ANCHORAGE - For the second-straight season the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team's quest for a state title ended prematurely.
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Colony rallied from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit to upset the Crimson Bears 54-51 at Service High School in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
"They wanted it more. It was evident from the get," Juneau-Douglas senior Will Egolf said. "They came out and we didn't pay attention to details. We were just here acting like we were going to roll over them like we usually have been. But they were definitely underestimated and we're overrated."
The Knights' Doug Gray hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 24 seconds left in regulation. Gray's shot from the top of the key capped a furious comeback from a double-digit deficit.
"We're excited," Gray said. "We felt like we could beat them and we went out and executed. We came back in the end and didn't give up."
After Ryan Coffman hit two free throws to give Colony a three-point lead, Egolf narrowly missed a potentially game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.
As the buzzer sounded, Colony celebrated while the Crimson Bears (21-4) were left disappointed.
"We didn't do what we needed to do," JDHS coach Steve Potter said. "We didn't execute the way we prepared. The pressure wasn't a surprise. We knew it was coming. Details - going 0-for-6 from the free-throw line is a pretty telling detail. They were 15-for-17. There's your game right there."
Though the Knights didn't possess Juneau's height, Colony dictated the game's tempo with a frantic, trapping defense.
The Knights (17-11) dove and scrapped for loose balls, never giving the Crimson Bears time to relax.
"We base a lot of our stuff on that," Gray said of his team's energy. "It gets us going and we feed off each other."
Ahead 24-23 after an uneven first half, Juneau-Douglas took control. The Crimson Bears knocked down three 3-pointers in the third quarter, the last one coming from Dominique Brinson as time expired to give JDHS a 45-33 advantage.
"When we were down 12 points, I thought that would be a great time some teams would say, 'I quit,'" Colony coach Jeff Bowker said. "That's not the way we play because we go through that. We have runs."
The fourth quarter became a painful switch in momentum as Colony battled back.
As Coffman and Jaron Murphy scored in transition for the Knights, JDHS struggled with Colony's defensive pressure.
The Bears had 24 turnovers to Colony's 12 in the quarterfinal.
"That pressure wears on you," Potter said. "Maybe we needed another timeout to calm down but that didn't seem to work well for us because I think we turned the ball over after every single one."
Clae Baker scored with 1:30 left to give JDHS a 51-47 lead. After two Gray free throws trimmed Juneau's lead to two with 39 seconds left, Colony forced the Bears to turn the ball over on the ensuing possession to set up Gray's clutch shot.
While the Crimson Bears felt saddened by the defeat, Egolf credited the Knights' tenacity.
"Height really doesn't matter. They're mentally tough," Egolf said of Colony. "They wouldn't be here if they couldn't do that to us. They're going to go far. No matter what their size is, they've got heart."
Baker led the Bears with 14 points, nine rebounds while Egolf had 10 points six boards, six blocked shots and three steals.
JDHS will take on Lathrop at 11:20 a.m. today in the consolation semifinals. The winner of today's game will play Saturday for fourth place.
Colony 54, JDHS 51
JDHS - 14 10 21 6 - 51
Colony - 10 13 10 21 - 54
JDHS (51) - Brinson 4-9 0-1 10; Saldivar 1-2 0-0 2; Ibesate 0-0 0-0 0; Larson 1-3 0-0 2; Clark 1-3 0-0 2; Beierly 2-4 0-0 4; Combs 0-1 0-0 0; Cook 2-3 0-0 5; Baker 7-13 0-4 10; Egolf 5-10 0-4 10; Levale 1-2 0-0 2.
Colony (54) - Zagars 0-3 0-0 0; Huggins 0-0 0-0 0; Murphy 2-11 3-4 7; Muron 0-0 0-0 0; Palmer 3-4 0-0 7; Scott 0-0 0-0 0; Niver 3-10 1-2 7; Gray 4-13 7-7 17; Coffman 4-8 4-4 12; Moseley 2-6 0-0 4.
3-point shots - JDHS 3-6 (Brinson 2, Cook), Colony 3-11 (Gray 2, Palmer).
Rebounds - JDHS 36 (Baker 9), Colony 31 (Coffman, Moseley 6).
Assists - JDHS 11 (Saldivar 4), Colony 9 (Murphy 4).
Free throws - JDHS 0-6, Colony 15-17.
Fouled out - None.
Fouls - JDHS 18, Colony 14.