News Archives

Wednesday December 31, 2014
Capital City Classic ends with a flourish - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Moses Lake nips JDHS boys 59-58, University stops girls 43-41

The final night of action in the 2014 Princess Cruises Capital City Classic featured two of the best games in the history of the tournament.

The Moses Lake Chiefs won a nail-biter against the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boys 59-58 to go undefeated in the tournament and give JDHS their only loss over the last four days.

Moses Lake big man Cesar Sandoval led the scoring with a game-high 24 points, Mitch Hohman and Ricardo Gonzales added 12 apiece, Derek Martinez five, and Isaiah Thomas, Alex Reed and Tyson Karstetter two each.

The Chiefs went 8-22 at the free throw line; the Crimson Bears were 10-18 at the stripe.

Adam Empson led JDHS with 12 points, Bryce Swofford eight, Treyson Ramos and John Yadao added seven apiece, Gunnar Schultz, Kaleb Tompkins and Nathan Klein six each, Molo Maka, Guy Bean and Jacob Thibodeau two each.

JDHS led 17-12 starting the second quarter and 33-30 at the half. Moses Lake held a 50-45 lead heading into the final eight minutes of play.

All-Tournament selections for the boys were Most Valuable Player Cesar Sandoval (Moses Lake), Brayden Rainey (Nampa Christian), Peyton Brothers (Nampa Christian), Kyle Klinger (Haines), Derek Martinez (Moses Lake), Mitch Hohman (Moses Lake), Kaleb Tompkins (Juneau-Douglas), Bryce Swofford (Juneau-Douglas), Adam Empson (Juneau-Douglas).

On the girls side, the University Illineks stopped the JDHS girls 43-41 despite a game-high 14 points from the Crimson Bears Kallen Hoover.

University’s Aja Trask led the Illineks with 12 points, Madeleine Nelson added 11, Lydia Mihaly eight, Maddie Brown six, Raebekkah Pratt-Clarke four and Makayla Dorsey two.

The Illineks were 0-4 at the line; the Crimson Bears were 10-18.

Georgia Robinson added 10 points for JDHS, Cassie Dzinich six, Rachelle Roldan four, Abigail Watts, Samantha Heidersdorf, and Tona Fogg two each and Sophie Hultberg one.

JDHS led 14-10 after one quarter and 25-20 at the half. University led 32-31 starting the fourth quarter.

Rochelle Roldan was the girls Most Valuable Player and joined on the all-tourney team by Aja Trask (University), Raebekkah Pratt-Clark (University), Kallen Hoover (JDHS), Cassie Dzinich (JDHS), Madeleine Nelson (University), and Kelly Sam (Jimmy Huntington).

Nampa Christian 68, Haines 26

The Nampa Christian boys ended their tournament with a 68-26 win over the Haines Glacier Bears, getting 24 points from Braden Rainey, 15 from Peyton Brothers and 13 from Caelen Dennis.

Haines was led by Keegan Sundberg and Hudson Sage with six points apiece, Kyle Klinger added five, Keanu Lynch, Jacob Stigen, josh Stearns and Dylan Swenton two each and Jordan Badger one.

Haines hit 8-12 at the line; Nampa 12-17.

Nampa’s Micah Williams added seven points, Hunter Bullock five and Blake Johanson four.

The Christian Trojans led 12-10 after one quarter, 44-18 at the half, and 57-20 starting the final eight minutes.

University 53, Jimmy Huntington 28

The University girls topped the Jimmy Huntingon Huslia Huslers in an early morning game 53-28 behind 20 points from Madeleine Nelson. Aja Trask added 11 points for the Illineks, Lydia Mihaly eight, Raebekkah Pratt-Clarke six, Makayla Dorsey four, and Beth Geistlinger and Maddie Brown two apiece.

The Huslia Huslers were led by Flora Huntington’s 11 points, Kelly Sam added six and Sara Henderson three.

University hit 5-8 at the line; Jimmy Huntington went 2-2.

University led 20-8, 39-14 and 51-23 at the quarter breaks.

Tuesday December 30, 2014
Bears boys defeat Idaho, Crimson girls top Illinois - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys and girls basketball teams won their night games at the 2014 Princess Cruises Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament at JDHS.

The Crimson Bears boys toppled the Nampa, Idaho, Christian High School Christian Trojans 82-49 and the girls beat the Urbana, Illinois, University High School Illineks 52-31.

The JDHS boys used a full court press and eight points from senior Adam Empson to take a 24-9 first quarter lead over the Christian Trojans.

“Just hustle and hard work,” Empson said. “We put it in at practice. We were just working the offense, we know what we have to do, come out every night.”

JDHS led 34-9 in the second quarter before Nampa’s Caelen Dennis found the basket inside and the Christian Trojans went on a 12-2 run to close within 36-23 with a minute remaining in the half.

JDHS’ Guy Bean hit three of four free throws, and Nathan Klein scored inside off a nice pass from Kaleb Tompkins for a 40-25 lead at the half.

“We responded when we went to our traps,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “The intensity picked up. We might have had more turnovers than shots in that second quarter, that was something we talked about at halftime. We needed to get our defense going to create some offensive opportunities. The guys bought into that and started diving on the floor. So that hustle really got everybody’s energy back up.”

The Crimson Bears were unselfish throughout the game, which led to 26 points in the third stanza, and JDHS took a 66-37 lead starting the fourth quarter.

“It was not just tonight,” Casperson said. “We look for each other in our practices and when we get the opportunities in games. Tonight was certainly the best example of it. We moved the ball, and we hit the open man right when they were open most of the time. That is good for a high school group to recognize when and where guys are going to be open.”

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 18 points, Tompkins added 11, Gunnar Schultz and Guy Bean 10 apiece, Nathan Klein nine, John Yadao and Bryce Swofford six each, Treyson Ramos five, Erik Kelly four and Manase Maake three.

The Crimson Bears hit 23 field goals, added eight from dee, and went 12-20 at the charity stripe.

Nampa was led by Peyton Brothers’ game-high 21 points, Dennis added 10, Braden Rainey eight, Hunter Bullock four, Blake Johanson, Hunter Fillmore and Bryce Asselin two each. The Christian Trojans hit 11 field goals, two from deep, and were 21-31 at the line.

The JDHS boys play Moses Lake at 7 p.m. tonight in the tournament championship.

In earlier action, the JDHS girls broke open a tight game in the second half, exploding with 25 points in the fourth quarter, including nine of Rachelle Roldan’s game-high 15, to earn the win.

“I was pleasantly surprised that we could put some points on the board,” JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. “I was concerned that we would struggle to score. Just breaking 50 was an accomplishment for us.”

The teams were tied at 10-10 after one quarter of action, and JDHS took a 20-16 lead at the half.

The Crimson Bears went on an 11-2 run to open the third quarter and were never threatened again in the game.

Cassie Dzinich led the charge with a bucket inside, and Roldan hit a string of free throws before University’s Aja Trask put a mark on the Illineks side of the score clock. Maddie Brown added two buckets late to pull the Illineks within 43-30 starting the final quarter.

“We plan to press teams and I think we are getting better at it,” Knight said. “With each game we are improving and getting pressure on the ball without getting into foul trouble. Rachelle is really emerging and getting confidence. I think she is capable of scoring on steals and we have talked about that.”

Sophie Hultberg added 12 points in the game, Dzinich nine, Kallen Hoover five, Samantha Heidersdorf and Tona Fogg four apiece, and Abigail Watts three.

JDHS hit 19 of 58 field goals, 2-7 from beyond the arch, while adding 12-26 from the free throw line.

University hit 14-42 field goals, went 0-2 from deep and was 3-8 at the charity stripe.

Raebekkah Pratt-Clarke led the Illineks with nine points, Beth Geistlinger, Trask and Brown added six each.

The Crimson Bears outrebounded the Illineks 45-32. Roldan led JDHS with seven boards and Madeleine Nelson grabbed a game-high nine for University.

JDHS next plays University at 5 p.m. today. University also plays Jimmy Huntington at 10 a.m. today.

Sunday December 28, 2014
Crimson topples Glacier in Bears boys battle - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     JDHS wins Capital City Classic opener

The Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears boys basketball team dominated the Haines Glacier Bears 71-21 in its opening game at Saturday’s 2014 Princess Cruises Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament in the JDHS gym.

“The guys were really excited and there was a lot of anticipation to get out on the home floor and play in front of their family and friends,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “That is what we love about this Capital City Classic, getting to play in front of everyone back over the holidays.”

Haines senior Keegan Sundberg scored the first basket of the game for the Glacier Bears’ only lead before the Crimson Bears went to work on their home floor, scoring 19 straight points to end the quarter.

JDHS sophomore Bryce Swofford led the scoring binge with a follow-up rebound shot and added five blocked shots in the stanza. Seniors Adam Empson and Gunnar Schultz, and freshman Erik Kelly scored in the barrage.

Senior Nathan Klein tipped in a shot at the buzzer for the 19-2 advantage.

The Crimson Bears pressed full court through the first half and forced seven turnovers in the first quarter and five in the second.

“I liked that our guys had a lot of energy, defensively in the full court, whether it was man or trapping, we got after it and got a lot of deflections, which means we were engaged and that is important,” Capserson said.

The Glacier Bears found some success with senior Jordan Badger dribbling through pressure.

“A lot of it is getting experience,” Haines coach Steve Fossman said. “We got a little bit of court time against a tough team. We were overwhelmed. Sometimes that helps you in a game like that to get guys to buy into what are trying to do. We need to cut, we need to screen and nail people on the screen, just little things like that which are hard to create in practice with a little team like ours.”

JDHS extended its lead to 42-13 at the half and 64-21 starting the final quarter.

Every Crimson Bears player who took the floor found the scorebook, while Haines could not find a basket in the last eight minutes of play.

JDHS played an extended full court press in the first half and the aggression put Haines in the double-bonus from the free throw line, but the visitors could not connect from the field.

“We got our big guy some looks towards the end there,” Fossman said. “It made scoring look really easy when he caught the ball two feet under the bucket. That was one of the highlights of the game for me, seeing our big guy get the ball underneath. He is struggling right now because he is at the mercy of our guard play. I think we will get some good things out of the team. I think when you are a young, new, inexperienced team, getting the ball under the bucket is learning something and we just build from there.”

Swofford led the Crimson Bears with 11 points, Empson, Schultz and Guy Bean added nine each, Klein eight, Erik Kelly seven, John Yadao five, Treyson Ramos four, Jacob Thibodeau three, Manase Maake, Kaleb Tompkins and Kolby Hoover two each.

JDHS hit 27 field goals, including five from beyond the arc, and was 2-3 from the charity stripe.

“We did move the ball really well,” Casperson said. “I didn’t see any ‘me’ shots, a lot of ‘we’ shots, we moved the ball to get guys open looks and guys knocked down their open shots. That is always positive. I felt like we executed the things offensively that we talked about doing in a game for the first time this season.”

Casperson said the Crimson Bears struggled with execution in recent play up north but settled into the rhythm of the game on Saturday.

Haines had just four field goals and went 13-22 at the free-throw line.

Badger led the Glacier Bears with 10 points, Kyle Klinger had four, Keanu Lynch and Sundberg two apiece, Matthew Green, Josh Stearns and Dylan Swinton one each.

JDHS next plays at 7 p.m. Monday against Nampa Christian, and Haines plays at 3 p.m. Monday against Moses Lake.

Friday December 26, 2014
Capital City Classic tips off Saturday - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The 2014 Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament will begin tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the Juneau-Douglas gymnasium as JDHS alumna Talisa Rhea brings her University High School (Urbana, IL) Illineks into her old hardwood haunts to take on the 3-0 Thunder Mountain Falcons who are on a roll to open the young season.

Following will be a boys matchup of out-of-state proportions as Idaho’s Nampa Chritian takes on Washington’s Moses Lake. The evening continues with the 0-2 JDHS girls playing the Jimmy Huntington School from Huslia (AK) and the 1-2 JDHS boys taking on familiar northern foe Haines.

The complete game schedule is as follows -


• 1 p.m. University Laboratory High School (Urbana, IL) girls vs. Thunder Mountain.

• 3 p.m. Nampa Christian High School (Nampa,ID) boys vs. Moses Lake High School (Moses Lake, WA).

• 5 p.m. JDHS girls vs. Jimmy Huntington School (Huslia, AK).

• 7 p.m. JDHS boys vs. Haines.


• Noon, teams tour Juneau; 2 p.m. shooting contest at JDHS gym; 4 p.m. banquest in JDHS commons.


• 1 p.m. JDHS girls vs. Jimmy Huntington.

• 3 p.m. Moses Lake boys vs. Haines.

• 5 p.m. JDHS girls vs. University.

• 7 p.m. JDHS boys vs. Nampa Christian.


• 10 a.m. University girls vs. Jimmy Huntington.

• 3 p.m. Haines boys vs. Nampa Christian.

• 5 p.m. JDHS girls vs. University.

• 7 p.m. JDHS boys vs. Moses Lake.

• 8:30 p.m. awards; 9 p.m. dance.


University High School Illineks

20 Beth Geistlinger Jr. 5’7” G

22 Lydia Mihaly Jr 5’6” G

23 Aja Trask So 5’4” G

24 Raebekkah Pratt-Clarke Sr 5’2” G

30 Kate Ferreira Jr 5’5” G

31 Madeleine Nelson Jr 5’9” G

34 Makayla Dorsey Jr 5’10” F

40 Maddie Brown Jr 5’9” F

Coach: Talisa Rhea

Assistant Coach: Jeff Bruer

Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears

10 Cassie Dzinich Fr 5’10

11 Kallen Hoover Jr 5’7

12 Abigail Watts So 5’7

13 Sophie Hultberg So 5’7

14 Izzy Watts Sr 5’2

15 Samantha Heidersdorf Sr 5’6

20 Tona Fogg Jr 5’6”

21 Rachelle Roldan Sr 5’1

22 Georgia Robinson Fr 5’7

32 Cristina Aerhart Jr 5’8

33 Julia Noreen Jr 5’9

Head Coach: Lesslie Knight

Assistant Coach: Maddie Swofford

Thunder Mountain Falcons

21 Cheyenne Ekis Sr

32 Ashley Young Sr

11 Sarah Morris Sr

23 Siosi Tupou Sr

30 Harriet Martin Jr

3 Ava Tompkins Jr

22 Siniva Maka Jr

12 Alondra Echiverri So

20 Allyson Strong So

15 Haleigh DiCarlo So

4 Cyrene Uddipa Fr

Head Coach: Tanya Nizich

Assistant Coaches: Danielle Larson, Joy Ribao

Jimmy Huntington School (Huslia, AK)

Information not available.


Haines Glacier Bears

10 Jordan Badger Sr 5’6”

14 Keanu Lynch Sr 5’7”

15 Matthew Green Jr 5’9”

21 Jacob Stigen So 5’9”

22 Josh Stearns Sr 5’8”

30 Keegan Sundberg Sr 5’9”

31 Kyle Klinger Sr 6’8”

32 Hudson Sage Fr 6’0”

33 Dalton Klinger Fr 6’0”

40 Dylan Swinton Fr 6’0”

41 Dylan Palmieri Jr 5’9”

Head Coach: Steve Fossman

Assistant Coach: Ann Fossman Moses Lake Chiefs roster:

1 Derek Martinez G SR 5’10”

2 Cesar Sandoval C/F JR 6’4’

5 Nick Tran G SR 5’7”

12 Isaiah Thomas G JR 5’7”

15 Alex Reed G SR 6’1”

22 Mitch Hohman F SR 5’11”

23 Ricardo Gonzalez G JR 6’

24 Grant Bruneel G/F SR 6’2”

30 Jaime Menendez G SR 6’

31 Tyson Karstetter F SR 6’4”

33 Andrey Ulyanchuk F SR 6’1”

40 Derek Crum C/F SR 6’4”

Head Coach: John Hohman

Assistant Coach: Craig Groth

Nampa Christian Trojans roster:

4 Braden Rainey Jr 6’1 F

5 Marcus Waterman Jr 6’0 G

10 Micah Williams Sr 5’10 G

11 Peyton Brothers Jr 5’11 G

12 Henry Fillmore Jr 6’3 F

13 Hunter Bullock Jr 5’10 G

14 Blake Johanson Jr 6’0 F

15 Joshua de Jong So 5’11 G

20 Andrew Anderson Jr 6’2 CF

23 Bryce Asselin Jr 6’3 F

33 Alex Byron Sr 6’3 CF

40 Josh Liu Sr 6’6 C

44 Caelen Dennis Fr 6’5 G

Head Coach: Randy Brothers

Assistant Coach: Greg Bullock

Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears:

1 Manase Maake Sr 5’8” G

2 Gunnar Schultz Sr 6’1” G

3 Treyson Ramos Jr 5’9” G

10 Molo Maka Jr 6’2” F

11 Kolby Hoover Fr 6’0” G

12 John Yadao Sr 5’5” G

13 Kaleb Tompkins Jr 6’3” G

15 Adam Empson Sr 6’2” G

21 Bryce Swofford So 6’6” F

23 Guy Bean Jr 6’1” G

24 Erik Kelly Fr 6’2” F

33 Jacob Thibodeau Sr 5’11” G

43 Bruce Jones Sr 6’7” F

44 Nathan Klein Sr 6’3” F

Head Coach: Robert Casperson Assistant Coaches: Kevin Casperson, Steve Houlihan, Greg Huebschen

Monday December 22, 2014
C-Bears Earn Awards in Anchorage
     The T-Bird Classic All Tournament Team included MVP Hepa (Barrow), Dunbar (Barrow), Tuai (Barrow), Adams (Barrow), Bonner (East), White (East), Canete-Hall (East), Jemuel Mangalus (Kodiak), Max Mutch (Kodiak), Bryce Swofford (Juneau-Douglas) and Kaleb Tompkins (Juneau-Douglas).

Sunday December 21, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall to Whalers, beat Bears - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team finished its weekend at the East Anchorage T-Bird Classic with a 78-70 loss to the Barrow Whalers on Friday and a 58-32 win over Kodiak on Saturday.

“It was a high-intensity game,” Juneau coach Robert Casperson said of the Barrow loss. “From both teams.”

The Crimson Bears fared well against Barrow’s nationally ranked freshman Kamak Hepa, despite 32 points from the 6-foot-8 Whalers center.

“He is a talented player, no doubt about it,” Casperson said. “He handles the ball like a guard, has quick feet and soft hands inside. He keys most of their offense from the perimeter, which was not what I expected.”

JDHS tried to get the ball out of Hepa’s hands, which led to some easier shots for Barrow’s Sione Tuai, who was 9-10 from the field.

“Obviously we weren’t very effective because Hepa still had 32,” Casperson said. “We were getting broken down at the guard defensively and they would penetrate. We are not good enough defensively yet and we have some work to help the helper and make our defensive rotations a little tighter so we don’t give up easy buckets.”

Casperson said that Barrow is a very good team because its players understand their roles and completely play within them.

“In all three of these games in the tournament, we have shown we can put the ball in the basket,” Casperson said. “We were right in there; we never quit against Barrow. They are really good, every bit as good as most 4A programs in the state. We are still trying to figure out our roles. That is why we play in these preseason tournaments.”

John Yadao led Juneau with 17 points off the bench, something the the team will need to stay competitive in games throughout the season.

Kaleb Tompkins and Adam Empson had 12 apiece, Bryce Swofford seven, Nathan Klein six, Jacob Thibodeau five, Manase Maake and Molo Maka four apiece, Gunnar Schultz two and Treyson Ramos one. Ramos led JDHS with seven rebounds and Klein added five, Maka and Maake four apiece.

Barrow was led by Hepa with 32 points and nine rebounds, Tuai scored 20, Antonio Dunbar nine, Raqwaun Lisbourne six, Travis Adams and Kevin Goodwin four apiece, and Makana Ahgeak three.

The Crimson Bears trailed 16-13 after one quarter and 44-40 at the half.

JDHS outscored Barrow 14-10 in the third quarter to tie the game heading into the final stanza, but the Whalers pulled away. The largest lead was 72-61 in favor of the Whalers in the fourth quarter.

“We are gaining experience and depth right now,” Casperson said. “We don’t like losing but we know we’re going to be better for it. For example, we cut our turnovers down from 32 to 18. Still too many; but a step in the right direction.”

Barrow had 13 turnovers and shot 19-29 from the charity stripe and 27-43 from the field, including 5-7 from beyond the arc.

JDHS hit 13-19 from the line and 11-29 from the field, including 2-10 from past the arc.

Saturday’s 58-32 win over Kodiak saw the Crimson Bears overcome a 23-21 halftime deficit with 31 points in the second half while holding the Bears to just 15 second half points.

“We started doing a lot more full-court trapping in the second half,” Casperson said.

The game was knotted at 9-9 after the first quarter.

Swofford led JDHS with 13 points, Schultz and Empson added eight each, Yadao seven, Ramos six, Tompkins and Erik Kelly four apiece and Thibodeau two. Empson also had a game-high seven rebounds.

Billy Alcaide led Kodiak with 13 points, Max Mutch added 10, Jemuel Mangalus five, Albert Monge and Ryan Bezona four apiece and Noah Koller two.

The Crimson Bears were 4-6 at the free-throw line and 21-45 from the field, including 6-12 from beyond the arc. The Kodiak Bears were 4-9 from the line and 15-42 from the field, including 4-17 from deep.

“Those kids from Kodiak play really hard and they did a really good job,” Casperson said. “One thing that really helped us out was our length at the guard position when we went to our pressure. We were able to disrupt what they wanted to do.”

Yadao, Maka and Kelly scored their first-ever varsity points in the tournament.

“It was a good tournament overall,” Casperson said. “Everyone played. We have three guys up here who scored their first varsity points.”

Tournament stats for JDHS included Swofford (31 points, 15 rebounds, 7 fouls, 2 assists, 8 turnovers, 7 blocked shots, 2 steals), Empson (31 PT, 14 RB, 12 F, 4 A, 10 TO, 2 ST), Tompkins (30 PT, 12 RB, 7 F, 5 A, 13 TO, 1 BS, 2 ST), Yadao (30 PT, 10 RB, 7 F, 4 A,9 TO, 3 ST), Schultz (14 PT, 3 RB, 5 F, 1 A, 3 TO, 1 BS), Ramos (14 PT, 9 RB, 8 F, 4 A, 5 TO, 5 ST), Klein (9 PT, 16 RB, 6 F, 5 A, 5 TO, 2 ST), Maka (7 PT, 3 RB, 2 F, 4 TO, 1 BS), Thibodeau (7 PT, 5 RB, 2 F, 4 A, 1 TO), Maake (6 PT, 10 RB, 4 F, 7 A, 6 TO, 5 ST), Kelly (4 PT, 4 RB, 3 F, 3 A, 1 TO, 1 BS).

Friday December 19, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall 76-61 to Thunderbirds - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team ran with the high octane East Anchorage Thunderbirds on Thursday, falling 76-61 in a T-Bird Classic Tournament game that featured eight lead changes and seven ties.

“It is hard to beat a quality opponent when you have 32 empty possessions,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said.

JDHS had 32 turnovers to 22 for East.

“It looked like a first game for a lot of our guys,” Casperson said. “Despite the experience we are bringing in this season. It is still high school basketball, our guys have to take a little bit of time to settle in and get comfortable and identify and establish their roles this year. We will be a work in progress, this is new and I think we are going to be okay.”

The Crimson Bears lead 21-17 after the first quarter and 33-32 at the half.

The Thunderbirds outscored JDHS 19-13 in the third quarter and 25-15 in the final stanza.

A balanced scoring attack by the Crimson Bears featured Kaleb Tompkins leading with 14 points, Adam Empson and Bryce Swofford netting 11 apiece, Treyson Ramos seven, Gunnar Schultz four, Molo Maka and Nathan Klein three apiece and Manase Maake two. Swofford and Klein had nine rebounds apiece.

East was led by 19 points from Louis Bonner, Moses Miller added 17, Brayton Keith 15 and Marquis White 10. White also had 12 rebounds.

JDHS was 23-36 at the free throw line; East was 24-34.

The Crimson Bears were 18-54 from the field, including 2-16 from beyond the arch. The Thunderbirds connected on 24-64 from the field, including 4-21 beyond the arch.

JDHS senior center Bruce Jones will miss four weeks after suffering a knee injury last week.

“That made a difference,” Casperson said. “We did all right on the boards, even for our size advantage we could have done better. Bruce absolutely takes up a lot of space in there and gets his hands on a lot of rebounds and he is our post presence. It is going to create opportunities for other guys to step up and have more experience. It should make us deeper... and Bruce will stay fresh, he will get a month off.”

In other T-Bird Classic action, the Barrow Whalers got 28 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and two steals from 6-foot-8 freshman center Kamaka Hepa in a 64-26 win over the Kodiak Bears.

Antonio Dunbar added 11 points for the Whalers. Kodiak was led by Max Mutch’s eight points. The Bears scored only 3 points in the second period, 5 in the third and 8 in the fourth.

Hepa garnished national attention last summer after being named the best eight-grader at an elite basketball camp in Nashville, Tennessee in June. Hepa was one of 70 eighth and ninth graders at the Underclassmen Exclusive, an invitation-only showcase. ESPN recruiting analyst John Stovall stated Hepa was “a long and skilled post player that has advanced skill for his age and grade ... And has a chance to be the best prospect out of Alaska in quite some time.”

Hepa’s older sister was 6-foot-4 Lynette Hepa, a two-time all-state player on the Barrow girls team.

Wednesday December 17, 2014
Thank you from the Harlem Ambassadors
     On Sunday, Dec. 14, HoopTime hosted the Harlem Ambassadors, a professional comedy basketball team, for a night of high-flying slam dunks, hilarious comedy and feel-good family entertainment.

The Harlem Ambassadors would like to extend a special thank you to event organizers Shelly Saviers and Lori Seymour, who planned and promoted the event. The opposing team were energetic and enthusiastic opponents and we thank all of the players [including Juneau-Douglas High School head basketball coach Robert Casperson] for their good sportsmanship. This event would not have been possible without the support and generosity of local community sponsors, the HoopTime members and the event volunteers.

The Harlem Ambassadors thank the community of Juneau for its warm hospitality and look forward to returning to Juneau in the future!

Best regards,

Dale Moss

Harlem Ambassadors President

Sunday November 09, 2014
Join Up Today!
     Get prepared for the 2014-2015 season by clicking on the link provided to join the Fast Break Club. We have three options for you to chose from to show your support. You can sign up for the Fast Break Club by using your credit card, safely and securely, through our PayPal account. Go Bears!

Saturday November 08, 2014
Alaska High School Basketball Begins December 1st
     The team has been preparing for the beginning of the 2014-2015 season with early morning weights and evening open gym. The level of dedication exhibited by the boys should prove for some exciting basketball viewing for Crimson Bear fans!

Monday July 28, 2014
Swofford transfers from Oak Hills Christian College - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Former Crimson Bears center signs with Baptist Bible

Former Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears basketball center Taylor Swofford, a 2012 JDHS graduate, has transferred from Minnesota’s Oak Hills Christian College to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo.

“After high school I never thought I would be playing college basketball,” Swofford said. “I didn’t get that much playing time in high school.”

Swofford only began playing organized basketball when a sophomore in high school. His minutes were minimal during his JDHS career.

Swofford averaged eight points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game during his sophomore season for the Oak Hills Wolf Pack. Oak Hills is a member institution of the Manitoba Colleges Athletic Conference (MCAC), the Northern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NIAC) and the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA).

“I went from being a guy coming off the bench in high school to being a starter right off the bat at Oak Hills,” Swofford said. “It was really weird, I wasn’t used to it. It made me better; I learned how to play the game more and, as a starter, learned to keep going. I was used to being the guy on the bench who only played a minute and then was subbed right out. I definitely took a big step of improvement since high school. The hardest part was it got overwhelming with the responsibility, even off the court, because the team needed me. In high school they didn’t need me; this school was counting on me to be there every day.”

Swofford will be looked to to steady the middle for the Baptist Patriots who have one of the conference’s best-scoring guards.

“My role there will be the person that goes into the game and plays defense and rebounding,” Swofford said. “Grabbing offensive rebounds and setting screens for the guards.”

Baptist Bible is a member of the ACCA and regularly advances to the National Christian Colleges Athletics Association National Tournament.

The goal of Oak Hills and Baptist Bible is to teach and equip their students with the proper knowledge and skills that will enable them to become more effective servants and leaders for the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Swofford is working toward a Masters in education.

“I am hoping to be teaching at the elementary school level,” Swofford said. “As a Christian I wanted a good environment and I felt that going to a Christian school would be good for me, learning about the Bible and playing basketball with my Christian friends. It is definitely much different compared to high school. It is a blessing to be in college ball playing. I never thought it would happen.”

Sunday June 22, 2014
Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp Concludes with All-Star Saturday
     The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp was a tremendous success delivering professional instruction to the youth of the region.

Juneau-Douglas High School head coach and camp director, Robert Casperson, would like to congratulate the campers on two phenomenal weeks of basketball. Camp 1 had 125 participants in 2nd – 8th grades. Camp 2 had 65 participants in 8th – 12th grades. He was impressed with the excitement, intensity, and improvement in all the players that attended the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp also emphasizes the importance of making healthy life choices. Time was included during camp for special presenters to address multiple topics. Former professional basketball player, Talisa Rhea, discussed goal setting with the campers. NCAA Division I football player, Faifo Levale, spoke about the work ethic and academic requirements necessary to be eligible for college athletics. Richard Radford from the AWARE Shelter, Alaska Men Chose Respect, and Coaching Boys into Men presented on positive relationships.

Championship Friday and All-Star Saturday created an electric atmosphere. In the College championship the UConn Huskies emerged victorious. In the NBA championship, the Indiana Pacers secured the title. Saturday was capped off with an all-star game for each division and the presentation of trophies for special awards that were voted on by the camp coaching staff.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp operates in proud partnership with the following sponsors and businesses: The Fast Break Club, Commercial Signs & Printing, Oliver’s Trophies and Engraving, McDonald’s, KINY Radio, Kimmel Athletic Supply, Community Schools and RALLY.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp will return in June of 2015.

College Division Special Awards:

Free Throw Champion: Caitlin Pusich

2-Min. Tournament Champs: Kentucky

League Champs: UConn

Best Passer: Bryson Echiverri

Best Defense: John Hamrick

Station Master: Cristina Arehart

Most Hustle: Hansel Hinckle

Most Improved: Cassie Dzinich

Best Rebounder: Cristina Arehart

Most Valuable Player: John Hamrick

All-Stars: Caitlin Pusich, John Hamrick, Bryson Echiverri, Cassie Dzinich, Tatum Bayne, Rachelle Roldan, Kendyl Carson, Monika Rivera, Isabelle Watts, Kallen Hoover, Cristina Arehart, Hansel Hinckle

NBA Division Special Awards:

Free Throw Champion: Kaleb Tompkins

2-Min. Tournament Champs: Pacers

League Champs: Pacers

Best Passer: Manase Maake

Best Defense: Gunnar Schultz

Station Master: Gunnar Schultz

Most Hustle: Luke Clark

Most Improved: Luke Clark

Best Rebounder: Jesse Lantiegne

Most Valuable Player: Jesse Lantiegne

All-Stars: Kaleb Tompkins, Manase Maake, Jesse Lantiegne, Bryce Swofford, John Yadao, Stewart Conn, Lorne DeAsis, Luke Clark, Guy Bean, Gunnar Schultz

Thursday June 05, 2014
Life without limits - Juneau Empire by Charles L. Westmoreland
     Former NBA coach leads camp for differently-abled

Don’t tell Greg Brittenham what someone can or can’t do. The former NBA assistant coach sees limitations as walls to be torn down, one brick at a time if needed.

Brittenham spent 20 years overseeing the strength and conditioning program for the New York Knicks, revered as one of the most physically dominant NBA teams of the 1990s under head coach Pat Riley. Brittenham later left the Knicks and found a home at Wake Forest heading its men’s and women’s basketball programs.

These days, he’s not surrounded by NBA All-Stars with names like Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, John Starks and Allan Houston. He’s hosting basketball camps in Hoonah, Angoon, Kake, Yakutat and Juneau — places whose school gyms could all fit inside Madison Square Garden with room to spare. Brittenham isn’t concerned with championships and trophies at the moment. His focus is on making a positive impact in people’s lives. Basketball is merely the tool he uses to do it.

The camp in Juneau was different from the others he’s held in Southeast and the longtime camp he runs in Haines, where Brittenham owns a home and has spent his summers since 1992. From Sunday through Tuesday, Brittenham hosted a basketball camp for youths and adults with physical and mental disabilities. The camp is the first of its kind in Juneau.

“Everybody has a unique personality, everybody has a unique skill set,” he said. “You work with them within their limitations, but then you challenge those limitations. That’s the only way you get better. That’s the only way adaptation occurs.”

During the three-day camp, Brittenham and his cadre of assistants: high school coaches, former prep athletes and others, saw campers evolve in the short amount of time they worked together. Campers were put through exercises testing balance, coordination and agility, not to mention the finer points of basketball such as dribbling, passing and shooting.

Better by the day

Brittenham ran the camp much like you’d expect. Just because the campers face additional challenges doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be challenged.

“A lot (of the campers) had difficulties standing on one leg the first day,” he said Tuesday. “Today, they’re all doing it. Had they not been challenged, they may go through life without knowing what their strengths are. Now they know they can succeed at something.

“You can’t let other people ... dictate your limitations.”

The last part is a message Brittenham reiterated time and again. He knows the campers have additional challenges, whether that’s being coddled, criticized or excluded by others.

“We’re here to push them,” he said. “We’re working on more than basketball skills.”

Half of the campers are preparing for the 2014 Special Olympics Alaska Summer Games, held June 6-8 in Anchorage’s Alaska Dome. The other half had very little basketball experience, if any.

Experience doesn’t matter, nor do hurtful words from naysayers, Brittenham told camper Tammi Birch. “If you want to play, you have to practice and put in the work,” he said.

Birch said she’d never played team basketball before the camp, but she was looking forward to joining a team in the future. She demonstrated a between-the-legs dribble her father had taught her. It was received with an ear-to-ear smile, encouraging words and a high-five. A few minutes later, Brittenham had Birch lead the group in a similar exercise.

“We’re working on teamwork and leadership skills as well,” he said. “Everybody will demonstrate at some point, and they’ll have to get in front of the group. It’s a safe, encouraging environment.”

The difference between the Juneau campers and others he’s worked with from North Carolina to Alaska boils down to attitude. Brittenham said many athletes will tell him they can’t do something. That wasn’t the case with the Juneau group.

“They encourage one another more than any group I’ve ever seen,” he said. “And no one says, ‘I can’t.’”

Brittenham’s infectious enthusiasm and can-do attitude rubbed off on the campers.

“Coach Britt has been incredible,” said camper Chris Brenner. “I’ve learned so much from him. He pointed out what I can do to better, like keeping my feet farther apart when I shoot. He really opened my eyes to what’s possible.”

Brenner wasn’t speaking specifically about possibilities on the court. He has a higher goal in mind.

“I want to be the first autistic governor of Alaska,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in politics.”

Ignoring the negative

On the biggest stages, critics scream the loudest. That’s what Brittenham learned after joining the Knicks in 1989.

“We had 18 million people from Washington, D.C., to Boston talking about how bad the Knicks are,” he recalled. “They can’t win, they just don’t have the talent, they’re not athletic enough, they don’t have the skills. Everyday, you read about how you can’t succeed. Every single day, there’s some article about how bad we are, what’s wrong with us. You can either accept it and go to work and get a paycheck, or you just view it as their insecurities ... and go to work every day and see what we can do to move the team forward.”

A mentality of proving doubters wrong is what he wanted campers to hear, regardless of their ability or disability.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s this camp; people are always told they’re too short, not tall enough, not smart enough, not athletic enough, you don’t have the skills — you either accept others’ opinion of you, or you set it aside and have the determination to prove them wrong.

“If you want to play high school basketball, do the work necessary to play high school basketball. That’s your own destiny. Don’t let other people decide for you.”

To demonstrate his point, Brittenham showed campers two shoes. One belonged to Nate Robinson, a 5-foot-7 guard who spent his first four seasons with the Knicks. The other, a size-22, belonged to Dikembe Mutombo. Both nearly had their dreams derailed by doubt. One doubted himself, the other faced it from everyone around.

“(Nate Robinson) was told his whole life there was no way he could play pro ball,” Brittenham said. “Even family members told him basketball wasn’t his game. But he had this desire to make it to the NBA.”

Robinson went on to win three slam dunk titles and played a pivotal role with the 2012 Chicago Bulls after star guard Derrick Rose was lost to a season-ending injury. He signed a long-term deal with the Denver Nuggets last season.

The 7-foot-2 owner of other shoe became known as Mount Mutombo for his shot-blocking ability (he finished an 18-year career with the second-most blocks in NBA history), but “didn’t have the confidence in himself that he could play.

“He wanted to stay in the Congo in his village,” Brittenham said. “His family and the encouragement of others got him to go to the States.”

Mutombo did go back to the Congo, but it was to build hospitals in poverty-stricken regions and to purchase hundreds of thousands of mosquito nets for children there. About 1,600 children die daily in Africa, Brittenham said, stressing the impact the $5 nets have had and how the region would be far different had Mutombo not been encouraged by others. The two examples, Brittenham said, show “both ends of the spectrum” in regards to having confidence in yourself and the confidence of others.

Ready for a repeat

Brittenham is ready to make the Juneau camp an annual event and plan to return next year. This year’s camp was made possible, he said, by the commitment of several individuals in Southeast.

Andrew Friske of Haines, who is well-known throughout Southeast for his involvement with the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, put Brittenham in touch with Juneau-Douglas track coach Janette Gagnon, a special education teacher at the high school.

Brittenham first came to Alaska with the program Challenge Life, a basketball camp on the North Slope that addressed issues like suicide and abuse, as well as leadership and academics. Of course, there was playing basketball, too. The camp, and his time in Alaska, had a long-lasting impact. Brittenham’s son, Max, who attended the recent Southeast camps as an assistant coach, had worked at camps in Colorado similar to the one held in Juneau this week.

“We felt like we could do the same thing here in Southeast,” Brittenham said.

Brittenham reached out to Gagnon, who in turn reached out to others. The result was a team of coaches, teachers and former high school athletes that equaled the number of campers.

Gagnon said she was a little nervous because basketball isn’t her sport. JDHS boys basketball head coach Robert Caperson and Gastineau Elementary teacher Ben Kriegmont were happy to lend a hand.

“Watching all the volunteers come together and enjoying this experience — they come from so many different areas — has been amazing. Most of these athletes I’ve coached or taught, and it’s fun to see them now that they’re adults.”

Many campers were nervous the first day, she said, but by Monday they were “running into the gym to get started.”

“Some hide in corners in a big gym class,” she said, “but during the camp they’re leading drills.”

Casperson said the drills at the camp look easier than they are, giving him some ideas to implement when his Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp starts next week.

“Some of his warm-up stuff looks very simple, but when the coaching staff is out doing it, it really challenges everybody to stay on balance and control their body. I’ve been impressed with the simple things (Brittenham has) provided these campers with, and how it even challenges the coaching staff.”

The experience has been “heart-warming,” said Casperson, a Floyd Dryden Middle School teacher, adding that he’d never worked with challenged individuals outside of the classroom before.

“These campers are working as hard as they can, to the best of their ability,” he said. “That’s all any coach could ask for. This group is incredible to work with.”

Gagnon said some of the exercises could be incorporated into her gym classes at JDHS.

“Selfishly, I think the coaches involved will get more out of it than the athletes,” Brittenham admitted. “Everyone here has a desire to want to help these campers.”

Brittenham and his wife, Luann, sponsored this year’s free camp. They’re hoping to attract additional sponsors in the future. But if he doesn’t, the camp will go on anyway.

“We should all try and make a difference in someone’s life, whether its a guy on the street corner or a group like this,” he said. “If you can make someone smile, ease someone’s burden, what a wonderful life that would be if everyone had that mindset.”

• Charles L. Westmoreland is managing editor for the Juneau Empire. He can be reached at 523-2265 or at

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Coaches come to Juneau to fight domestic violence - Juneau Empire by Emily Russo Miller
     Program teaches coaches to fight domestic violence

From northernmost city in the state to the southern tip of the panhandle, athletic coaches from across Alaska converged Tuesday in Juneau — and not for a tournament or competition.

The coaches gathered at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center for an all-day training conference on “Coaching Boys Into Men.” It’s national program aimed at getting coaches to talk to their teams about domestic violence and sexual assault.

With some 50 coaches in attendance, it was the largest training session the program has ever seen in Alaska.

“By far, the most coaches we’ve ever had in one room,” said Mark Calvert, the liaison between the Coaching Boys Into Men program in Juneau and Juneau’s AWARE shelter. “So it’s a really huge deal.”

The program, which promotes teaching respect for women and healthy relationships to young male athletes, was launched in 2001 by California-based Futures Without Violence and caught on in the capital city about four years ago.

John Blasco, the Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball coach, was the first in the state to implement the program after he was approached by an AWARE advocate.

Blasco now spends time every week going through the program’s curriculum and talking to his athletes about what constitutes unhealthy and abusive relationships, sexual harassment and sexual assault — topics that don’t typically come up in the locker room.

“It was awkward at first,” he said with a laugh during a question-and-answer panel. “You just gotta be brave those first couple of times,” he urged other coaches in the room.

He’s definitely noticed a change in his players, he said, as they’ve become more conscientious about the words they use and how they act.

“It’s definitely a start in making a change to help young men understand what we expect from them,” he said.

That notion was echoed by 17-year-old TMHS senior Ben Jahn, who plays football, basketball, soccer and baseball. Jahn says his teammates now “police” each other and gently point out when someone has crossed a line.

He said his team grappled with the “So what?” aspect of the program — none of them did anything wrong, so why were they being taught this?

That changed when he received an email from a victim of domestic violence who wrote him to say she really appreciated that the basketball team was showing solidarity with those like her.

“It showed that we were actually doing something to help other people, not just ourselves,” he said. “I thought that was really cool.”

After Coaching Boys Into Men began at TMHS, it spread to other teams in the school district, including the Juneau-Douglas basketball team and the TMHS soccer team. Now, at least eight of 10 boys teams in the school district incorporate some aspect of the program into their practices, said Sandi Wagner, athletic director of Juneau’s high schools.

It has also caught on in other parts of the state, as evidenced by Tuesday’s conference. Coaches came from as far away as Barrow, Nome, Unalaska, Dillingham, the Mat-Su Borough, Cordova, Anchorage and Fairbanks. They also came from communities closer to home: Skagway, Ketchikan, Craig, Metlakatla and Hydaburg.

“We traveled all day yesterday, practically (to get here),” said Edward Tocktoo, an elder from Brevig Mission, a village of about 400 people located 70 miles north of Nome. He coaches high school wrestling, basketball and Native Youth Olympics and traveled to the conference with James Olanna, the village’s girls basketball coach.

“It’s something we can teach the boys that they can use when they’re out on their own, like when they go to college,” Olanna said of the program.

“We’re going to help out our boys and girls in our community,” Tocktoo added. “I know I’m going to head back home with positive results.”

It’s not hard to see why coaches are eager to step in to help end domestic violence and sexual assault. Alaska has one of the highest rates of sex assault and rape in the country. In fact, the first drill Calvert had the group do visualized the issue squarely. He asked those who agreed with the statement “Unhealthy/abusive relationships aren’t a problem for my athletes” to step to the front of the room and those who disagreed to step back. Chairs screeched across the floor as the whole crowd stood up and walked to the back of the room.

Gov. Sean Parnell, who spoke at the event, described the problem an epidemic, but he was optimistic that coaches could influence youths in their communities.

“You are right there in that place as a coach of being able to teach your people that respect for each other,” he said. “It’s in how you coach, and it’s in the lessons you impart to your kids.”

He added something that the coaches already knew: “You’re much more than a basketball coach, or track coach or cross country coach. You’re a life coach.”

Barrow High School football coach Brian Houston heard about Coaching Boys Into Men through an ad he saw at his work, the Office of Children’s Services.

“Just looking at what I do for work and seeing that advertisement, I’m like man, this goes hand-in-hand. I have a good insight on what happens with our families, and I said, ‘Why not learn some tools that can assist me also with coaching?’”

Calvert says the program has caught on so quickly because the curriculum is easy to use — he pointed to worksheets that outline what kind of discussions coaches should be having with their athletes.

“If you’re coaching baseball right now, you can put it into practice tomorrow,” Calvert told the group inside the Whittier Street building. “It’s that palpable, it’s that easy to do.”

Colby Wolfer, Houston High School’s boys basketball coach and a health education teacher, said the curriculum is what attracted him to the program.

“You do a lot of these things naturally as a coach and as a teacher and a mentor, but it’s nice to have kind of a framework to work inside, kind of covering the bases there,” he said.

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Pure Sole: Slaying a dragon (called domestic violence) - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Dragons have been around a long time.

You respect a dragon.

When one is fighting a dragon, they should never just try to cut off the head.

Many a knight has made that mistake.

When a dragon spews fire and smoke, it isn’t always a sure sign of their dominance.

Sometimes they prey in the darkness.

They hide in caverns.

They sleep under stairs.

They live in the next room.

Somewhere along the line, we decided to live with these dragons.

Their horrible nature became accepted.

Until now.

Times are changing.

Villagers are tired of the toll on their wives, sons and daughters.

Remember when we were young serfs?

The kings of our sports and games and schoolrooms were our fathers, big brothers and mentors.

They took the place of those absent from us.

When our families sent us off to learn the art of knighthood, they trusted we would be taught in the skills of being a godly warrior.

Wrapping spirit fingers around the handle of a 59-inch broadsword and swinging at an offending backside used to be the protocol for staying the course.

Times changed.

The young began outgrowing their mentors.

The old world of our teachers was overrun by access to a new way of life that moved faster and exposed more of life to our young.

Now, the leaders of our youths have begun to choose a way of honoring those around them, to unite in a cause that can slowly bring a change in the horror and suffrage of the dragon’s spell.

Now we coach our young boys to be men.

This will not be an easy fight for them.

It requires relearning the art of dragon-fighting that they were raised in.

It means they must bring the battle to the masses and hope others listen.

They must bring to light the 20 or so different languages on our lands and the best of each culture’s traditions and values in a united cause.

They must be wary of the fire and smoke.


When slaying a dragon, it is always good to flail at the tail, nip at the claws, jab at the scales and slowly work towards the head.

Dragons have been around a long time.

You respect a dragon.

That is how you defeat it.

Friday March 07, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall to Kayhi Kings 59-54 in elimination game - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team led 7-2 early in Fridays 4A Region V tournament elimination game against Ketchikan but the Kings went on a tear with six 3-pointers in the first half including three by sophomore Matt Standley to take a 28-12 lead at the break.

JDHS only found one basket in the second stanza, a Bryce Swofford shot off of a power rebound.

“The Ketchikan kids came out and executed real well against our zone,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “The game was decided in the first half. They may have made more three pointers in that game than they have all season.”

Kayhi knocked down six 3-pointers in the first half and scored 14 points in both the first and second quarters.

“At halftime the guys talked about how they wanted their season to go,” Casperson said. “They could either roll over and die or they could get out there and compete and be satisfied with our effort, win, lose or draw.”

The Crimson Bears competed.

“They gave us the opportunity to compete,” Casperson said. “We got the score to within three.’

JDHS outscored the Kings 42-31 in the second half.

“That is not quite good enough when you are down 16 at the half,” Casperson said. “Close but not quite.”

Senior Kevin Guimmayen tallied three 3-pointers while Gunnar Schultz and Kaleb Tompkins notched one each.

With 7:13 remaining in the third quarter, and trailing 32-12, the Crimson Bears went on a 13-3 run to cut the deficit to 38-25.

Nathan Klein started the fourth quarter with a shot from past the top of the key and outside the arch to trigger a 7-0 JDHS run that pulled the Crimson Bears to within 37-34.

Kayhi’s Colton Paulson and Ned Day answered but six straight free throws by Adam Empson and Guimmayen kept JDHS close at 41-38 with 3:57 remaining.

Ketchikan’s Alex Pihl would hit 10 free throws in a row and 15-16 in the final three minutes, scoring 15 of the Kings final 18 points.

Pihl led the Kings with 20 points, Matt Standley 11, Isaiah Navales and Omar Mendoza 10 apiece, Mo Bullock 4, and Nick Whicker and Ned Day two each.

Kayhi hit 22-34 at the line: JDHS went 6-16.

Guimmayen and Adam Empson led the Crimson Bears with 16 points apiece, Schultz 6, Tompkins 5, Swofford 4, Klein 3 and Jacob Thibodeau 2.

The Crimson Bears will return 90-percent of their scoring from this season.

“I was extremely proud of our guys,” Casperson said. “They carried themselves with class and with dignity and conducted themselves in a respectful manner all season long. That is more important to me than our wins and loses. You have to win with class and lose with dignity. They certainly did both of those things. I don’t believe I could be more proud of them. Our seniors established a demeanor and work ethic that should set the tone for our guys coming back.”

Thursday March 06, 2014
Kings clobber JDHS in opening round of boys Region V basketball tournament - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team fell behind 14-2 in the first quarter and 21-8 at the half against the Ketchikan Kings and could not make up the difference in a 50-38 loss to open the Region V basketball tournament Wednesday night at JDHS.

Ketchikan hit just 19-42 from the charity stripe in the game (14-31 in the fourth quarter) but still had enough to carry the win.

JDHS’ Kaleb Tompkins, Kevin Guimmayen and Gunnar Schultz carried the Crimson Bears in the second half.

Tompkins and Schultz tallied five points each in a 14-6 third quarter run that put JDHS within five points at the end of the stanza, 27-22.

Bryce Swofford closed the score to three points at 29-26 and Tompkins added a basket to keep it at three again with 31-28.

The Crimson Bears picked up the pressure, but Kayhi responded with a 19-10 run to end the game.

Tompkins led the Crimson Bears with 9 points, Guimmayen added 8, Schultz 7, Swofford and Nathan Klein 4 apiece, Rahul Chhabria and Adam Empson 3 each.

JDHS hit 7-12 from the line.

Alex Pihl led Kayhi with 18 points, Isaiah Navales added 12, Mo Bullock 9, Ned Day 5, Colton Paulsen 4 and Malik Almenzor 2.

“They rattled our cages a little in the third quarter,” Pihl told the Ketchikan Daily News. “But that is why we have intense practices for moments like these.”

Ketchikan advances to play top seed Thunder Mountain at 5 p.m. tonight. JDHS plays at 1:15 p.m. Friday in an elimination game against the loser of TMHS/KTN.

Tuesday March 04, 2014
Who is loudest? Regional tournament will decide - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Loudest is best.

According to a Juneau-Douglas High School pep band member, that makes cross-town rival Thunder Mountain the band to beat. Yes, at the Region V basketball championships, more is at stake than just a hoops title.

Pep bands, cheerleaders, dance teams and students from across Southeast will start rooting today at 8 a.m. when the 3A Petersburg Vikings girls, with bruising Dino Brock of Wrangell High School, take on the Sitka Lady Wolves, coached by Kathy Forrester.

That game will be followed by the 3A boys battle between the Vikings and the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves at 9:45 a.m.

Petersburg coach Rick Brock, Dino’s brother and a defensive hacker in his days at Wrangell High School, will face their cousin, Mt. Edgecumbe coach Archie Young.

Young was deep-three threat in his own right at Wrangell High and now preaches defense to his boys at MEHS. Rick’s son Michael will be at the point for the Braves. He is a lefty. Lefties are sneaky.

There are going to be enough Brocks in the gym to start a sneaker brand.

This is what Southeast ball is all about.


With five seniors, the Vikings boys have experience — and some youthful size in 6-foot-6 junior Colby Bell and 6-foot-6 freshman Jesse Lantiegne.

According to my recollection, the Brocks like to add an inch in the program — but after seeing these lads in person, they may have subtracted. They are tall.

Mt. Edgecumbe is always cool because the players hail from all over. This year we have Hydaburg, Galena, Kwethluk, Mountain Village, St. Michael, Port Lions, Anchorage, Dillingham, St. Paul Island, Quinhagak, Kotlik, Palmer, Golovin, Hoonah, Nome, Bethel and Elim among the two teams nestled at the base of the school’s namesake volcano.

Meshing the styles of a dozen villages is always a handful of work, but that is why Young is at the top of the college-coaching list if he ever decides to move on.

However, waiting tomorrow at 1:15 p.m. with the No. 1 seed is Sitka High. The Wolves have 10 seniors, a virtual legislature of experience.

Two of those seniors, 6-foot-6ers Brian Way and Kendrick Payton, need special stickers on their cars if traveling in low bridge areas.

Lady Braves head coach Dane Vincent has the girls seeded first.

So the Vikings girls and the Sitka Lady Wolves, who play at 8 a.m., will need the rest of that day and night to rest up when the winner faces Mt. Edgecumbe tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

Petersburg has on the roster — you guessed it — another Brock. Dino’s sophomore niece Ruby has the family aggressiveness, but the team gets a lot of action from seniors Sierra Streuli, Grace Weller and Fran Abbott and the talented underclass of junior Shalie Dahl and sophomore Kylie Wallace, among others.

Sitka senior Megan Reid powers the inside for the Lady Wolves, and classmate Sophie Mudry controls the outside, but junior Sid Riggs may be the most dangerous. Fans should also keep an eye out for freshman Zoe Krupa, a brick off the old block from her dad, former coach Rich Krupa.

Morning games are always the toughest at tourney time and the loser of this one finds themselves in another 8 a.m. clash Friday. The winners get an 11:30 a.m. match tomorrow against Mt. Edgecumbe.

The 2A teams will rock the gym for the middle four games today.

It has been a long time since Metlakatla has ruled the roost in the league, and this year both the boys and girls brackets have identical seedings.

At 11:30 a.m. today the MissChiefs (14-3 Overall, 11-1 Southeast) will take on the Glacier Bears girls, or Lady Glacier Bears, or the team from Haines of the opposite sex.

Don’t get me started.

Following the girls, the Chiefs (14-4, 10-2) will live up to their top billing by tipping off against the Glacier Bears boys at 1:15 p.m.

Metlakatla is a really balanced team led by senior Drew Yliniemi. A 5-foot-something guard can be an impact player.

Remember a certain 5-foot-maybe-8 PSG Vikings guard who holds the Southeast single-game scoring record? 69 points? Without overtime? Without the three-point line? Ring a bell?

Dave Ohmer did that damage in 1971 on a trip to the Mt. Edgecumbe fieldhouse. I heard those rims were used as Sitka Sound filler and the nets were burned in effigy shortly afterward. No player has been able to get his groove ever since.

The Chiefs also have Tristan Alexander in the middle, and like all true Annette Islanders these boys — and girls — are not afraid to shoot.

With last names that include Marsden, Henderson, Hudson, Hayward, Guthrie, Williams and Nelson, one expects the ball to be lofted often.

Haines will be dangerous. After dropping their first eight conference games, the Glacier Bears added a transfer player and swept Wrangell and Craig. They have seven seniors, and coach Steve Fossman is looking to send the bunch up north where they may be able to attend a UAA game and watch Fossman’s son, Kyle, play.

The Craig LADY Panthers (15-6, 8-6) and Wrangell LADY Wolves play at 3:15 p.m. These two teams have never played lady-like, and there should be a floor burn or five after this game.

Coach DJ Hansen will have the LPs ready to defend last season’s region and state titles.

The losers of the 2A girls openers play at 8 a.m. tomorrow in an elimination game; the winners meet in tomorrow’s 6:45 p.m. contest.

The boys game between the two schools is just as feisty and, at 5 p.m., is going to spoil some dinner times.

Coaching genius Ray Stokes — yes he had the Brocks and Young in his stable — always gets the most out of his charges, and he has another of his offspring (sophomore Blake) balling from the left-hand side this season with leftie senior Robbie Marshall. Lefties always cause problems (see Brock comma Michael).

Lefties definitely have an advantage over us Scandinavians so it is a good thing we have the 2A/3A split. We will just have to wait and see if anything happens in the cross over games.

The Wolves are one of the few 2A teams who have beaten MET this year.

That occurred, according to a reliable source, because the red-and-white played really well in their home den, the Chiefs were using square basketballs, the heavens opened and pigs flew.

To earn a game against the top seed, the Wolves need to get past No. 2 seed Craig. When the Panthers boys are on, they can shoot. If they miss, 6-foot-6 senior Lincoln Isaacs gets first dibs on the trash.

The losers of the 2A boys opening games play at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow in a loser-out game; the winners play in the prime 8:30 p.m. slot.

Prime time games tonight are the 4A clashes; girls at 6:45 p.m. and boys at 8:30 p.m.

Local fans never tire watching the Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas girls square off, and although the Falcons (14-10, 6-2) and Crimson Bears (3-21, 0-6) may seem mismatched by numbers, they became increasingly better games as the season wound down.

The JDHS girls live and die by seniors Kaitlin Fagerstrom and Kymberlee Kelly, but they have exuberance to spare. If they can string together four quarters for a dollar, they are a team to contend with.

The TMHS girls are on the verge of a title. Junior Ashley Young is a force inside, sophomore Ava Tompkins is a talent on the wing, and senior Michaela Demmert is a heady ball handler. Throw in the scrappy juniors Cheyenne Ekis and Siosi Tupou, and this team can take another win from top-seed Ketchikan.

The Falcons topped Kayhi twice, winning at home 46-41 (lost the second game 49-47) and on the road 37-35 (lost the first game 53-29).

Ketchikan will get the winner tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. and the losers of the opening series play Friday in an elimination game at 11:30 a.m.

The Lady Kings (15-6, 6-2) feature senior experience with Jayley Taylor and Alexis Crellin and talented underclassmen including Alexis Biggerstaff, Eliah Anderson, Charley Edwardson, Courtney Kemble and AJ Dela Cruz.

Tonight’s 8:30 p.m. clash between the JDHS (8-14, 2-6) and Kayhi boys (13-9, 5-3) should be fun. Their history dates back to 1930 when the Kings, called the Polar Bears then, started a back-to-back title run over the Douglas Huskies.

Kayhi began a five-year region title run in 1964 in the Capital City and it became known as the “John Brown era” in 1965 as the freshman star made his first appearance and led the Kings to multiple state titles as well.

The shorts are longer today. The games are still as intense.

Six seniors lead Kayhi up and down the floor, but the team’s strength is junior Alex Pihl at the guard and sophomore Mo Bullock in the paint.

The Crimson Bears have found chemistry late in the season. Junior Adam Empson leads a yard sale of players that include a freshman (Bryce Swofford), a sophomore (Kaleb Tompkins), a classmate (Gunnar Schultz) and a senior or two (Kevin Guimmayen and Dartanan Hodge-Campos).

The loser rests until 1:15 p.m. Friday. The winner gets top seed Thunder Mountain at 5 p.m. tomorrow.

The Falcons are what Southeast basketball has been about since 1929, when the Petersburg Vikings took the first All Alaska Championship in a three-game series over Fairbanks.

The Vikings traveled by fishing boat and train and after two weeks reached their opponent’s gym. They lost 16-11, won 18-17 and clinched 25-20. The news was spread by telegraph: “Petersburg All Alaska Champs.”

They were role models and role players. Harold Runstad, Joe Kahklen, Frank Gordon, Herb Mjorud, Arnold “Swede” Wasvick, Aubrey Shaquani, Louie McDonald and Leo Ness.

Line them up with TMHS.

Matt Seymour, Ben Jahn, Mike Uddipa, Luke Nye, Josh Palmer, Alan Fisher and Ryan Lee. These are seniors who meshed in middle school.

Add in juniors Jacob Calloway, Collin Ludeman, Brendan Pietz and RJ Markovich, sophomore Guy Bean and freshman Chase Saviers and, sans the train, this team can be special.

Can be.

On any given night, the Southeast Conference is up for grabs.

A team can finish first or last.

Even a bad-shooting team that has everything roll in during a game can be pretty amazing.

And pretty loud.

Welcome to Region V tournament basketball.

Sunday March 02, 2014
Falcons salvage region title with 77-66 win over Crimson Bears -Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     One night after falling 67-66 to the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears, the Thunder Mountain Falcons made a statement that they are still the team to beat when the Region V Tournament begins on Wednesday.

The Falcons broke open a close game on Saturday to defeat the Crimson Bears 77-68 and claim a piece of the Southeast Conference crown.

“We are definitely happy to have the regular season under us,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “It was definitely a big win for us tonight. But it is not a crown yet.”

TMHS (16-7 Overall, 5-3 Southeast Conference) and Ketchikan (13-9, 5-3) share the crown by record but the Falcons hold the point differential tiebreaker, which gives them the No. 1 Region V tournament seed. JDHS (8-14, 2-6) is the No. 3 seed.

The Falcons’ senior scoring quartet of Matt Seymour, Ryan Lee, Ben Jahn and Josh Palmer got the fireworks going early as TMHS opened a 19-9 first quarter advantage.

JDHS sophomore Kaleb Tompkins hit back-to-back 3-point scores, one of the old-fashioned hoop and foul variety, to keep the Crimson Bears close at 19-15 starting the second stanza.

“I think our defensive energy was key,” Blasco said. “Defensive energy the entire game. We pressured them a lot more than the night before.”

The Crimson Bears turned the tide to take a 33-32 halftime advantage and did still manage seven 3-point shots but the Falcons bench was key.

“Both the first and third quarter I got guys in foul trouble,” Blasco said. “I was very pleased with guys coming off the bench and stepping up.”

Alan Fisher, Chase Saviers and Trent Uddipa played major roles stepping onto the floor.

The TMHS seniors closed the game from the free throw line.

Palmer led the Falcons with 20 points and went 13-15 at the free throw line. Seymour added 14 points with 5 rebounds and 3 assists, and was 3-4 from the line.

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 15 points, 7 rebounds and was 7-10 at the line. Tompkins added 14 points and was 5-8 from the field.


TMHS – Palmer 20, Seymour 14, Lee 13, Luke Nye 8, Jahn 7, Fisher 6, Chase Saviers 4, Trent Uddipa 2.

JDHS – Empson 15, Tompkins 14, Dar Hodge-Campos 12, Nathan Klein 8, Jacob Thibodeau 7, Manase Maake 4, Kevin Guimmayen 4, Bryce Swofford 2, Gunnar Schultz 1, Rahul Chhabria 1.

JDHS 13-19 freethrows; TMHS 22-39.

The Falcons will now get the No. 1 seed at the Region V tournament that starts on Wednesday at JDHS.

Ketchikan and JDHS play on Wednesday and TMHS gets the winner.

“Now we go study film on both Juneau and Ketchikan,” Blasco said. “This weekend was a great precursor to what this next weekend is going to be. Everybody is well balanced. It is going to be very competitive basketball.”

Region V tournament schedules and previews will run in Tuesdays paper.

Saturday March 01, 2014
Crimson Bears boys stun Falcons 67-66 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     It’s official.

Anyone can beat anyone in Southeast high school basketball, and the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears stunned the state’s fourth-ranked Thunder Mountain Falcons 67-66 on Friday night in the JDHS gym.

“On any given weekend down here, anyone can win,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “This was old-school Southeast basketball. The kids on both teams competed, the fans on both sides were cheering and the atmosphere was exciting. That is what Southeast basketball is about.”

Sophomore Kaleb Tompkins hit one of two free throws with 7.2 seconds remaining to give JDHS a three-point lead at 67-64.

The Crimson Bears fouled TMHS junior Jacob Calloway on the inbound pass. Calloway missed the front end of a one-and-one, but senior Matt Seymour tipped in the rebound. JDHS threw the next pass the length of the court as time expired.

“I am just happy that we won the game,” Tompkins said. “That is all I care about.”

On a night when the banged-up, youthful Crimson Bears were not supposed to compete with the senior, poised Falcons, the stars aligned and the hoop was as large as the heavens.

JDHS hit 24-47 from the field, and 13-26 from beyond the arch, which is a miracle in itself considering the Crimson Bears shot just 11 percent in their last game against the Falcons. TMHS hit 25-45 from the field and 3-8 from the 3-point line.

Tompkins buried 4-8 from past the arch and Swofford was a perfect 3-3 past the line and finished with 12 points.

“I just focused on the shot,” Swofford said. “I did not expect to have the game I did. I was just approaching this game with the attitude to play the best that I could.”

JDHS led 53-45 starting the fourth quarter, but the Falcons went on a 10-4 run to cut the lead to 57-55 with four minutes remaining.

A Tompkins basket was answered by Falcons senior Josh Palmer and classmate Ryan Lee tied the score on a rebound and put back with 2:37 remaining.

Senior Adam Empson gave the Crimson Bears the lead again, hitting one free throw while the Falcons went cold at the charity stripe.

“We just came out aggressive and pushed the pace of the game,” Empson said. “I don’t think there was a point in the game that I ever relaxed.”

JDHS junior forward Nathan Klein hit his second 3-pointer of the game with 1:45 remaining for a four-point cushion, and senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos drove baseline and lofted a shot high off the glass for a six-point spread with a minute left.

Calloway and Seymour answered an Empson free throw and with 19.7 seconds remaining the Crimson Bears couldn’t inbound the ball and called time out.

A pair of missed free throws by JDHS put the rebound in the hands of Falcons senior Ben Jahn who threw an outlet pass to Seymour for a basket and two-point deficit of 66-64 with 8.9 seconds remaining.

Tompkins then sealed the win for JDHS and Seymour tipped in the final Falcons points.

“It was a very entertaining high school basketball game,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “You have to give them credit. They shot the lights out. They maintained a very high level of energy for the whole game. It was a fun game to be a part of. It was just disappointing we came out on the other end. JD came to play and got the better of us tonight.”

The Falcons did not contest the three-point shot

“I don’t like to give up 67 points,” Blasco said. “So I am going to see what our defense could have done better.”

Thunder Mountain’s Seymour scored the first 3-pointer of the game which was answered by Klein for JDHS. The Falcons led for the last time in the game at 7-6 and the Crimson Bears were up 21-17 after one quarter.

The Falcons closed to within one point with 6:50 remaining in the second quarter and then within two at the 2:26 mark but JDHS closed the quarter on a 10-4 run to lead 40-32 at the half.

Ryan Lee had eight points in the third quarter for the Falcons and Palmer had a basket, four assists and two steals in the stanza to keep TMHS close at 53-45 starting the final period.

“He is a solid point guard,” Blasco said. “We have been working with him a lot to take over that point guard leadership role and I think he has accepted it and has done well with it. I feel comfortable putting the ball in his hands all game.”

The loss means that the Falcons must win Saturday to clinch a share of the regular season crown with Ketchikan. TMHS holds the point differential tiebreaker, which would give them the No. 1 Region V tournament seed. A loss to JDHS on Saturday gives the conference title and No. 1 seed to Kayhi. JDHS is the No. 3 seed.

JDHS Boys 67, TMHS Boys 66

TMHS- Ryan Lee- 16 PTS, 3 RB, 8-12 FG, 0-2 FT; Josh Palmer- 12 PTS, 1 RB, 3 AST, 1 STL, 6-11 FG, 0-3 3-P; Matt Seymour- 10 PTS, 4 RB, 5 AST, 3 STL, 3-7 FG, 1-2 FT, 1-4 3-PT; Jacob Calloway- 8 PTS, 6 RB, 1 AST, 2-3 FG, 3-5 FT; Colin Ludeman- 6 PTS, 4 AST, 3-3 FG, 0-1 FT; Trent Uddipa- 5 PTS, 1 STL, 2-2 FG, 1-1 FT; Alan Fisher- 5 PTS, 1 RB, 2-3 FG, 1-1 3-PT; Ben Jahn- 2 PTS, 4 RB, 2 AST, 1-2 FG; Luke Nye- 2 PTS, 1 AST, 1-2 FG.

JDHS- Kaleb Tompkins- 19 PTS, 2 AST, 7-11 FG, 1-2 FT, 4-8 3-PT; Bryce Swofford- 12 PTS, 2 RB, 1 AST, 4-6 FG, 2-5 FT, 2-3 3-PT; Adam Empson- 10 PTS, 5 RB, 13 AST, 1 STL, 4-10 FG, 2-4 FT, 0-1 3-PT; Nathan Klein- 9 PTS, 9 RB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 3-6 FG, 1-2 FT, 2-5 3-PT; Kevin Guimayen- 8 PTS, 2 RB, 3-6 FG, 2-5 3-PT; Gunnar Schultz- 7 PTS, 1 RB, 2-4 FG, 1-1 FT, 2-4 3-PT; Dar Hodge- Campos- 2 PTS, 1 RB, 1-4 FG.

Friday February 28, 2014
Hail Seniors! Play Ball! - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe

What is round, rolls on the floor and is red, black, blue and silver all over.

Hint: It looks like a basketball.

No real joke here.

That is what it looks like when Juneau-Douglas and Thunder Mountain get to hooping; a rock-and-roll, upside-down tumble along the sidelines and through the key as bragging rights are claimed.

The red-and-black of the JDHS boy’s basketball team has been a hue of black-and-blue this season and tonight the Crimson Bears will tip-off without star center Bruce Jones.

The 6-foot-6 junior suffered a meniscus tear in his knee during last Saturday’s game against Kodiak and will be out the remainder of the season.

This has come at a time when Jones was really starting to be an aggressive force inside for the Crimson Bears.

The injury also comes just as JDHS junior guard Adam Empson and freshman wing Stewart Conn return to the lineup, both from ankle injuries.

That trio would have given JDHS a respectable chance to reclaim the Region V title lost last season to TMHS.

Coach Robert Casperson knows he has enough talent and players who can step up.

They now need to find a strategy to slow down both TMHS and Ketchikan.

The Falcons, meanwhile, may be returning 6-foot-5 junior Jacob Calloway to the floor for limited minutes after missing the past eight games with an ankle injury.

Coach John Blasco will not be pushing the ball handling, rebounding, defending and shooting swing player as the Region tourney looms in another week.

Conditioning will be the key.

This weekend’s senior appreciation series between JDHS and TMHS will set the pairing for the Region V Tournament that follows on Mar. 5-8, also at JDHS.

The TMHS boys (15-6 overall, 4-2 Southeast Conference) are the team to beat in the Alaska Panhandle and through most of the remaining state.

The Falcons slipped a notch to fourth in the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches poll this week, partially due to their split on the road in Ketchikan.

The Kings (13-9, 5-3) have now taken a game at home and on the road from the Falcons.

If the Falcons win one-of-two games from the JDHS boys (7-13, 1-5) this weekend they earn the No. 1 seed for the region tourney by virtue of point differential over the Kings.

The TMHS boys must win both games to earn the regular-season title out right.

The Crimson Bears girls (3-19, 0-6) can do little to improve their placement when they play the Falcons girls (12-10, 4-2) this weekend. They can, however, keep working on an answer to coach Dee Boster’s question, “How can we put four complete quarters together in one game?”

And they can see what might work in the tourney, as the Falcons will be their first round opponent.

The Ketchikan girls (15-6, 6-2) have clinched the No. 1 seed in the Region tourney by virtue of the head-to-head point differential tiebreaker over TMHS. If the Falcons sweep JDHS this weekend they will officially share the regular-season crown with Kayhi, but the Lady Kings have the nod.

TMHS coach Tanya Nizich would love to put a crown in the Falcons trophy case.

While I have mentioned most of the seniors, I haven’t touched on the JDHS pep band and dance teams yet.

Those crazy upper class cats sitting aloft in the Bear Den alcove and wailing away are pep band officers David Dumesnil, Seth Bodine and Ali Hiley, along with band members Alex Soboleff, Riley Cummins, Abram Leigh, Johnny Connelly, Sam Adam, Ivan Urrita-Narino and Keenan Wright.

And those awesome senior ladies that cause a blackout most halftimes when they wow the crowd are Brandi Hall, Hannah Cassell, Corby Abel, Randi Held, Jessica Sjoroos and Brooke Moss.

So be ready to honor the JDHS girl’s basketball team directly following their 6:15 p.m. game on Saturday against Thunder Mountain, and be prepared to pay respects to the JDHS boys hoopsters and the cheer/stunt and dance team roughly five minutes before their 8 p.m. tip-off Saturday against the TMHS boys. Friday’s games will be at the same times, 6:15 p.m. for girls and 8 p.m. for boys. JV boys will play at 2:30 p.m. and JV girls at 4:30 p.m. both days.

Tonight’s games have meaning, and tomorrow nights have bragging rights, plus both have a lot of seniors who deserve flowers, balloons and an ice pack or two.

Southeast Conference Standings:

4A boys - Thunder Mountain 4-2, Ketchikan 5-3, Juneau-Douglas 1-5.

4A girls - Ketchikan 6-2, Thunder Mountain 4-2, Juneau-Douglas 0-6.

3A boys - Sitka 6-0, Petersburg 3-5, Mt. Edgecumbe 1-5.

3A girls - Mt. Edgecumbe 5-1, Petersburg 5-3, Sitka 0-6.

The Sitka boys and girls play Mt. Edgecumbe today and Saturday.

2A boys - Metlakatla 10-2, Craig 6-6, Wrangell 4-8, Haines 4-8.

The Wrangell boys won the seeding tiebreaker against Haines based on head-to-head point differential.

2A girls - Metlakatla 11-1, Craig 8-4, Wrangell 3-9, Haines 2-10.

AABC poll:

4A Boys - 1. Lathrop, 2. West Anchorage, 3. West Valley, 4. Thunder Mountain, 5. Colony.

4A Girls - 1. Kodiak, 2. West Anchorage, 3. Dimond, 4. West Valley, 5. Ketchikan.

3A Boys - 1. Monroe Catholic, 2. Anchorage Christian, 3. Bethel, 4. Grace Christian, 5. Nome.

3A Girls - 1. Anchorage Christian, 2. Valdez, 3. Mt Edgecumbe, 4. Nikiski, 5. Petersburg.

2A Boys - 1. Bristol Bay High, 2. Dillingham, 3. Metlakatla, 4. Hooper Bay, 5. Unalakleet.

2A Girls - 1. Dillingham, 2. Glennallen, 3. Unalakleet, 4. Hooper Bay, 5. Metlakatla.

1A Boys - 1. Klawock, 2. Noatak, 3. Yakutat, 4. Noorvik, 5. Scammon Bay.

1A Girls - 1. Nikolaevsk, 2. Cook Inlet Academy, 3. Shishmaref, 4. Kake, 5. Newhalen.

Thursday February 27, 2014
Juneau-Douglas will honor seniors during basketball clash with Thunder Mountain - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School basketball teams will honor seniors during Saturday’s series against Thunder Mountain at JDHS. Also honored will be seniors on the Cheer/Stunt team, Dance and Pep Band.

The Crimson Bears girl’s basketball team will honor their seniors at the conclusion of their 6:15 p.m. game and the Crimson Bears boys will honor their seniors prior to the start of their 8 p.m. game along with the Cheer/ Stunt, Dance and Pep Band seniors.

Coaches sent in their thoughts on seniors via email.

Crimson Bears boys basketball (coach Robert Casperson):

Trevor Rich – One of the unsung heroes of the JDHS basketball program this year would have to be Trevor Rich. He shows up every day with a positive attitude, ready, willing, and able to give all that he has… every single time he steps on the floor. He is a much-needed “coach on the court” in games, based on his ability to communicate with his teammates. His steady improvement over the years has made him a reliable force on the interior, both offensively and defensively. Trevor is truly a gentle giant, always looking out for the wellbeing of his friends and teammates. Sadly, his senior season was cut short due to injury, but that hasn’t dampened his desire to remain a part of the program and support his team. Trevor’s effort and enthusiasm will be missed, but I know that he will be very successful as he moves on from Juneau-Douglas High School.

Kevin Guimmayen – (Speaking Captain) Kevin has ascended into the starting point guard position in his senior season and provided the team with leadership and guidance. By spending time working on his shot during the offseason, he has become someone that can be relied on to hit the three-point shot. Despite his willingness to share his smile quickly with those around him, when it is time to work he is all business. Kevin consistently encourages his younger teammates to keep going and work harder, which has helped them improve as the season has progressed. His teammates respect his ability to motivate and at the beginning of the year selected Kevin to be our speaking captain. I am confident that skills Kevin has displayed this year while working with his teammates will serve him well after graduation.

Dartanan (Dar) Hodge-Campos – As multi-sport athlete at Juneau-Douglas High School, Dar has brought his athleticism to the hardwood for another season. His competitive nature has brought some much-needed fire to our practices and games. He deeply enjoys the camaraderie of his teammates and has displayed more leadership as the season has progressed. Through pushing his limits and finding out the importance of commitment to goals, Dar has grown a lot in his senior season. I anticipate that he will use his experiences this year to transition successfully into his next endeavors.

Rahul Chhabria – During his 4 years with the program Rahul has improved as much as, if not more, than anyone I have ever worked with in my 14 years coaching at Juneau-Douglas High School. Rahul is the epitome of “first one in, last one out”. He shows up an hour before practice and stays long after our drill work has ended. This level of dedication has taken him from playing in C/JV games last year to our first guard off the bench. I know that he will apply his determination and work ethic after graduation to become a success in his chosen profession.

Crimson Bears girls basketball (coach Dee Boster):

Kayla Balovich - Kayla played C and JV as a freshman. Her sophomore and junior year she played varsity and was a swing player in JV games. She tore her ACL in the fall and was unable to play basketball this year. She has served as manager for the team. Kayla is a quiet yet determined young lady and we miss her “up and under” baseline post moves but we are glad she has been around the gym throughout the year.

Kaitlin Fagerstrom - Kaitlin has been on the varsity team all four years. She was a swing player in JV games her freshman and sophomore years and has started on varsity the last two years. She is probably the fastest player on the court at any given moment and when she “turns it on” she can get in a mode that is exciting (although sometimes scary) to watch. Kaitlin’s outside shooting and her ability to post up have led to high rebounding and scoring games and are definitely assets to the team.

Kacey Jackson - Kacey played C team her freshman year and JV her sophomore and junior years. She is a varsity starter this year. Kacey tore her ACL her freshman year and worked hard in the off-season to come back her sophomore year. Kacey is one of the quietest kids we have in the program. She has always been eager to learn and will do anything the coaches ask. She has a calming effect, which often times the coach needs. She works hard and brings a solid post defense to the game.

Kymberlee Kelly - Kym played C/JV as a freshman. She played varsity as a sophomore and was a swing player in JV games. She has been a starter on varsity the last two years. Kym brings a quiet aggressiveness to the court. She often times goes unnoticed until you look at the stats and see she delivered big on both rebounding and points. She is a defensive stopper as well.

Tori Fogg - Tori played C/JV as a freshman. Her sophomore and Junior year she played varsity and was a swing player in JV games. She is a starter on varsity this year. Tori has developed into a quiet leader on the court, is a hard worker, a good defender and has developed a crossover move that when executed is fun to watch. Tori isn’t afraid to push her teammates to become better.

Boster stated that Fagerstrom, Fogg and Kelly have their own kind of crazy personality and together make it hard not to smile and laugh.

“Often times at the most inappropriate times,” Boster said. “Like when the kids do something wrong and all you want to do is yell at them. Kacey and Kayla bring quietness and calmness to the gym that often times is desired. Whatever each brings, outside the X’s and O’s in their unique way (and without knowing), they have reminded the coaches to laugh, relax and take things into perspective. They make life fun and they will be missed.”

Senior Cheer/Stunt team members are:

Misha Culver, Jacob Hamilton, Breanna Helf, JD Hudson, Emily Keithahn, Sarah Landen, Tanya Miramontes, Elden Punongbayan, Sally Roesel, Natalia Sabova, George Sua, Derik Vance.

Dance and Pep Band rosters were not received by press time.

Sunday February 23, 2014
Juneau-Douglas boys swept by Kodiak - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team fell to the Kodiak Bears for second night in a row, falling 62-56 on Saturday at the JDHS gym. The Crimson Bears lost 57-49 on Friday.

On Saturday the two teams traded baskets through the night and the score was tied at the half 25-25.

“It was close all the way through,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “It was a fun ball game. We had a full house and the kids were hitting shots.”

With the absence of Junior guard Adam Empson to injury, younger players have been called upon to fill the void. Junior Gunnar Schultz and Sophomore Kaleb Tompkins combined for 25 points and six 3-pointers in Saturday’s game to keep the Crimson Bears close between three periods of play.

“We had a slow start in the third quarter,” Casperson said. “That is a part of our mental preparation. We have to be ready to go all the time.”

Kodiak’s senior sharpshooter Austin Frick went on his own run when he nailed four from beyond the arch in less than a minute to open the fourth quarter and put the game out of reach.

Game stats-

JDHS- Kaleb Tompkins- 13 PTS, 1 RB, 1 AST, 2 STL, 5-8 FG, 3-6 3-PT; Gunnar Schultz- 12 PTS, 1 AST, 2 STL, 4-7 FG, 1-2 FT, 3-5 3-PT; Nathan Klein- 9 PTS, 8 RB, 4 AST, 1 STL, 2-4 FG, 2-3 FT, 1-2 3-PT; Dar Hodge-Campos- 6 PTS, 1 RB, 2 AST, 0-2 FG, 6-6 FT, 0-1 FT; Jacob Thibodeau- 5 PTS, 3 RB, 1-3 FG, 1-2 3-PT; Bryce Swofford- 4 PTS, 6 RB, 1 AST, 2-2 FG, 0-2 F; Manase Maake- 4 PTS, 1 RB, 2 AST, 2-4 FG, 0-1 FT; Bruce Jones- 3 PTS, 3 RB, 0-3 1-3 FG, 1-6 FT.

KHS- Austin Frick- 19 PTS, 5 RB, 3 AST, 6-14 FG, 2-4 FT, 5-10 3-PT; Alec Canate-Hall- 13 PTS, 3 RB, 5 AST, 1 STL, 4-7 FG, 3-4 FT, 0-1 3-PT; Scott Garcia- 14 PTS, 4 RB, 7-9 FG, 0-2 FT; Jemuel Mangalus- 8 PTS, 1 AST, 3 STL, 2-5 FG, 3-5 FT, 1-4 3-PT; Ryan Bezona- 4 PTS, 5 RB, 2-4 FG, 0-2 FT, Billy Alcaide- 3 PTS, 1 RB, 1-1FG, 1-1 3-PT; Max Mutch- 2 PTS, 1-1 FG.



JDHS put themselves into an early hibernation and struggled to get into Friday nights 57-49 loss to Kodiak.

The Crimson Bears fell behind 17-4 in the first quarter, even though the first play of the game seemed to be a JDHS statement shot.

Bruce Jones took a lob pass at the rim from Gunnar Schultz to give JDHS the first two points of the game but the Crimson Bears never had a clean shot again as Kodiak closed out the quarter with a 17-2 run.

Coach Robert Casperson had the Crimson Bears in a half-court trap and Kodiak coach David Anderson had the Bears pressing full court in the second quarter.

JDHS found the rim a bit kinder as they tallied 15 points with Kevin Guimmayen finding his stroke outside and Jones battling inside. Kaleb Tompkins nailed a shot from beyond the arch and Dartanan Campos-Hodge followed a miss to energize the Crimson Bears on the offensive end.

Defensively JDHS could not hold down Kodiak as six different Bears tallied in the stanza. Alec Canete-Hall scored seven of his game-high 19 points in the quarter and Scott Garcia four of his nine game points to give the visitors a 37-19 margin at the break.

After a bleak eight minutes in the third quarter by both teams the Crimson Bears trailed 44-26 starting the final stanza.

Tompkins began a scoring run to open the fourth quarter and Jones and Campos-Hodge joined in to pull within nine, 46-35. Tompkins then buried a deep shot to close to six with 4:10 remaining.

Guimmayen and Schultz kept up the attack, countering Kodiak scores to stay within 51-43 with 1:17 left to play.

Nathan Klein pulled JDHS within five points as he nailed a deep 3-pointer from in front of the Crimson Bears bench.

JDHS had to foul to stop the clock and Kodiak went 5-10 in the final 28 seconds but the Crimson Bears missed six shots before Guimmayen tallied the final three-point shot from the corner.

Kodiak’s Canete-Hall hit one-of-two free throws to end the game.

Guimmayen led JDHS with 11 points, Jones added 10, Tompkins seven, Schultz, Hodge-Campos and Klein five each, Swofford four and Rahul Chhabria two.

JDHS hit 14-26 at the charity stripe; Kodiak hit 11-23. Ryan Bezona and Scott Garcia added nine points each for Kodiak, Austin Frick and Tyler Canete-Hall six apiece, Levi Fried five and Mangalus three.

JDHS will next host Thunder Mountain (14-7, 4-2) on Feb. 28-Mar. 1.

Friday February 14, 2014
Crosstown showdown - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Just three weeks remain in the Southeast Conference basketball season and each will hold impactful days on the seeding for the Region V tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School on Mar. 5-8.

Starting this weekend with the Thunder Mountain boys (11-5 overall, 1-1 southeast conference) hosting cross-town rival JDHS (7-9/1-3) and the TMHS girls (11-9/3-1) traveling to Ketchikan (10-5, 1-1), league records will be in flux. The JDHS girls (3-15/0-2) travel to Kayhi on Monday.

“I am expecting an exciting environment,” Thunder Mountain boys coach John Blasco said. “The last four years we have enjoyed the cross town game and the student sections have been very vibrant. We are looking forward to a fun environment and are expecting a very competitive game. We compete hard, and I recognize that with JDHS as well, for 32 minutes. We are going to give it our all individually and as a team. I think we are bigger physically this year than we have been.”

This is the first match up of the season for the two boy’s squads. The Falcons swept all four conference games last season and then the region title game 56-52.

The Falcons are more physical than they were last season and the Crimson Bears, once holding the size advantage, are looking to be more effective with their quickness.

According to JDHS boy’s coach Robert Casperson, a Floyd Dryden Middle School teacher, yesterday’s parent teacher conferences nearly turned into pep rallies.

“Based on the level of interest from the parents that came in to meet with us I am expecting a very big crowd,” Casperson said. “That is my expectation. The series is pretty unique considering Juneau’s long history with basketball in southeast and in Juneau in particular. This goes back to the old Douglas verse Juneau days when there were two high schools. This harkens back to those days, not that everyone now was around or thinks about that history, but this is our contemporary history of that. A lot of people are excited. They have friends and family members on both sides.”

Casperson likes how his team opens a game and realizes it is needed for 32 minutes.

“Our guys get after it,” Casperson said. “It will take our best effort for a full game against Thunder Mountain. The Falcons are very talented and there is a reason they are ranked high in the state and have been all year long. They are good. Our guys are willing and excited for this chance to play and are looking forward to competing.”

For the TMHS and JDHS girls, a trip to Ketchikan is going to shed a lot of light on the region mojo.

“I feel that this weekend’s set of games is extremely important for our team to head into Region V with,” Thunder Mountain girl’s coach Tanya Nizich said. “Not only for getting the bye if we can snag some wins out of this, but just our overall confidence going into the tournament with a couple of wins. It is a known fact that Ketchikan has been big rivals for Juneau in general. They have always had a strong program. It is well known that it is seems a bit tougher of an atmosphere to play in Ketchikan. They have good fan support, a great student section and if you are not ready to have a loud and crazy gym than you are not ready to play. I think that we have proved our point this season that we are a team to not overlook. We have proved that to Southeast definitely and we are slowly starting to be recognized in the state.”

The Falcons were 1-7 in conference last season and JDHS was 7-1, while Kayhi was 4-4. The Lady Kings and Falcons are both relishing the turnaround this season while the Crimson Bears are feeling overlooked.

“I think we can beat them, just like I think we can win a lot of games we did not beat this season,” JDHS girl’s coach Dee Boster said. “Ketchikan is beatable and we have to go thinking that we can beat them. There has always been a rivalry with Kayhi, and before Thunder Mountain it was a pretty fierce one with Ketchikan. It is a tough gym to play in. They are a rowdy crowd with lots of school spirit. I like how we get after it on defense. When we decide to play defense we are a fun team. We are quick and fast. When we are ready to go for it we go for it and are a fun team to watch.”

Starting tonight, local basketball fans will be in for three weeks of gym excitement up and down Egan Drive.

“Naturally it started as a cross town rival but it was the young school trying to prove to the big school that they could compete,” Blasco said. “Now we are a little more established and both teams are trying to compete for bragging rights in the town, in a positive sense. It is something the kids all look forward to because it is the hometown and this is the only time with this environment. We have kind of seen that basketball is the most competitive sport between the two schools at this point. Everybody takes pride in it.”

Added Casperson, “If you can’t get excited about these games as a player or a fan somebody better check you for a pulse.

The Kayhi boys (12-8, 4-2) host TMHS Feb.21-22. The four Juneau programs square off at JDHS on Feb. 28-Mar. 1.

Sunday February 09, 2014
Cougars run past Crimson Bears 78-43 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Service High School boy’s basketball team completed a sweep of the Capital City hoop squads with a 78-43 win over the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears on Saturday at JDHS. The Cougars beat Thunder Mountain on Friday 55-49.

Service’s Pindo Drammeh and Ihro Raguindin scored 19 each in the game and Drammeh blocked 7 shots. JDHS’ Nathan Klein led the Crimson Bears with 13 points.

“Nathan has been playing awesome lately,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “He is stepping up and starting to get more comfortable on the floor. We just ran into a very good ball club tonight.”

First quarter action was limited to ball movement on the perimeter by the Cougars while the Crimson Bears forced the action when they had possession, twice running into the defense of Drammeh in the paint.

JDHS’ Adam Empson and Service’s Ihro Raguindin both scored four points in the 9-8 Crimson Bears lead.

“Service is very disciplined in their attack,” Casperson said. “They showed that in their first possession. We played defense for over a minute and a half. And they kept doing it. We did a great job denying cutters.”

JDHS maintained an aggressive push and took a 15-10 lead in the opening moments of the second period. With 2:48 remaining Service’s Nahshon Fromm hit two free throws for a 25-23 advantage and held on for a 31-27 halftime edge.

“I thought the second half was better than the first,” Service coach Tyler Moor said. “We knew that Juneau likes to run and try to get stuff in transition so we tried to take care of possessions as much as we could.”

Both teams traded baskets in the opening minutes of the third quarter. Leading 41-37 the Cougars pressed full court and closed the stanza with a 10-1 run and led 52-38.

“We were able to force some turnovers in the second half,” Moor said. “They missed some shots against our zone and it gave us an opportunity to get out and run off of their misses.”

Service outscored the Crimson Bears 26-3 in the fourth quarter as Drammeh tallied 12 points and 3 blocks in the run. Klein netted the lone 3-point shot for JDHS.

“We were down four at the half and lost by 30,” Casperson said. “The wheels just came off in the second half. They did a good job down here in Juneau both nights in tough environments. They played great and showed why they are beating a lot of quality opponents around the state. They do not make a lot of mistakes.”

Klein led the Crimson Bears with 13 points and 11 rebounds, Adam Empson added 9, Bruce Jones 5, Gunnar Schultz, Bryce Swofford, and Stewart Conn 4 each, Dar Hodge-Campos and Rahul Chhabria 2 apiece.

Drammeh and Raguindin scored 19 each for Service, Nahshon Fromm added 9, Brad Wacker, Reece Robinson, and Nathan Ferguson 6 each, Benjamin Biel and Nathan Fromm 5 apiece, Eben Upton and Ronald Hall 2 each.

The Crimson Bears went 8-13 at the charity stripe, the Cougars hit 12-17.

JDHS next plays at Thunder Mountain on Feb. 14-15.

Thursday February 06, 2014
Crimson Bears fall again to Kings, 55-48 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Ketchikan secures conference lead with sweep over JDHS

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team fell just short for the second night in a row against the visiting Ketchikan Kings, losing 55-48 on Wednesday at the JDHS gym.

The Crimson Bears (7-8 overall, 1-3 conference) trailed by 12 points in the fourth quarter and closed to within five in the stanza before the Kings’ (11-8), 4-2) stroke at the free throw line carried away the momentum.

“We are just a little hesitant right now,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “We will talk about it and get back in the lab, tweak the formula a little bit and see what comes out. We are disappointed, but I am not discouraged in our guys. They are still competing. There is no quit in them and anytime you have that you have a chance.”

With 2:16 remaining in the game Ketchikan senior Colton Paulsen made two free throws to give the Kings a 48-40 lead.

Crimson Bears junior Bruce Jones made two free throws and classmate Nathan Klein stepped to the line for two more. Klein hit the first to make it a five-point game. His next shot bounced out but junior Adam Empson grabbed the rebound. Empson faked a shot inside and found sophomore Caleb Tompkins outside the three-point line. Tompkins buried the shot to bring JDHS within two at 48-46 with 1:33 remaining.

“I was just hoping I would make it,” Tompkins said. “Because we were behind. I am getting more comfortable with shooting outside.”

The pass and the shot said a lot about the continued improvement of the Crimson Bears.

“We rely on Adam a lot,” Casperson said. “We have to keep building the trust among the team and that was what that play showed. Adam trusts his teammates. We ask a lot of Adam and he takes a lot upon himself. He wants to help us in any way possible. A lot of our guys carry that mentality.”

The Crimson Bears would continue a full court press to look for steals and put the Kings on the line. Ketchikan hit 12 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter, seven by junior Alex Pihl who scored 11 of his game-high 18 points in the stanza.

JDHS could not mount another score until Empson hit a basket with 16 seconds remaining in the game.

“I have confidence in our team to make their shots,” Empson said. “In practice I see their hard work and it benefits us out on the floor. After these tough loses we know we have worked hard, we just have to keep going on to the next game.”

The game started with a lot more patience than Tuesday’s 73-64 Kayhi win.

JDHS settled in a 2-3 zone while the Kings went man-to-man.

The Crimson Bears had four turnovers in the first quarter, two in their first possessions, while the Kings ran time off the clock and found open looks from outside in to take a 10-9 lead.

The Kayhi pressure limited JDHS to just seven points in the second quarter, thanks in large part by their swarming help defense and steals from Paulsen and Pihl.

“I just try to keep everybody together,” Paulsen said. “I am kind of the defensive anchor, that is what I do is play defense. These wins are pretty big. Every kid in Ketchikan used to dream about coming to Juneau and winning. We are on a good streak right now and we just have to keep getting better.”

Kayhi led 22-16 at the half.

Empson tried to will the Crimson Bears back into the game in the opening moments of the second half, leading a trap and forcing a turnover, finding junior Bruce Jones inside and senior Kevin Guimmayen outside for a 3-point basket. An Empson pass to senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos closed the lead to 29-21.

“Adam is such a dynamic player we tried to focus more on him,” Ketchikan coach Eric Stockhausen said. “They stayed in that zone a lot longer tonight. I think our defensive focus was a lot better. It was a completely different game. I credit Juneau. It was a really good high school basketball game. I though both sides were rally aggressive and it was a physical game. I am proud of our kids and we are thankful to get a conference victory.”

The Kings were quick but not in a hurry on offense. While the Crimson Bears swarmed on defense the Kings were able to move the ball around the perimeter.

“We were really focused on seeing the whole floor,” Stockhausen said. “Juneau comes at you from so many angles and mixes up the defenses. I thought our court awareness was better tonight. You can’t duplicate the Juneau pressure in practice so I thought we really showed composure at the end. Hopefully this gives us momentum to push for the conference lead against Thunder Mountain (11-4, 1-1).”

The Kings ran off a string of free throws by Paulsen and senior Isaiah Navales to again regain composure and junior Ned Day added a basket for an 11-point advantage at 35-24 with 2:34 remaining in the stanza.

JDHS’ Jones sandwiched his third and fourth fouls around two made free throws to close out the third quarter trailing 35-26.

Empson found a steal and a basket in the opening moments of the fourth quarter to start the Crimson Bears into a slow crawl for contention but Pihl answered with a pair of free throws to force a time out.

Jones would foul out with 1:45 remaining in the game and setting the stage for Empson to secure the rebound that led to Tompkins triple.

“We are certainly at a point where we need to start making plays and not excuses,” Casperson said. “Ketchikan plays really hard, they are disciplined and they want the ball. They outworked us this weekend. We will have to be better prepared when Service steps in here on Saturday. They have been giving teams up north problems.”

The Crimson Bears host the Service Cougars on Saturday at 8 p.m. The Cougars play at Thunder Mountain on Friday at 8 p.m.

Empson and Jones led the Crimson Bears with 13 points each, Hodge-Campos and Klein five each, Treyson Ramos, Guimmayen, Tompkins and Bryce Swofford three apiece.

JDHS went 14-20 at the charity stripe; Kayhi 19-27.

Navales added 14 points for the Kings, Mo Bullock eight, Paulsen seven, Day six and Matt Standley two.

Game Stats:

JDHS- Empson- 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 6-8 fg’s, 0-2 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Jones- 13 points, 7 rebounds, 3-7 fg’s, 7-8 ft’s; Klein- 5 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, 2-6 fg’s, 1-2 ft’s, 0-2 3’s; Hodge Campos- 5 points, 4 rebounds, 1-5 fg’s, 2-2 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Ramos- 3 points, 1 rebound, 0-2 fg’s, 3-4 fg’s, 0-1 3’s; Guimmayen- 3 points, 1 assist, 1-2 fg’s, 1-1 3’s.

KHS- Pihl- 19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, 5-7 fg’s, 10-12 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Naveles- 12 points, 3-10 fg’s, 5-7 ft’s, 1-8 3’s; Bullock- 8 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-7 fg’s; Almenzor- 3 points, 4 rebounds, 1-2 fg’s, 1-2 ft’s; Paulsen- 7 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1-2 fg’s, 4-4 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Day- 6 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 3-3 fg’s, 0-2 ft’s.

Wednesday February 05, 2014
Ketchikan Kings run spoils Crimson Bears Southeast catch - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Ketchikan Kings broke a three-way tie atop the Southeast Conference with a 73-64 win over the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears at home on Tuesday night.

Kayhi (10-8, 3-2), JDHS (7-7, 1-2) and Thunder Mountain (11-4, 1-1) were in a mid-season bottleneck for the top seed.

“Ketchikan controlled the tempo,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “They played a heck of a game and executed exactly what they needed to do to be successful. They were the aggressor and thus the victor.”

The Kings pressured full court, took care of the ball on offense, made layups and hit 20-26 from the free throw line, while the Crimson Bears found some inside looks at the hoop early and turned the ball over a season-low four times in the first half, which led to a one tie and two lead changes in the first quarter.

The Kings went up 15-14 with three minutes remaining in the first period and never trailed again in the game.

Six different Crimson Bears found the hoop in the first quarter and junior Gunnar Schultz’s jump shot at the buzzer pulled JDHS within five points, 23-18.

“These kids are working hard for us every day in practice and they deserve to play in a game when it matters,” Casperson said. “They have an impact in the outcome of the game if they get to play in the first half. The rotation definitely shortens up in second half, we try to go with guys who seem a little more ready.”

The hot shooting by both clubs continued in the second quarter with JDHS tying the score at 25-25 on a 3-pointer by Maake and back-to-back baskets by sophomore Treyson Ramos.

“Treyson played his heart out,” Casperson said. “He has been working hard in practice and it led to some game success for him.”

Ketchikan regained control with baskets by junior Alex Pihl and Mo Bullock, who hit eight of his team-high 19 points in the period.

“Alex is a special player,” Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said. “He has really put in time in the off season, played a ton of basketball, and he usually comes to the gym early, stays late and to see him stand out in big conference game is nice to see.”

The Crimson Bears pulled to within three points on a basket by junior Bruce Jones at the 3:25 mark and Schultz pulled them within four again at the 2:53 mark. Both times the Kings responded and a JDHS air ball led to a Kayhi’s fast break basket and sparked a 6-3 run to end the half with the visitors up 40-33.

An 11-0 run by the Kings starting the third quarter, including four turnovers in the first two minutes of that stanza, gave a momentum boost to the Kayhi team. JDHS had five of their first eight possessions lead to baskets by the Kings.

“We were counting our blessings too early,” Casperson said. “At halftime we noticed we only had five or six turnovers, so we were feeling pretty good about the position we were in. To come out the way we did in that third quarter killed our momentum.”

The Crimson Bears scored just seven points in the third quarter while the Kings tallied 15 to take a 55-40 lead heading into the final stanza.

A 9-4 run to start the fourth quarter switched momentum to the home team. A Ramos triple at the 4:36 mark cut the lead to 59-50 and included senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos drawing a flagrant foul on the shot under the basket. Hodge-Campos would hit both free throws to close within seven.

Empson then scored on a drive to make it a five-point game, 59-54, with 4:05 remaining.

Kayhi’s Bullock answered with a bucket inside and Pihl added a basket and a foul shot to answer JDHS junior Nathan Klein’s put back.

Trading baskets down the stretch the Crimson Bears pulled to within five, 67-62, on Kaleb Tompkins shot with 25 seconds remaining.

After a Kayhi free throw by Isaiah Navales, Empson closed the score to four points with JDHS’ final hoop and 15.3 seconds remaining.

The Kings got four straight free throws, two each from Navales and Pihl to close out the game.

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 19 points, Ramos added nine, Jones seven, Hodge-Campos six, Schultz five, Rahul Chhabria and Klein four each, Maake, Tompkins and Stewart Conn three each and Bryce Swofford one.

JDHS hit 13-25 at the charity stripe; Kayhi went 20-26.

Navales added 16 points for the Kings, Pihl 14, Colton Paulsen 10, Omar Mendoza six, Malik Almenzor and Ned Day four apiece.

“Any conference win in Juneau is a good one for our kids,” Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen said. “We would have liked to play more consistently at the end but give coach Casperson and the Crimson Bears credit, they have never quit all year long and that makes them tough.”

The two teams square off again tonight at 7 p.m. (JV 5:15, C 3:30). On Friday the Thunder Mountain Falcons will host the Service Cougars at 8 p.m. On Saturday the Cougars will play at JDHS at 8 p.m.

Game Stats:

JDHS- Adam Empson- 19 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 7-14 fg’s, 5-7 ft’s, 0-2 3’s; Treyson Ramos- 9 points, 3 assists, 4-5 fg’s, 0-1 ft’s, 1-1 3’s; Bruce Jones- 8 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4-5 fg’s, 0-6 ft’s; Dar Hodge-Campos- 6 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 1-2 fg’s, 4-4 ft’s; Gunnar Schultz- 5 points, 2-7 fg’s, 1-3 3’s; Nathan Klein- 4 points, 14 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1-2 fg’s, 2-4 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Stewart Conn- 3 points, 1-1 3’s; Manase Ma’ake- 3 points, 1-1 3’s; Rahul Chhabria- 4 points, 1 assist, 2-6 fg’s; Bryce Swofford- 1 point, 2 rebounds, 1-2 ft’s.

KHS- Isaiah Naveles- 16 points, 1 rebound, 5-10 fg’s, 5-6 ft’s, 1-3 3’s; Alex Pihl- 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 4-7 fg’s, 6-6 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Mo Bullock- 19 points, 12 rebounds, 8-12 fg’s, 3-4 ft’s; Colton Paulsen- 10 points, 3 rebounds, 4-4 fg’s, 2-3 ft’s; Omar Mendoza- 6 points, 2 rebounds 2-3 fg’s, 2-2 ft’s, 0-1 3’s; Malik Almenzor- 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2-4 fg’s; Ned Day- 4 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2-4 fg’s.

Friday January 31, 2014
Bears in Action Against Ketchikan This Weekend - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     “We are certainly looking forward to moving in the right direction,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “We want to see if we have made any corrections and improvements since the last time we played them and since our road trip. These games will help decide the pecking order in Southeast and our guys are looking forward to it. Each time out is an opportunity to find out if we have improved the chinks in our armor, so to speak.”

The JDHS road trip went 1-3 with losses to Lathrop (75-62), Monroe (79-42) and Kodiak (78-55), with the sole win against West Valley, 83-82. The Crimson Bears also topped Chugiak last week at home.

“We are all in first or we are all in last right now,” Casperson said. “It is wide open right now. Everyone tagged us for third in the preseason and we are comfortable with that. We don’t mind being an underdog. These are big games. We are looking up at our final opponents.”

Casperson said the northern road trip featured quality opponents and learning opportunities.

“We are certainly trying to play faster than we ever have before,” Casperson said. “Sometimes we turn the ball over more than we need to. We need to rebound better. I think just learning a new system and learning to execute it, on the outside may look chaotic, but on the floor the guys are starting to know what to do. Offensively we are running our sets better, defensively we are rotating better in the full court with our pressure and we have to get better in the half court.”

The Crimson Bears graduated nine players and had averaged 40-plus points last season. This season only junior Adam Empson is averaging double figures in scoring.

“We are up to 60-something this season,” Casperson said. “I am proud of our guys. They have responded. The group of guys we have cherish the opportunity to come out and prove themselves. We are playing a lot of guys and they are making the most of the time they get on the floor.”

The JDHS boys end the season with games against Service, TMHS, Kodiak and TMHS again.

Friday January 24, 2014
Crimson Bears outpace Chugiak - Juneau Empire by Matt Woolbright
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team outpaced the visiting Chugiak Mustangs 72-59 at home Thursday night.

Junior Adam Empson scored seven of his game-high 24 points and recorded a steal during a 15-5 Crimson Bears run to open the second half and break the game open.

“It was a good team effort,” Empson said. “We didn’t come out as aggressive as we would have liked, but we did better to start the second and put in work.”

Four three-pointers from Juneau-Douglas shooters in the third quarter and seven unanswered points from Junior Jacob Thibodeau early in the fourth quarter helped the Crimson Bears put the game out of reach midway through the final period.

“As always, Adam (Empson) really brought a calming presence and took care of the ball,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “Nathan (Klein) carried us on the glass with his aggressiveness, and Jacob (Thibodeau) had his best game of the year.”

Still, turnovers were frequent occurrences for both teams from the opening tip to the final minutes of the game.

“I’m frustrated with the amount of turnovers we keep having at this point in the year. We’ve got to take better care of the ball,” Casperson said.

Full-court pressure from both teams forced five turnovers in the first couple minutes of play.

Juneau-Douglas shooters got hot from mid-range, prompting Chugiak to move to a 3-2 defensive zone.

A late scoring rally by Chugiak pulled the Mustangs to within two of the Crimson Bears at the end of the first period.

The Crimson Bears extended their lead in the second thanks to fewer turnovers and multiple key Chugiak players, including leading scorer Matt Oldenkamp, getting into early foul trouble.

Alex Hess was a spark off the bench for Chugiak, scoring nine and forcing several Crimson Bear turnovers.

Tighter defense in the paint by the Crimson Bears forced Chugiak into more jump shots, which helped hold the Mustangs to 13 points in the quarter — their lowest output of the night.

The Crimson Bears took a 34-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Juneau-Douglas’ 15-5 run spurred largely by Empson pushed the six-point lead to 16 in the early minutes of the third quarter — a lead that turned out to be insurmountable for the visitors, who will play a two-game series with Thunder Mountain High School Friday and Saturday.

Turnovers continued to be a common trend for both teams throughout the quarter with the Mustangs chipping away at the Crimson Bears’ lead after the home team’s early run.

Hess picked up his third foul halfway through the quarter and Juneau-Douglas carried a 10 point lead into the final period of play.

Oldenkamp fouled out for Chugiak with 2:32 left in the game with the Crimson Bears up 17.

Casperson praised his team after the game for “exceeding everyone’s expectations except their own” thus far in the season.

“We’re absolutely where we want to be at this point in the season given our schedule,” he said.

Behind Empson’s 24 points were: Gunnar Schultz, 11; Thibodeau, 7; Rahul Chhabria, 6; Kaleb Tompkins, 5; Nathan Klein, 4; Kevin Guimmayen, 4; Bryce Swofford, 4; Manase Maake, 3; Dar Hodge-Campos, 3; and Bruce Jones, 1.

Sunday January 19, 2014
JD Boys 55, Kodiak78 - Juneau Empire by Charles Westmoreland and Klas Stolpe
     Kodiak rode the hot hand of 3-point marksman Austin Frick to defeat the Juneau-Douglas boys team 78-55 on Saturday in Fairbanks.

Frick’s dropped seven three points on the night on his way to a game-high 31 points.

“Austin Frick shot the lights out,” JDHS head coach Robert Casperson said. “We didn’t defend him as well as we wanted to. We’ll have to do better when they come down to Juneau.”

The Crimson Bears will face Kodiak again Feb. 21-22 during homecoming.

Both teams started hot leading to a 24-20 Kodiak advantage after the first quarter. Juneau’s Adam Empson scored seven of his team-high 19 points in the quarter.

“It was a solid performance by Adam, who was trying to keep us in the game,” Casperson said. From there the pace slowed for both sides, though not by much, with Kodiak still leading 42-34 at the half.

Casperson said his team struggled to match Kodiak’s intensified as the game wore on.

The Kodiak Bears pushed their lead farther ahead in the third quarter behind a couple of Frick threes. Ten of his 15 second-half points came in the third quarter.

The Bears were able to penetrate Juneau’s defense and then kick the ball out to perimeter shooters left open. And even was Frick was closely guarded he still managed to get his shots to go in.

“He’s got a pretty quick trigger,” Casperson said.

The Crimson Bears switched up its defensive scheme in the second half but it “didn’t make a difference.”

“I don’t know what happened to us in the second half,” Casperson said.

The fourth quarter of action was more of the same, with Kodiak outscoring the Crimson Bears 17-10.

Casperson said he team took away valuable experience from the tournament, playing three tough opponents in three nights.

“It’s great competition, three quality teams, three top opponents,” he said. “That’s three great opportunities for us to play top teams.”

Casperson said his team has made progress in several areas, particularly blocking out and rebounding.

“We’ve gotten better at blocking out and rebounding,” he said. “We get our hands on the ball first, a lot, but we don’t always come away with it, so we have to keep working on that."

“I liked our rebounding and how we moved the ball quickly on offense. That’s when we looked our sharpest.”

He said the Crimson Bears also need to continue improving on defense and taking care of the ball.

“In the third quarter of all three games we missed shots and turned the ball over, and that’s a tough combination to come back from.”

All 13 of Juneau’s varsity players traveled north for the tournament, allowing some of the younger, less experienced players to get quality minutes.

“Some of our younger guys got some good minutes,” Casperson said. “Everyone’s playing, everyone’s contributing, we just need to make sure we’re improving as season progresses.

Empson led JDHS with 19 points, followed by Bruce Jones, 9; Kaleb Tompkins, 6; Nathan Klein, 3; and two apiece by Manase Maake, Treyson Ramos, Kevin Guimmayen, Rahul Chhabria and Bryce Swofford.

Junior Adam Empson was selected to the all-tournament team for the Crimson Bears.

Leading Kodiak behind Frick’s 31 points were Josh Bezona, 15; Alec Hall, 13; and Scott Garcia, 7.

Juneau will next face Chugiak on Thursday at 7:15 p.m. at home.