The slow start seems like a distant memory for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team.
The Crimson Bears used a suffocating defense and tenacious rebounding to win their second straight game, beating the Olympic Trojans of Silverdale, Wash., 55-40 Monday at the JDHS main gym to even their season record and earn a chance to play for their 11th straight championship in the Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic.
In the early game Monday, the Newport Harbor Sailors of Newport Beach, Calif., had an easy time beating the North Pole Patriots 69-45. The victory gave Newport Harbor a 2-0 record in the tournament, while North Pole fell to 0-2.
Juneau (3-3 overall, 2-0 in the tourney) will play Newport Harbor at 8 p.m. tonight, and the winner of tonight's round-robin game will claim the tournament championship. Olympic (3-4 overall, 0-2 tourney) will play North Pole for third place at 3 p.m. today.
The Crimson Bears' defense kept the Trojans from establishing any kind of an offensive rhythm, and Juneau outrebounded Olympic 38-26 with many of Juneau's boards coming on the defensive end so Olympic didn't get many second-chance baskets. Juneau's lead was 13-10 at the end of the first quarter, but a 16-6 second quarter gave the Crimson Bears a 13-point lead that held most of the rest of the night.
"I think we went out and played hard," said senior forward Adam "A-Bomb" Nelson, who led the Crimson Bears with 14 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. "We played them tough and we didn't want any letdowns."
"I think Adam Nelson played as well - post defense in particular - as he's ever played," Juneau coach George Houston said.
The Crimson Bears also picked up a significant contribution from their bench players, which proved especially critical because usual leading scorer Alex Heumann had a poor shooting night and sophomore forward Josh Monagle was in early foul trouble.
Junior swingman Kyle Huntsman came off the bench to score 12 points with four rebounds, two steals and an assist, while junior forward Mychal Hutcherson grabbed four rebounds in relief of Monagle. Swingman Tom Derbesy added three rebounds and four points off the bench, while reserve point guard Tres Saldivar also grabbed three rebounds.
"I thought Kyle Huntsman gave us a nice game, he did some nice things besides scoring and he gave us some quality minutes," Houston said. "Hutcherson gave us some good minutes. He banged and that's what he's supposed to do."
"I was just trying to go in and block out my man," Hutcherson said. "It was nice to have some extra big men on the bench."
Monagle scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds when he was in the game, while Heumann and senior forward David Jones both scored six points (Jones had five rebounds). Heumann, who led Juneau in scoring in each of its first five games, sat most of the fourth quarter after picking up an intentional foul.
"Me and Alex were having off-games, so it was nice to see Kyle and Hutch give us some quality minutes," Monagle said. "We're getting wins against (Class) 4A teams and teams from down south, so we're feeling a lot better. Our defense stepped up."
Juneau did allow Olympic senior forward Brendan Campbell to pick up a double-double, with 14 points and 12 rebounds, but the Crimson Bears really didn't let any of the other Trojans do significant damage. Chester Thomas had 10 points and four steals, while Jeff Shaw added nine points and four rebounds for Olympic.
The Trojans hurt their chances to get back into the game when they had a lengthy stretch of just over 14 minutes in the second half where they missed every free throw they took, going 0-for-6 with two missed front ends of one-and-one chances.
"Our rebounding - we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds - and we didn't put down some free throws," Campbell said when asked what he thought the keys to the game were. "We couldn't find an offensive flow, we couldn't find our rhythm. We're hoping to win tomorrow, because we need a good win to get our spirits up."
Sailors 69, Patriots 45
Even though Newport Harbor was missing its top scorer and rebounder, the Sailors had no problem beating North Pole to remain undefeated in the tournament.
Taylor Young scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Sailors (9-4 overall, 2-0 in the tournament). Alex Orth added eight points and Brett Perrine scored seven points for the Tars, who led 34-12 at halftime and weren't threatened in the second half. Greg Gausewitz added 10 rebounds, while three other Newport Harbor players had five boards each.
The only player for North Pole (2-2 overall, 0-2 tourney) to reach double-figure scoring was Brad Seavey with 12 points. Matt Zanazzo scored eight points for the Patriots, while Nick Holt added seven points and five rebounds and Marlee Currier scored six points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked two shots. Chris Powell had six rebounds and two blocks, but was held to two points.
Newport Harbor 6-foot-8 senior center Jamie Diefenbach was sidelined by an injury to his left knee suffered during Sunday's slam dunk contest, and Sailors coach Larry Hirst thinks Diefenbach's season is done. Hirst said Diefenbach has already signed an NCAA Letter of Intent to play men's volleyball on scholarship for UCLA next year, so at this point the Sailors are looking at getting Diefenbach ready for that season.
"Without being a doctor, I think he's gone for the year," Hirst said. "Looking at the film, it was pretty bad. It was the left knee, his good one (Diefenbach blew out his right knee a couple of years ago). It's a shame because he's such a nice kid. He's an honor student and he's been on varsity all four years."
Charles Bingham can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 55, TROJANS 40
Monday's boys game from JDHS
OLYMPIC (40) - Chester Thomas 4 1-2 10, Mike Fry 0 0-2 0, Reagan Logova 0 0-0 0, Brendan Campbell 4 6-9 14, Josiah Estribor 0 0-0 0, Jeff Shaw 3 3-4 9, Stephen Braun 2 0-1 5, Robert Messing 0 0-0 0, Brian Smith 1 0-0 2, Brad Garrison 0 0-2 0, Josh Jones 0 0-0 0, Travis Moore 0 0-0 0. Totals: 14 10-20 40.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (55) - Larry Cooper 0 3-4 3, Norman Zura 0 0-0 0, Scott Lesh 0 0-0 0, Tom Derbesy 1 1-3 4, Tres Saldivar 0 0-0 0, Luke Miller 0 0-0 0, Clae baker 0 0-0 0, Alex Heumann 1 3-4 6, Rob Carte 0 1-2 1, Mychal Hutcherson 0 0-0 0, Josh Monagle 4 1-2 9, Kyle Huntsman 4 3-7 12, David Jones 2 2-2 6, Andrew Capacci 0 0-0 0, Adam Nelson 6 2-2 14. Totals: 18 2-2 14.
OLYMPIC 10 6 8 16 - 40
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 13 16 11 15 - 55
3-point goals - Olympic 2 (Thomas 1, Braun 1), Juneau-Douglas 3 (Derbesy 1, Heumann 1, Huntsman 1). Fouled out - Olympic 1 (Thomas), Juneau-Douglas 0. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Olympic 21, Juneau-Douglas 18.
SAILORS 69, PATRIOTS 45
Monday's boys game from JDHS
NORTH POLE (45) - Matt Zanazzo 2 2-2 8, Armand Burkhead 0 0-0 0, Brad Seavey 5 0-0 12, Brett Hollingsworth 2 0-2 4, Nick Holt 2 3-4 7, Chris Powell 1 0-0 2, Jacob Borkovec 2 0-0 5, Marlee Currier 3 0-0 6, Charles Spencer 0 0-0 0, Jason Dahlke 0 1-2 1, Dee Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 6-10 45.
NEWPORT HARBOR (69) - David Allee 0 1-2 1, Rafael Mouradyan 3 0-1 6, Tom Jackson 0 0-2 0, Robert Hunter 1 2-4 4, Tom Holbrook 0 1-2 1, Brett Perrine 3 0-0 7, Ted Slater 0 1-2 1, Dennis Heenan 3 0-0 6, Taylor Young 11 6-10 28, Sean Eddington 0 1-2 1, Greg Gausewitz 1 0-2 2, Alex Orth 3 1-1 8, Chad Macbeth 2 0-2 4. Totals: 27 13-30 69.
NORTH POLE 6 6 17 16 - 45
NEWPORT HARBOR 14 20 21 14 - 69
3-point goals - North Pole 5 (Zanazzo 2, Seavey 2, Borkovec 1), Newport Harbor 2 (Perrine 1, Orth 1). Fouled out - North Pole 1 (Hollingsworth), Newport Harbor 0. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - North Pole 24, Newport Harbor 17.