It was a tale of two halves for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team on Thursday.
But Juneau's good second half couldn't help the Crimson Bears overcome their 21-point deficit from a bad first half as Juneau lost its second game of the season, 64-60 to the Class 3A Barrow Whalers in the first round of the Service Cougar Tip-Off Classic at Anchorage's Service High School.
"In the first half, we gave up 46 points," Juneau coach George Houston said. "In the second half, we figured we'd play some defense and they got 18. We were very soft defensively in the first half. We allowed ourselves to get screened."
Juneau (0-2) jumped out to a 9-6 lead to open the game. But, led by Dominick Lozano, the Whalers went on a 12-0 run to take an 18-9 advantage late in the first quarter. Barrow led 25-18 at the end of the period and, keyed by some long 3-pointers by Matt Gueco off the bench, the Whalers increased their advantage to 46-25 at halftime.
"It wasn't real pleasant," Houston said of his halftime talk. "I was really disappointed in our effort and intensity on the defensive end. We got after it in the second half, but we couldn't get over the hump. We dug ourselves too big a hole."
In the second half, Juneau started to rally. The Crimson Bears scored the first seven points of the third quarter and their defense, led by Tres Saldivar off the bench, held Barrow to just five points for the period, closing the gap to 51-38 at the end of the quarter.
Juneau continued to chip away at Barrow's lead in the fourth quarter, finally bringing it to single-digits with 5 minutes, 58 seconds left when Alex Heumann scored to make it 53-44. The margin was still eight points with about two minutes left to play when Heumann made a 3-pointer with 1:55 left. Then Saldivar was fouled on the inbounds play, and he made one of two free throws to cut the lead to 62-57 with 1:55 still on the clock. Rob Carte was fouled 11 seconds later and hit one of two free throws to make it 62-58.
Juneau started fouling and Barrow missed two front ends of one-and-one free-throw attempts. But the next time the Crimson Bears fouled, Gueco made both shots to put Barrow up 64-58. Saldivar was fouled taking a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left and made two of his three free-throw shots to close the lead to 64-60. The Crimson Bears fouled Lozano with 10 seconds left, and he missed both shots to give Juneau one last chance. But Larry Cooper missed a 3-pointer, got his own rebound and missed a second shot as time expired.
Lozano scored 23 points to lead Barrow, which made 7-of-9 3-point shots, while Gueco added 14. Heumann scored 24 points to lead Juneau, while Josh Monagle had 14 points and Tom Derbesy scored eight.
Juneau plays at 5 p.m. today against the Class 2A Point Hope-Tikigaq Harpooners, an 80-28 loser to Service on Thursday. In Thursday's other games, Heritage Christian Schools beat West Hills (San Diego) 63-44 and East Anchorage knocked off Wasilla 57-44.
If Juneau wins today, it will play at 5 p.m. Saturday against the winner of today's Wasilla vs. West Hills (San Diego) game. If Juneau loses, the Crimson Bears play at 3:15 p.m. against the Wasilla-West Hills loser. The Juneau games will be broadcast locally on KINY radio, 800-AM.
"I told the guys we've got to play like we did in the second half for the full 32 minutes, day-in and day-out," Houston said. "We'll find out tomorrow if we can do it. Point Hope is smaller than Barrow, but they shoot the ball well. We've got to get the ball inside and work with our big men. ...
"From one half to the next, we did better. We're not a real talented team, so we need to play really hard and be focused. We've got a long ways to go, but it's still early yet. It's just baby steps. We've got to keep plugging along."
WHALERS 64, CRIMSON BEARS 60
Thursday's game from Service High School
(first names not available for all Barrow players)
BARROW (64) - Lampe 2 0-0 6, Matt Gueco 4 3-3 14, Pico 0 0-0 0, Miller 3 1-2 7, Russell 0 0-0 0, Nayuk Leavitt 3 0-1 6, Dominick Lozano 9 3-7 23, Fritz Frier 1 0-0 2, Harley Danner 3 0-0 6, Hugo 0 0-0 0, Itta 0 0-0 0. Totals: 25 7-13 64.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (60) - Larry Cooper 0 0-2 0, Norman Zura 0 0-0 0, Scott Lesh 1 0-0 3, Thomas Derbesy 3 1-4 8, Tres Saldivar 0 3-5 3, Luke Miller 0 0-0 0, Clae Baker 0 0-0 0, Alex Heumann 8 5-5 24, Rob Carte 0 2-4 2, Mychal Hutcherson 0 0-0 0, Josh Monagle 5 4-5 14, Kyle Huntsman 1 2-3 4, David Jones 0 0-0 0, Andrew Capacci 0 0-0 0, Adam Nelson 1 0-1 2. Totals: 19 17-29 60.
BARROW 25 21 5 13 - 64
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 18 7 13 22 - 60
3-point goals - Barrow 7 (Gueco 3, Lozano 2, Lampe 2), Juneau-Douglas 5 (Heumann 3, Lesh 1, Derbesy 1). Fouled out - Barrow 1 (Miller), Juneau-Douglas 1 (Saldivar). Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Barrow 25, Juneau-Douglas 16.