The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boys' basketball team has started the season 0-2 at the Don Larson Roundball Classic after they falling 69-50 to the Enumclaw (Wash.) Hornets on Tuesday in the round-robbin tournament in Wasilla.
After finishing the first quarter tied 9-9, the Hornets busted the game open in the second quarter, outscoring JDHS 22-8 in the period. The Bears played better in the second half, coach Steve Potter said, but couldn't climb back into the game.
"We were allowing their success to take away from our intensity. That's a natural thing when someone starts putting it to you, but we need to keep our focus and do what we were trying to do and get better," he said. "I thought in the second half we did a better job of dictating tempo."
The Bears did respond with 17 points coming out of the locker room in the third quarter on their way to a 33-point second half, but the Hornets stayed ahead of pace with 38 second-half points.
Colin Gozelski led all scorers with 18 points, while Victor Wilson was the next closest Bear with 7.
Juneau-Douglas plays Chugiak today at 1:45 p.m. The Mustangs lost to Enumclaw 65-43 in Monday tournamentaction.
Wasilla rolls in opener
The Crimson Bears did not open the season quite the way head coach Steve Potter envisioned - or hoped - they would.
The Juneau-Douglas boys' basketball team lost to Wasilla 63-56 in their season opener in the Doc Larson Roundball Classic at Wasilla High School.
After Juneau-Douglas led by 8 points at the half and 3 points entering the fourth period, Wasilla's Cody Pfeifer caught fire, netting 13 fourth-quarter points on his way to 36 for the game to lead all scorers.
"They just had a guy that we couldn't guard," Potter said. "It was pretty disappointing."
Potter said sometimes it's tough to defend a player that gets going like that, adding that Pfeifer at one point nailed a turnaround, fadeaway jump shot from the corner.
"One of our big guys was challenging and it hit nothing but the bottom of the net," he said. "If that's the shot we were going to give up, that's OK. I don't know how to defend that one."
For the Bears, sophomore Tony Yadao led scorers with 13 points off the bench, while Colin Gozelski paced the starters with 11 points, 7 coming at the free throw line.
Potter said there are always kinks to be worked out at the beginning of the season, especially with such an unproven roster.
"It was definitely a first-game thing. We lost a lot of responsibility from last year," he said. "We graduated some seniors and we had the kids that went out to Thunder Mountain - guys we had the opportunity to play in critical moments before - so guys that weren't used to playing in pressure situations were getting their first opportunity to do that."
The Bears posted 37 points in the first half after putting up 21 in the second quarter, but the second half was a different story as JDHS managed only 19 points combined. The Bears were outscored 19-9 in the fourth.
Wasilla started the game in a zone defense, which Potter said his team exploited early by hitting three 3-pointers in their first several offensive possessions, but Wasilla quickly changed to a man-to-man defense.
"I think we should have waited to be so effective," hechuckled.
Matthew Tynan can be reached at email@example.com.