Tour de force

Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It was a show of force Monday evening in the Juneau-Douglas High School gym, and the defending 4A girls' state champion Crimson Bears flexed some serious muscle.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Juneau-Douglas suffocated South Anchorage, building an 18-0 lead by the end of the first quarter and rolling to a 76-17 drubbing of the Wolverines in the opening round of the 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.

The Crimson Bears (3-0) were in midseason defensive form in their home opener, and South didn't get on the board until senior Malae Afualo scored inside at the 7:23-mark of the second period, when JDHS was already up 20-0.

"We have a lot of seniors and a lot of returning experience, so we weren't nervous and scared to be on the court," Bears coach Lesslie Knight explained. "I was pleasantly surprised by some of our younger kids that they didn't totally freak out. It's a big deal to play at the Classic for the first time. They did great and it was a wide variety of things."

Senior forward Sarah Tarver swatted the opening tip to guard Nani Ostrom, who fed a streaking Taylor Larson inside for a quick lay-up, and it was 2-0 right out of the gate.

Senior center Hannah Swofford scored two straight stickbacks inside for a 6-0 lead, and an old-fashioned 3-point play from sophomore wing Esra Siddeek pushed the Bears ahead 12-0.

Ostrom assisted on a long jumper by Siddeek, and Swofford closed the first quarter with a hook shot for the 18th and final points of the period.

JDHS led 32-6 at the break and things only got worse for the Wolverines in the third quarter. Ostrom buried a trio of 3-pointers to lead the eight-minute onslaught as the Crimson Bears piled on 33 points, extending their lead to 65-15 - with eight minutes still to play.

"We mixed it up a little bit and in their zone, we had a lot of open shooters," Ostrom said of the third-quarter explosion. "We were able to penetrate and drive, and we made good passes. We played our game but we're still having trouble with some things.

"We were pretty impressed with the way we played, but there's still more to work on."

Siddeek nailed a triple from the top of the key to start the fourth quarter, Ostrom scored a lay-up on the break and Tarver found Swofford inside for two more buckets. Tarver then closed the scoring with a lay-up.

JDHS dominated every facet of the game, scoring 20 points off 19 turnovers, outrebounding South 47-25, getting 15 points from behind the arc to zero for the Wolverines, 17 second-chance points to zero and a 24-4 edge in points off the bench.

The Crimson Bears shot 26 of 50 from the field, and 5 of 16 from the perimeter. South was just 6 of 34 from the field.

Larson and Swofford led four Bears in double figures with 16 points each. Swofford scored an uber-efficient 8 of 10 shots, and Larson added eight boards.

Ostrom added 15 points with five assists, and Siddeek scored 10. All but two Bears broke into the scoring column.

Tarver stuffed the stat sheet, scoring just five points but pulling down 12 rebounds, dishing a team-high nine assists while blocking two shots and getting two steals.

Backup point guard Marissa Brakes added five assists, and the Bears had a staggering 23 assists on 26 field goals.

"It was really nice to see some of the good passes they made and how they found each other," Knight said. "We really played well as a unit. I thought it would be a little closer, but I'm not surprised by our kids' performance."

The only negative for Juneau-Douglas was an ankle injury to starting point guard Karli Brakes, who might not play the rest of the tournament. Brakes went down in the first minute of the second period and didn't return, but she didn't have to.

JDHS cruises past Hoonah

Juneau-Douglas boys' basketball coach Steve Potter said late last week his team's matchup with 2A Hoonah on the first day of the 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic would be David versus Goliath.

This time, it was David who got flattened.

The Crimson Bears blasted the outmanned Braves 72-37, running 14 different players at Hoonah, which had just five that played all 32 minutes.

Hoonah, which will reclassify to 1A next year, was a late addition to the tournament, filling in after a previously committed team from Los Angeles backed out last month.

Juneau-Douglas rolled to a 29-9 lead in the first quarter behind 10 points from senior guard Eddie Hurtte, and stretched its lead to 53-20 at the half. JDHS blistered the nets in the first two frames, shooting 23 of 44, including 4 of 8 from the 3-point line.

"We shot the ball much better in the first half - 52 percent to 24 percent (in the second half), so I was a little disappointed about that," JDHS coach Steve Potter said. "And (Cameron) Smith did a pretty good job for them. I wasn't all that pleased with our ability to contain him, but they played really hard and that's all you can ask.

"But we got off early on and a lot of guys got a chance to play, and that's important for us."

Smith scored 28 of Hoonah's 37 points, and led the Braves with six rebounds and three steals.

The second half was fairly even as the Crimson Bears outscored the Braves 12-8 in the third quarter, and Hoonah won the fourth quarter 9-7 to set the final score.

Like the JDHS girls' in their matchup with South, the Crimson Bears dominated nearly every statistical category. Juneau-Douglas scored 19 points off 24 turnovers, and outrebounded Hoonah 59-27, scoring 19 second-chance points. JDHS also got 31 points off its bench, while Hoonah didn't have a bench.

Hurtte led the Bears with 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Senior forward and newcomer De'Andre King scored 15 points and had five boards. In all, 11 Bears broke into the scoring column and JDHS had 25 assists on 31 field goals.

"The guys look for each other for sure," Potter said of his team's willingness to share the ball. "It would have been nice if we had made a couple more shots, but we're doing a pretty decent job of passing the ball."

The Crimson Bears were short-handed as well, with three players missing the tournament to play in the Tanoa Bowl on Jan. 1 in Auburn, Wash., an All-Star football game pitting Alaska against Washington.

Senior swingman Colin Gozelski, sophomore wing Phillip Fenumiai and big man Ryan Baldwin are all out of town for the game.

The Australia and South girls tip off at 1 p.m. in today's first game, followed by the West Valley and Hoonah boys at 3 p.m.

The JDHS girls face Crescent Valley today at 5 p.m., and the JDHS boys take on defending 3A state champion Haines at 7 p.m.

Raiders stifle Cobras

The 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic kicked off Monday afternoon at Juneau-Douglas High School, but the tournament's opening matchup featured two teams not from the state of Alaska.

One of them isn't even from this country.

The Crescent Valley High School Raiders, from Corvallis, Ore., squared off against the Kilsyth Cobras, a group of girls who have left the warm summer temperatures of Kilsyth, Australia, to brave the snowy conditions of Juneau.

But the Cobras, no doubt tired from much traveling, found the going difficult in their opening game of the tournament. While the Raiders also had to travel a significant distance to get to the capital city, they were able to jump out to an early 22-7 lead after one quarter and held the Cobras at bay the rest of the way, taking their first game 61-36.

"Something we haven't done is come out and shoot well, and I thought we shot well early," Raiders coach Craig Ellingson said.

Senior Hannah Doran paced the Raiders with 23 points in Crescent Valley's first appearance in the Classic. But Ellingson also said he'd like to see what the team from Australia is capable of doing with a couple more games under its belt.

"(Kilsyth is) a club team that hasn't gotten a chance to play a lot together at this point. They're kind of just starting," he said. "This is our seventh game, and I think they'd be very interesting to play in another six games. They're really going to improve."

High school junior Kodie Kroussoratis led the way for the Cobras with 16 points, 15 of which came from beyond the arc in an impressive shooting performance. But the Raiders played suffocating defense at times and shot well from the floor to maintain a comfortable lead throughout the game.

Wolfpack holds on for win

West Valley looked like it had everything under control, up 27-13 at the half.

Then the Tyler Swinton show began.

The junior from Haines scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, hitting five 3-pointers and driving to the hoop for a lay-up in the period. But West Valley was able to hold on just long enough to put the game away on a late run 50-46.

"We went to a zone because we didn't think (Haines) had great come-off-screen shooters," Wolfpack coach Tony Chiu said. "That was certainly short-lived. We had to go back to man-to-man (defense). We had to put our best defender on (Swinton)."

That defender was sophomore guard Larenzo Graham, who drew the assignment of guarding Swinton down the stretch.

The change worked.

After Haines cut the lead to one point, 42-41, with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter, Graham's defense on Swinton allowed the Wolfpack to get some stops and run out in the open floor. West Valley scored eight of the game's next 10 points and held off another late Haines surge in the final minute to take the four-point win.

"If I had to give out a candy bar for the game, it would be to (Graham)," Chiu said. "He kept us in the game as far as rebounding goes and running the floor. He's just a sophomore, so he's an up-and-coming kid."

Graham's contributions weren't just on the defensive end, however. The sophomore dropped in 10 points, including a 3-pointer off the glass at the third-quarter buzzer to cut off a 10-0 Glacier Bears run to end the period.

West Valley senior point guard William Vealy was forced to watch from the bench for much of the second half after getting into foul trouble, so Graham's play late in the game was a welcome sight for the Wolfpack.

Vealy finished the game with seven points. Another senior, Anthony Vealy, led West Valley in scoring with 14 points and caused havoc on the defensive end of the floor, using his long arms to get numerous steals throughout the game.

Haines junior Brandon Haxton was the only other Glacier Bears in double figures with 10 points.

The Glacier Bears outscored the Wolfpack 33-23 in the second half after falling behind by 14 points after two quarters, but it wasn't quite enough to jump out in front. Haines never led in the game.

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