It was a barn burner of a first quarter in the first boys' matchup Tuesday afternoon at Juneau-Douglas High School. Unfortunately for short-handed Hoonah, it may have done them in.
West Valley took advantage of a Braves team with only six players and ran up and down the floor on its way to a 65-42 win in the second day of the 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.
"I thought we fast-breaked well. We were able to get out and run, that's our bread and butter," Wolfpack coach Tony Chiu said. "Still, you've got to be able to capitalize on fast-break points, otherwise we're just running and getting ourselves tired while getting no points."
The Wolfpack did miss several easy opportunities close to the basket but was able to outrun a visibly tired Braves team. Senior captain William Vealy led West Valley in scoring with 14 points one night after posting just seven in a foul-plagued second half. Vealy's presence on the floor was all-important to the Wolfpack running game as the team captain was unguardable in the open floor. But he really seemed to respond after Chiu pulled him from the game following a heated moment with a Hoonah player at the end of the first quarter.
"That's passion. There's nothing wrong with passion," Chiu said. "He's certainly our floor leader and it definitely was a different game tonight with him being able to stay on the floor and out of foul trouble."
Senior John Renfroe and sophomore Milo Hajdukovich also chipped in 12 points apiece for West Valley.
Despite the lopsided score, the Braves team with hardly a bench to speak of gave the Wolfpack all it could handle, especially early. One night after West Valley had to deal with an unconscious shooting performance from Haines' Tyler Swinton, Hoonah's Kristian Geise scored from all over the floor on his way to 24 points for the game. But once again, West Valley managed to step up its defense on another big scorer as the game wore on.
"Hoonah sure came to play. (Kristian Geise) was certainly a game changer," Chiu said. "We were able to capitalize on good help defense. You always have to preach defense."
The Braves were paced by Geise's 24 points, and junior Cameron Smith contributed 12 of his own. But the Braves ran out of gas in the second half of the up-tempo game.
West Valley's undefeated tournament record will be put to the test in its final game against Juneau-Douglas today at 7 p.m., and Hoonah will try and take its first win against a scrappy Haines team that took the Wolfpack to the brink, 50-46, Monday afternoon.
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