Haines grabs first tournament victory

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010

It'd had been a difficult couple of days for Haines during the 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic, but the Glacier Bears finally got in the win column with a 65-30 win over a depleted Hoonah squad Wednesday afternoon.

After losing in the final minutes to West Valley in its first game and getting blown out by Juneau-Douglas on the second night, Haines put any doubt away early in this one. Tyler Swinton dropped 20 points to lead the Bears in scoring for the third night in a row. The junior big man averaged 19 points per game for the tournament.

For Haines coach Steve Fossman, getting that first win was nice, but not the most important thing at this season's early juncture.

"We appreciate coming down to these preseason tournaments," he said. "You really get to work on things you plan to use the rest of the season, and you try to get better as a team. I think we did get better."

Hoonah was once again stuck without a bench - playing only five players after last night's leading scorer Kristian Geise was not able to be in town for Wednesday's game - and the inability to substitute really hurt the Braves. But chalk it up as an early season learning experience because Hoonah will eventually get several members of the team back in action before too long.

But on the other side of the court, the Glacier Bears seemed to find a feel for their capabilities during the three-day Classic.

"We're just trying to emphasize sticking to our gameplan and where we're going throughout the season. That's not that easy in the beginning, but they're learning," Fossman said.

He also said Swinton's performance doesn't come as a surprise to those who knew what he was capable of doing.

"Tyler has that natural instinct to want to score, and in that setting he's really comfortable," he said. "But as a team it's about taking better care of the ball early in the game. But Tyler is definitely a scorer and that's nice to have.

"You can't coach that instinct."

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