Dryden boys, girls hoopsters win 2008 Fastbreak tourney

Dryden boys, Haines girls take home B bracket titles

Posted: Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Floyd Dryden Middle School boys' "A" team already had the height, the fast-paced offense and a perfect record. On Saturday night they showed they had plenty of heart as well.

Dave Martin / The Associated Press
Dave Martin / The Associated Press

Twin towers Jeff Pusich, at 6-foot-3, and Phillip Fenumiai, at 6-foot-1, helped their team wrap up an unbeaten season and the 16th annual Fastbreak Tournament Boys A Bracket title, leading a comeback charge to edge past an inspired and scrappy Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School team, 31-28.

DHMS, whose tallest players stood chin-high to Pusich, controlled the tempo and the scoreboard into the third quarter, and appeared ready to break their five-game losing streak to FDMS this season.

The Dryden squad managed to pull within 14-13 with two minutes left in the first half by unleashing a full-court press, but appeared to tire against the hard-charging Dzantik'i team and entered half-time down 20-13.

The big guys found their touch in the third, though, as Pusich muscled his way to a lay-up and Fenumiai hit the team's "glue guy" Kyle Gould on a long outlet pass to pull within 22-20. The defense also stiffened for Dryden, as Pusich and Fenumiai each blocked a shot and DHMS managed just a single score in the third.

"Jeff's been our human eraser all season," Dryden coach Robert Casperson said. "He makes up for any mistakes from our guards by blocking a lot of those shots without swinging his arms and picking up fouls."

Dryden finally picked up its first lead of the game in the fourth, as a lay-up from Fenumiai pushed the score to 25-24 with 4:20 to play. Pusich took over the game from there, as he picked up a block, two big rebounds and a couple of tough buckets to extend his team's lead to 31-28 with two minutes left.

FDMS switched to a stalling offense to try to kill the clock, but DHMS picked up a steal with a chance to pull closer. Fittingly, Pusich ended the game with a block and a desperation three-pointer fell short at the end for Dzantik'i.

The annual tournament packed Dzantik'i Heeni's gym for Saturday's finals with roughly 600 parents, fans and former players in the stands and even squeezing in along an open baseline.

"All these people is what makes this tournament special. I'd say there's nothing else like this in the state," Casperson said. "I work with the high school team, as well, and most schools are lucky to get this many people at a varsity game. There's just so many people who really get behind these kids and their teams. Where else can 12-, 13- or 14-year-olds play in front of 600 people?"

This year's tournament was sponsored by the Hooptime, Fastbreak and Rebounders basketball clubs.

• Contact Sports editor Trent Makela at 523-2228 or sports@juneauempire.com.


Fastbreak Tournament awards

Boys A Bracket Awards

1st place: Floyd Dryden

2nd place: Dzantik'i Heeni

3rd place: Schoenbar

Sportsmanship: Sitka

MVP: Phillip Fenumiai, Floyd Dryden

Defensive MVP: Jeff Pusich, Floyd Dryden

All Tourney Team: Fenumiai, FDMS; Keith Ainsworth, DHMS; Jackson Lehnhart, DHMS; John Dela Cruz, Sitka; Brian Anger, Schoenbar; Melvin Guthrie, Schoenbar; Kyle Gould, FDMS; Brian Way, Sitka; Sam John, FDMS; Vili Tupou, FDMS.

Girls A Bracket Awards

1st place: Dzantik'i Heeni

2nd place: Floyd Dryden

3rd place: Sitka

Sportsmanship: Sitka

MVP: Esra Siddeck, Dzantik'i Heeni

Defensive MVP: Eyerus Tingley, Dzantik'i Heeni

All Tourney Team: Siddeck, DHMS; Kayla Balovich, DHMS; Sophia Mudry, Sitka; Janelle Staveland, FDMS; Brin Greaves, Ketch.; Marissa Brakes, DHMS; Faith Clard, Ketch.; Gabby Fenumiai, FDMS; Sabrina Gamble, Sitka; Katie Tarver, FDMS.

Boys B Bracket Awards

1st place: Floyd Dryden

2nd place: Haines

3rd place: Yakutat

Sportsmanship: Yakutat

MVP: Ben Jahn, Floyd Dryden

Defensive MVP: Billy Brown, Yakutat

All Tourney Team: Jahn, FDMS; Isaiah Nauales, Schoenbar; Andrew Williamson, DHMS; Austin Hotch, Haines; Matt Seymour, FDMS; Justin Swinton, Haines; Westley Porter, Yakutat; Joey Inman, Sitka; Edwin Erickson, Hoonah; Alex Soboleff, FDMS.

Girls B Bracket Awards

1st place: Haines

2nd place: Dzantik'i Heeni

3rd place: Floyd Dryden

Sportsmanship: Sitka

MVP: Syerra Braaten, Haines

Defensive MVP: Rachel Doogan, Dzantik'i Heeni

All Tourney Team: Braaten, Haines; Kimberly Kelly, FDMS; Alisha Young, Haines; Tanessa Ashenfetter, Yakutat; Michaela Demmert, DHMS; Isa Ramel, Sitka; Brittany Jack, Hoonah; Tori Fogg, DHMS; Cheyenne Elkis, Yakutat; Nadine Fraker, Yakutat.

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