The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team hasn't been the most hospitable of hosts since the creation of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.
The Crimson Bears have won 11 straight titles and 12 out of the 13 overall in the annual holiday tournament, with the only non-Juneau win coming back in 1992. The Crimson Bears will be seeking their 12th straight title when the 14th annual tournament tips off today.
"We've gotten better since we've started (practice), but it's still so early in the season," said Juneau boys coach George Houston, whose team is going through a rebuilding phase this year. "We'll find out how good we are during the tournament, especially with two Anchorage schools in the field."
The Juneau girls have been a little more gracious over the years, but they're also the defending champions and they've won six titles over the years. Last year's title was the first since 1999 for the Juneau girls.
Capital City Classic
Today's game schedule
North Kitsap girls vs. Nathan Hale, 1 p.m.
North Kitsap boys vs. Dimond, 3 p.m.
Juneau-Douglas girls vs. Chugiak, 6 p.m.
Juneau-Douglas boys vs. Service, 8 p.m.
All games at the JDHS main gym.
The tournament opens at 1 p.m. today with the North Kitsap Vikings of Poulsbo, Wash., playing the Nathan Hale Raiders of Seattle in a girls game at the JDHS main gym, followed by the North Kitsap boys vs. the Dimond Lynx at 3 p.m.
The Juneau girls open play at 6 p.m. tonight against the Chugiak Mustangs, while the Crimson Bear boys play the Service Cougars at 8 p.m. in tonight's finale. Tonight's games are the season-openers for both Juneau teams.
The tournament continues on Tuesday with the Chugiak girls vs. North Kitsap at 1 p.m. and the Service boys vs. North Kitsap at 3 p.m. The Juneau girls play Nathan Hale at 6 p.m. and the Crimson Bear boys play Dimond at 8 p.m.
Wednesday is a rest and relaxation day, as the visiting players will take a tour of Juneau in the early afternoon, then have a banquet and dance at night. The only event open to the public on Wednesday will be the skills contests, which take place at 4 p.m.
The round-robin tournament concludes on Thursday with the Nathan Hale girls playing Chugiak at 1 p.m. and the Dimond boys playing Service at 3 p.m. The Crimson Bear girls take on North Kitsap at 6 p.m. and the Juneau boys play North Kitsap at 8 p.m.
Since Juneau hasn't played yet, the players have been trying to get the scouting reports on the opposing teams. The boys have some familiarity with their opponents, though.
"We saw some of the Service kids at Houston's Hoop Camp," Juneau senior swingman Tommy Derbesy said, referring to the summer basketball camp hosted by JDHS boys coach George Houston. "We saw Dimond's team up at UAF (a team camp at the University of Alaska Fairbanks). They've got a good point guard with Warren Lewis and they've got some size."
"We talked to Josh (former JDHS player Josh Monagle, who now attends South Kitsap High in Port Orchard, Wash.) and they played North Kitsap in a jamboree down there," Juneau junior guard Luke Miller said. "He told us who to watch."
Ticket prices are available at the gym door and a tournament pass, good for all six two-game sessions, costs $25. The players also will be selling raffle tickets for $10 with the grand prize being $500 cash and a 7-day cruise for two (airfare not included) in the Caribbean or on the Mexican Riviera. The raffle tickets will be drawn during Thursday's Juneau games.
Full season previews on the two Juneau teams ran in Sunday's Juneau Empire sports section. Capsules on the visiting teams can be found below.
North Kitsap Vikings
Hometown: Poulsbo, Wash.
Current record: 2-2 overall, 2-0 in the Narrows League-Bridge Division.
2003-04 record and postseason: 6-14 overall, 4-10 league, no postseason.
Players to watch: Senior 6-foot-1 guard Jacob Gonzales (15 points a game, 3 assists last year), senior 6-5 post Ryan Young (11 points, 8 rebounds last year), senior 6-3 swingman Jared Prince (5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists last year), senior 5-11 guard Travis Tobin, senior 6-0 guard Jordan Henry.
Other players on the roster: Junior 5-10 guard Chris Zeringer, junior 6-1 swingman Kevin Masnayon, sophomore 6-7 post Eric Schippers, junior 6-2 post Jeff Ottele, sophomore 5-10 guard Mychal Harris, senior 6-2 post Dan Yee.
Notes and quotes: North Kitsap is picked to finish in the top four in its league this year, and two returning players were all-league team members last year, Nations wrote. ... "I think it is going to be a good bonding/team experience and it give us an idea what tournament play will be like." ... In a 60-56 victory over Bremerton on Dec. 17, Young scored 29 points, Gonzales had 19 and Prince added 10 to combine for 58 of the Vikings' 60 points. Henry was the only other player to score. ... North Kitsap lost its first two games - 71-61 to Henry Foss and 63-56 to Bellarmine Prep - but beat Gig Harbor 61-45 before its game with Bremerton.
Coach: Phil Jordan.
Current record: 1-2.
2003-04 record and postseason: Not available (Region IV).
Players to watch: Senior 6-0 guard Alfredo Herrera, junior 6-3 forward Evan Wasserman, junior 6-4 forward Sam Timmons, junior 6-5 center Mike Redlinger, senior 6-0 guard Bronson Aspen.
Other players on the roster: Junior 6-2 forward Spencer Cotten, junior 5-10 guard Sean Whitener, junior 5-10 guard Brandon Britt, sophomore 5-10 guard Markese Bookhard, freshman 6-5 center Nash Cotten, freshman 5-3 guard Marcus Lowe.
Notes and quotes: Service went 1-2 and took seventh place in its Cougar Tip-Off Classic that took place Dec. 16-18. The Cougars lost 48-40 to Lathrop, 66-46 to Mount Edgecumbe and beat Point Hope-Tikigaq 53-40. Timmons scored 16 points to lead Service in its win over Point Hope, a Class 2A team. ... "We are very young and inexperienced. We don't have any returning players off last year's team. We are waiting to see which players are going to develop into team leaders," Jordan wrote. ... Jordan is the first coach in Alaska prep basketball history to win titles with three different schools. He coached Service to the 1991 Class 4A title, Bartlett to the 1996 Class 4A title and Lumen Christi to last year's Class 2A championship. This is Jordan's first year back with the Cougars.
Coach: Rob Galosich.
Current record: 1-0.
2003-04 record and postseason: 11-11, fourth place in Region IV.
Players to watch: Senior 5-8 point guard Warren Lewis, senior 5-9 guard Prasad Dobbins, senior 6-3 forward Andrew Conley, senior 6-4 forward Conor Scott, junior 6-4 center Justin Ore.
Other players on the roster: Senior 5-10 guard Kyle Rochon, senior 6-3 swingman Andy Busch, senior 5-8 guard Joe Moran, senior 5-8 guard Janus Abello, junior 6-0 forward Tim Evans, senior 6-4 forward Tristan Davis, senior 5-11 forward Randy Johnson, junior 6-8 center Mike Anderson.
Notes and quotes: Dimond opened its season on Dec. 18 with a 65-60 victory over Wasilla, where Lewis hit five of six free throws in the final minutes and led the team with 29 points. Dimond led by 10 points after the first quarter and held similar leads until late in the game, when Wasilla pulled within four points. Ore added 18 points and Conley had 12 for the Lynx. ... "This is an exciting team, full of upside. We're looking to get better each game and, by April, be ready to challenge for it all. We are excited to be in Juneau. It is the absolute best in-state Xmas tournament. Juneau always provides an exciting basketball atmosphere we don't always see in Anchorage," Galosich wrote.
North Kitsap Vikings
Hometown: Poulsbo, Wash.
Coach: Dan Weedin.
Current record: 1-4 overall, 0-2 Narrows League-Bridge Division (Class 4A).
2003-04 record and postseason: 4-16 overall, no postseason.
Players to watch: Senior 5-11 center Katie Swanlund, junior 5-11 forward Jenna Reed, junior 5-9 forward Jasmine Hill, senior 5-7 guard Molly McCluskey, junior 5-6 guard Rachael Kramer.
Other players on the roster: Senior 5-9 post Kristen Sprague, senior 5-3 guard Val Palsdottir, junior 5-3 guard Katie West, junior 5-3 guard Ali Lydick, junior 5-5 guard Jessie Eadie.
Notes and quotes: The North Kitsap girls went 0-3 in the 2001 Capital City Classic. ... The Vikings won their season-opener 50-46 over North Mason High on Dec. 4, but since then have lost 44-41 to Bellarmine Prep, 57-45 to Henry Foss, 64-50 to Gig Harbor and 49-41 to Bremerton. Stats weren't available for the Bremerton game, but Swanlund scored 18 points, Sprague had 15 and Reed scored 11 in the loss to Gig Harbor, and McCluskey scored 16 points in the loss to Henry Foss. ... "We have a very bright outlooks for this season. Last year we were a very young team with three sophomore starters (a grade 10-12 high school) and a total of five that lettered. Even though we lost 12 more games than we won, the average point differential at the end of the season was only six points a game, which shows we lost a lot of close games. .. We feel we have grown from that experience. During this past summer, we compiled a 32-19 overall record over summer league and tournaments," Weedin wrote.
Nathan Hale Raiders
Coach: Alvin Horn.
Current record: 2-5 overall, 1-5 Metro League-Sound Division (Class 3A).
2003-04 record and postseason: 6-14 overall, made city tournament and lost in first round.
Players to watch: Senior 5-8 forward Melissa Chandler (10 points a game last year), senior 5-11 post Naomi Tilden (8 points last year), senior 5-2 guard Samantha Andya (12 points last year), senior 5-7 guard Emma Ellis (4 points last year), junior 5-9 forward Elise Knutzen (6 points last year), sophomore reserve post Maia Pursell (10 points last year).
Other players on the roster: Junior 6-2 post Mariah McAfee, junior 5-3 guard Nikole Tran, sophomore 5-4 guard Julie Un, freshman 5-8 forward Cat Emma Shull, freshman 5-10 forward Amy Woolley, freshman 5-9 forward Leslie Geis.
Notes and quotes: The Metro League (Class 3A) in Seattle is considered one of the best leagues on the West Coast, with four to six teams annually making the state tournament, Horn wrote. "Our team is not one of the best teams in the league, but we play hard," added Horn, who wrote that Nathan Hale is picked to finish in the middle of the league standings. ... So far this season, Andya is the only player averaging in double-figures with 11.7 points a game. Tilden is averaging 6.4 points a game. ... The Raiders opened the season with a 49-39 victory over Interlake, lost 52-20 to Bishop Blanchet and edged Eastside Catholic 31-29. Since then, Nathan Hale has lost four straight, 50-37 to Lakeside, 55-34 to Ingraham, 74-31 to Rainier Beach and 85-34 to Chief Sealth. ... "Our teams through the years have had at least four to five 4.0 (GPA) students and we have a team GPA of 3.2. ... It's amazing what kids think in advance of the trip, they think of ice fishing in a hole, and they have been looking forward to this trip for a year," Horn wrote.
Hometown: Eagle River-Chugiak.
Coach: Tracy Adams.
Current record: 3-0 overall, 1-0 in Region IV.
2003-04 record and postseason: 19-8 overall, finished fourth at state.
Players to watch: Senior 6-1 post Kelsey Griffin, senior 6-0 forward Sarah Neuschwander, senior 5-7 guard Sara Courtright.
Other players on the roster: Senior 5-9 guard Lis DuCharme, senior 6-0 center Karly Viereck, senior 5-8 guard Danielle Campoamor, junior 5-11 forward Erin Murphy, sophomore 5-9 guard Ashley Finch, sophomore 5-6 guard Kyle Jennings.
Notes and quotes: Chugiak lost 49-39 to Juneau in the first round of last year's Class 4A state tournament, then went on to beat Service 52-33 and Colony 53-45. ... The Mustangs opened the season with a 62-22 victory over Soldotna and an 83-25 victory over Kenai, then returned home to beat Bartlett 63-48 on Dec. 17. Griffin, who will play basketball for Nebraska next year, has scored more 20 points in each game, including 26 against Bartlett. Neuschwander, who will play softball at Connecticut next year, scored eight points against Bartlett and Courtright had 10 points. ... "We are optimistic," Adams wrote about the upcoming season. "The team looks forward to playing the defending state champions (Juneau is defending state runner-up), as well as competition from Outside."
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.