both as aggressive."
"We didn't play as well as we wanted to. But we have to give that to Colony because they played really tough," Cumlat said.
"Juneau made the plays, they made the shots, they made the free throws and they got the stops and made it very difficult for us to score," Engebretsen said. "We knew that coming in, because one thing they do every year is play good defense."
Tonight's game against Wasilla pits two teams that split their season series. The Bears defeated the Warriors 66-59 in the opening game of the East Anchorage's T-Bird Classic on Jan. 24. Wasilla edged Juneau 50-47 in an endowment game in Wasilla on Feb. 9, a game which did not count in the official team records.
Wasilla is looking for revenge for the Bears knocking off the Warriors in the first round of the state tournament two years ago.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 51, KNIGHTS 38
Thursday's boys Class 4A state tourney game
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (51) -- Julius Cumlat 2-4 1-2 5, Joseph Ayers 2-8 0-2 4, Ryan Monagle 3-7 1-3 7, Sterling Henderson 1-2 0-0 3, Alex Heumann 0-0 0-0 0, Nikolas Hura 0-0 0-0 0, Bryan Hamey 2-5 3-4 9, Craig Kitka 0-2 2-2 2, Curtis Lane 4-11 2-3 12, Byron Wild 2-4 5-6 9, Jacob Miller 0-2 0-0 0, Ray Zimmer 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-45 14-22 51.
COLONY (38) -- Landon Swank 1-7 0-0 2, Joe Reza 1-4 1-2 3, Jake Manasco 0-0 0-0 0, Clay Hotchkiss 4-6 0-0 10, Spencer Erickson 0-0 0-0 0, Justin Coffman 0-2 2-2 2, James Rose 0-1 0-0 0, Antoine Spencer 3-8 0-1 7, Jason Christensen 2-7 0-1 4, Randy Hooser 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Hyslip 5-12 0-0 10, Dan McBride 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 16-47 3-6 38.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 15 6 11 19 -- 51
COLONY 9 10 14 5 -- 38
3-point goals -- Juneau-Douglas 5-14 (Hamey 2-3, Lane 2-7, Henderson 1-1, Cumlat 0-1, Monagle 0-2), Colony 3-10 (Hotchkiss 2-3, Spencer 1-2, Swank 0-2, Christensen 0-3). Rebounds -- Juneau-Douglas 28 (Wild 9, Hamey 4), Colony 39 (Hyslip 10, Swank 5, Reza 5). Assists -- Juneau-Douglas 8 (Cumlat 4, Miller 2, Hamey 2), Colony 4 (four tied with one each). Turnovers -- Juneau-Douglas 9 (Cumlat 3), Colony 18 (Coffman 5, Spencer 3). Blocked shots -- Juneau-Douglas 2 (Hamey 1, Wild 1), Colony 0. Steals -- Juneau-Douglas 12 (Monagle 3, Kitka 3, Cumlat 2, Lane 2), Colony 7 (Rose 2, Spencer 2). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Juneau-Douglas 12, Colony 16.