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For a fourth straight year, the Capital City Classic boys basketball title will reside Outside.
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Tahoma High School from Maple Valley, Wash., defeated Juneau-Douglas 61-51 in the tournament finale on Saturday.
The Tahoma Bears received a huge effort from freshman Christian Behrens in the win. The 6-foot-7 freshman scored all 14 of the Bears' third-quarter points to keep Juneau-Douglas at bay. Behrens scored 28 points in all.
"He's a very good player and will become an outstanding player," Tahoma coach Rob Morrow said. "This is like his coming-out party, to do this against a good team like Juneau."
The game proved a back-and-forth affair until Tahoma took control in the final four minutes.
Juneau-Douglas managed just five points in the final 3:14 as Tahoma iced the game on the line. Tahoma made 9 of 12 free throws in the final 1:40 in the win.
Defensively, Tahoma allowed just three field goals in the final quarter.
"We were just a little more solid," Morrow said. "Early on, we were trying to get every block and steal. (Juneau's) Faifo Levale has a good head fake. Juneau is a fundamental, strong team so we had to stay solid."
Juneau-Douglas couldn't convert opportunities to take the lead late as shots that were going in earlier starting clanging off the rim.
The bad luck wasn't limited to just the Crimson Bears' shooting. Down 54-51, JDHS forced a bad pass with a perfect backcourt trap. The errant pass, however, went right through the hands of two Crimson Bears players and into the awaiting arms of tournament MVP Patrick Clark, who converted the layup to ice the win. Clark finished with 27 points.
"With all that happened, with 57 seconds left we were down three but we couldn't put the ball in the basket," JDHS coach Steve Potter said. "For as well as we shot yesterday (a win over Wasilla), it was not there today."
For three quarters, neither team could gain a foothold. The biggest lead for either team was just four points in the first three quarters.
With the score tied 27-27 at halftime, Juneau's Dominique Brinson tried to give his team a spark. The senior hit three straight shots to close the third quarter, including two 3-pointers, as Juneau took a 42-41 lead.
In the fourth quarter, Clark chimed in with some long-distance shooting of his own. He hit two 3-pointers, including a rainbow from deep in the corner, for Tahoma.
Brinson led JDHS with 20 points while Ryan "Bubba" Larson contributed eight points. Levale and Cody Grussendorf scored seven points each.
"We're still a work in progress," Potter said. "(Assistant coach Robert) Casperson said it best in the locker room when he said, 'It'd be nice to win, but we're not good enough yet.' The championship we want to win is in March. We'd of course like to win every game in the process, but we're still building."
Juneau-Douglas 70, Wasilla 63
Juneau-Douglas seemingly couldn't miss in the first half and used tough defense after halftime to upend the defending state champs on Friday.
Ryan "Bubba" Larson scored a game-high 22 points and hit six 3-pointers in the first half alone.
"I thought we should've played last year for the state championship but it didn't go our way," Larson said. "So I thought we'd come out here and prove that we're one of the top teams in the state today."
Wasilla and Juneau-Douglas electrified the crowd during a frantic first half.
Both teams made shots from all over the court as JDHS raced out to a 40-35 lead.
In addition to Larson's long-distance shooting, Cody Grussendorf connected on a big 3-pointer in the first half.
Wasilla withstood the barrage, however, as Dexter Pearce scored 12 of his 20 points before halftime.
Juneau-Douglas' defense started to take over in the second half, though. The Bears limited Wasilla to nine points in the third quarter and led by as much as 10 in the second half.
Wasilla chipped away at the lead, cutting the Bears' advantage to 66-63 with about 1:20 left.
Juneau-Douglas' Eric Gross ended the threat by converting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw.
"Late in the game you could tell they were tired so that played into our favor," Larson said.
Grussendorf and Dominique Brinson scored 10 points each, Gross had 10 points and Faifo Levale added nine points in the win.
For Wasilla, Adrese Lavern scored 16 points and Jason Flowers added 11 points in defeat.
Tahoma, Wash. 61, Juneau-Douglas 51
JDHS 13 14 15 9 - 51
Tahoma 14 13 14 20 - 61
JDHS (51) - Brinson 20, Hotch 0, Mahar 0, Waters 0, Saviers 0, Grussendorf 7, Craig 0, Ibesate 3, Larson 8, Lauth 0, Gross 6, Gundersen 0, Bavard 0, Fenumiai 0, Levale 7.
Tahoma (61) - Hansen 0, Burns 1, Chase 2, Eckard 2, Gudde 0, Boyer 0, Johnson 0, Behrens 28, Clark 27, Kitzes 0, Rainer 1.
Juneau-Douglas 70, Wasilla 63
JDHS 23 17 8 22 - 70
Wasilla 18 17 9 19 - 63
JDHS (70) - Brinson 10, Hotch 0, Mahar 0, Waters 0, Saviers 0, Grussendorf 10, Craig 2, Ibesate 4, Larson 22, Lauth 0, Gross 11, Gundersen 2, Bavard 0, Fenumiai 0, Levale 9
Wasilla (63) - Gray 4, Kroon 0, Sliwa 0, Lavern 16, Pearce 20, Johannes 6, Bydlon 0, Mock 0, Green 4, Flowers 11, Knowles 2, Schwochert 0.
Capital City Classic boys roundup
Club Kilsyth, Aus. 63, Wasilla 59
Club Kilsyth from Kilsyth, Victoria, Australia concluded its Capital City Classic with a win Saturday over defending Class 4A state champions Wasilla.
Adam Knott, who poured in 21 points, led the Cobras. Joel Naburgs added 14 points, Frazer Adnam had 13 points and Steven Robinson scored seven points for Club Kilsyth.
Jaimin Hudson tallied two points and Scott Marsh made two free throws in the win.
For Wasilla, Adrese Lavern hit five 3-pointers and scored a team-high 21 points.
Shane Green and Tyler Johannes tallied eight points each, Tillerman Kroon and Dexter Pearce scored seven points each and Tim Gray had three points in the loss. Jason Flowers and Jimmy Sliwa had two points each and John Knowles hit a free throw for Wasilla.
Tahoma, Wash., 52, Club Kilsyth, Aus., 50
Tahoma High School from Tahoma, Wash., remained perfect in the Capital City Classic with a comeback win over Club Kilsyth from Kilsyth, Victoria, Australia.
The Bears trailed 29-24 at the half but battled back to win the game as Mitch Boyer scored 13 points.
Patrick Clark added 11 points; Erik Rainer had nine points while Raymond Eckard and Christian Behrens tallied six points each for Tahoma.
Club Kilsyth received a big night from guard Joel Naburgs as he scored a game-high 21 points, including five 3-pointers.
Frazer Adnam had 12 points, Adam Knott chipped in nine points and Dale Makrides had six points as the Cobras fell to 0-2 in tournament play.
JDHS boys fall in Classic final