The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team took advantage of a young and inexperienced East Anchorage lineup for a stunning 82-56 rout in the first day of the Princess Capital City Classic on Thursday.
The ease of The Crimson Bears' season-opening victory surprised more than the fans at the JDHS main gymnasium.
"I was definitely not expecting that," Crimson Bears head coach George Houston said. "They're missing one of their better players in (sophomore Derek) Laws and they lost a lot over the summer."
Last season, the Bears and Thunderbirds met twice at the JDHS gymnasium and both times East came away with overwhelming double-digit victories.
"I was surprised about East," junior center Byron Wild said. "That wasn't the East we saw last year."
Juneau senior co-captain Ryan Monagle led all scorers with 17 points, mixing up his game with slashing drives to the basket and effective outside shooting. Senior Curtis Lane scored 16 and showed off his sniper skills by draining five three-pointers.
The Crimson Bears, who never trailed in the game, overcame early-game jitters to take a 11-7 lead after the first quarter of play. The Thunderbirds closed to within 21-18 midway through the second quarter, but the Bears took charge from there.
Lane nailed two quick three-pointers then, and with the full-court press on, got a steal and dished off to junior Joe Ayers who ran the court and laid it in for a three-point play to bring the score to 30-18. Ayers and Monagle each followed with a pair of free throws to polish off a 13-0 run for the Bears.
Juneau capped off the first half with a 3-pointer by junior Sterling Henderson with 6.2 seconds remaining for a 44-25 halftime lead. But even though the Bears had a 19-point lead and held East to just seven baskets in the first half, some Juneau players felt they could be playing better.
"We weren't happy with our play in the first half," Wild said. "We didn't execute. We kind of felt we were down instead of winning. But we put it together in the third."
The Bears put the game out of reach in the third and their stifling defense held the Thunderbirds to just six points in the quarter, extending the lead to 65-33. Monagle hit two more shots and Lane drained two more three-pointers before both took a seat on the bench for the rest of the night.
"I wasn't thinking at all out there," Lane said. "Just playing hard and trying to do our best. I think we did pretty good. It wasn't our best game, but I think we'll improve as the season goes on."
The fourth quarter featured the Crimson Bears' future as coach Houston managed to find playing time for all of his players. Senior Ray Zimmer made the most of his reserve role by scoring six points and Alex Heumann added a trey in the quarter.
"It was nice to get everybody out there," Houston said. "Zimmer played really well and Laramie made a pass that I still don't know how he did it."
In all, 13 of the 16 Crimson Bears scored on the night. Ayers had 11 points, senior Craig Kitka scored eight and Wild added seven points. With the game well in hand early, it gave Houston several chances to experiment with his lineup.
"Ayers was very steady and very composed," Houston said. "We put him in the guard spot for more height. Bryan Hamey and Sterling (Henderson) also had some great plays."
Juneau's half-court defense was impressive, giving East few scoring chances. But the Thunderbirds did find some success running the ball and scored a majority of their baskets in transition.
"We did a good job blocking out," Houston said. "The kids were really excited early in the game. Now we just got to get them to play consistently through 32 minutes."
PRINCESS CAPITAL CITY CLASSIC
Thursday's boys scores
San Pedro 65, Mills 58
Juneau-Douglas 82, East Anchorage 56
Today's boys games
East Anchorage vs. Mills, 3 p.m.
Juneau-Douglas vs. San Pedro, 8 p.m.
Saturday's boys games
East Anchorage vs. San Pedro, 2 p.m.
Juneau-Douglas vs. Mills, 8 p.m.
"I thought we got off to a good start," Monagle said. "We'll play them again in a month and we'll see what happens then. I like how our tempo is more up-pace this year. It's more entertaining for the crowd and makes for a more exciting game."
The Crimson Bears outside shooting prowess was evident, racking up eight three-pointers from four different players, but their inside game was also quietly solid.
Juneau's big men -- Wild and senior Jake Miller battled hard in the paint, combining for 10 points and holding East's center Levai Ofiu to just four points.
"We have to have an inside presence," Houston said. "It's pretty physical. They've got to play through frustration and keep battling. Byron (Wild) in a large part is the key to our team. He's the longest and the tallest player we have."
The Thunderbirds were led by senior Ben Robinson and junior Johnathon Zucker with 11 points each and sophomore Dominic Delaney added 10.
"It was typical East basketball," East head coach Ray Ortiz said. "It was a good game, I enjoyed it. We needed sme tough games. I have a lot of respect for what Juneau tries to do. They put it right on you. They play hard and don't back down."
Tonight, Juneau continues play in the Princess Capital City Classic against the San Pedro Pirates at 8 p.m. San Pedro outlasts the Mills Vikings 65-58 in Thursday's early boys game.
"Tomorrow will be a challenge with San Pedro," Houston said. "They give you a lot of different looks."
Pirates 65, Vikings 58
Junior Roko Grbic scored 21 points on seven three-pointers to lead the San Pedro Pirates to a 65-58 win over the Mills Vikings in the boys' opener at the Princess Capital City Classic on Thursday.
Senior Ryan Johnson added 16 points for the Pirates who overcame a dismal five-point first quarter for the victory. Senior Jesse Valero and junior Joe Guestella score eight and seven points, respectively for San Pedro.
Mills junior Matt Sayler led all scorers with 29 points, including five three-pointers while senior teammate Adam Tafralis added 12 points to lead the Vikings.
Mills plays East Anchorage at 3 p.m. today while San Pedro takes on the Crimson Bears in the late game.
Jeff Kasper can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 82, THUNDERBIRDS 56
Thursday's game at Juneau-Douglas High School
EAST ANCHORAGE (56) -- Charleston Macon 1 1-2 3, Tony Wilson 1 0-1 2, Ben Robinson 5 1-1 11, Jordan Farkas 1 0-0 3, Jeremey Stewart 0 0-0 0, Dominic Delaney 4 1-2 10, Phillip Collins 0 3-4 3, Bennie Holt 4 0-2 9, Johnathon Zuker 2 7-8 11, Levai Ofiu 1 2-2 4. Totals: 19 15-22 56.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (82) -- Junior Cumlat 0 1-2 1, Joe Ayers 5 1-1 11, Ryan Monagle 6 5-7 17, Curtis Lane 5 1-2 16, Sterling Henderson 1 0-0 3, Alex Heumann 1 0-0 3, Nikolas Hura 0 0-1 0, Bryan Hamey 1 0-0 3, Craig Kitka 2 4-6 8, Josh Laramie 1 0-0 2, Byron Wild 3 1-2 7, Jake Miller 1 1-3 3, Ray Zimmer 2 2-3 6, Adam Nelson 0 0-0 0, Tommy Derbesy 0 0-1 0, David Jones 1 0-0 2. Totals: 29 16-28 82.
East ANCHORAGE 7 20 6 23 -- 56
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 33 21 17 -- 82
3-point goals -- East 3 (Farkas, Holt, Delaney), Juneau-Douglas 8 (Lane 5, Henderson, Heumann, Hamey). Fouled out -- East (Collins). Technical fouls -- East (Collins). Total fouls -- East 25, Juneau-Douglas 21.
PIRATES 65, VIKINGS 58
Thursday's game at Juneau-Douglas High School
Mills (58) -- Derek Wong 2 1-2 5, Adam Tafralis 6 0-1 12, Bill Vlahiotis 0 1-2 1, Jon Burroughs 0 0-0 0, Alex Kilhorn 0 0-0 0, Jeff Bilinski 1 0-0 3, Matt Sayler 12 0-0 29, Manase Fanaika 0 2-2 2, Nick Common 2 2-2 6, Chris Tillisch 0 0-0 0, Zanch Masterson 0 0-0 0.. Totals: 23 6-9 58.
SAN PEDRO (65) -- Brent Weber 1 0-2 3, Tykeno Miles 1 0-0 2, Ryan Johnson 7 2-4 16, Joe Gudstella 2 2-2 7, Houston Magee 0 1-3 1, James Givan 0 2-2 2, Robert Ellet 2 0-2 5, Roko Brbic 7 0-1 21, Jesse Valero 3 2-5 8, Rayomd Dillon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 9-21 65.
MILLS 12 17 13 16 -- 58
SAN PEFRO 5 21 20 19 -- 65
3-point goals -- Mills 6 (Sayler 5, Bilinski), San Pedro 10 (Grbic 7, Ellet, Weber, Gudstella). Fouled out -- San Pedro (Vlahiotis). Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Mills 20, San Pedro 14.