News Archives

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.

Saturday January 18, 2014
Monroe Rams top Crimson Bears - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The 3A Monroe boys continue to be the class of any division in the state as they scored 52 points in the first half and easily beat the Crimson Bears 79-42.

Scooter Bynum scored 19 of his game-high 22 points in the first half to help the Rams build the lead. Bynum did not play during the fourth quarter.

David Stepovich added 15 points in the first half and finished with 19 points on the night.

Kaleb Tompkins led the Crimson Bears with nine points, Stewart Conn added eight, Bruce Jones six, Treyson Ramos, Dartanan Hodge-Campos and Jacob Thibodeau four each, Gunnar Schultz, Bryce Swofford and Nathan Klein two each and Rahul Chhabria one.

JDHS hit 4-6 at the line; Monroe 9-12.

Friday January 17, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall 75-62 to Malemutes - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team lost to Lathrop 75-61 in their opening game at the Joe T Classic in Fairbanks on Thursday.

The Falcons gave up two quarters of 26 points, the first and the third, and both resulted in momentum for the Malemutes.

“You can’t give up that many points in one quarter, let alone two,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Most teams score that in a game and we gave them 52 in two quarters.”

The game began with a cold shooting JDHS squad.

Three early Crimson Bears misses led to four Malemutes fast-break points in the first minute of play.

Lathrop opened with a man-to-man full court defense and forced a five-man substitution by JDHS, who trailed 10-0 at the five-minute mark.

Kaleb Tompkins stemmed the scoring drought with a triple to break the ice for Juneau and would add another in the stanza to keep the Crimson Bears close at 26-15.

Lathrop buried a triple to open a 29-15 advantage starting the second quarter and JDHS went to a physical game inside.

Nathan Klein completed a three-point play to bring the Crimson Bears within eight, 35-27, with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.

Bruce Jones followed with his third block of the game and a trapping two-three zone seemed to briefly stifle the Malemutes.

“We were switching in and out of different defenses,” Casperson said. “I am really proud with how our guys kept competing and working their way back into the game. We were pressuring and running different substitutions in and out of the line up.”

A steal and a score by Tompkins cut the lead to 35-33 with under a minute left and Adam Empson tied the score. Lathrop would hit a tip in at the buzzer to lead 37-35 at the break.

The Crimson Bears were flat in the third, scoring just 10 points and committing that many turnovers while the Malemutes put up another 26-point stanza.

Lathrop had three starters with three fouls in the first half but the JDHS offense couldn’t draw them into trouble in the second half.

“If the game were just the second and fourth quarters we would be fine,” Casperson said. “We moved the ball really well tonight. We made an effort to get back into the contest.”

Lathrop led 63-45 starting the final stanza and the Crimson Bears closed to within eight early in the fourth but expended too much energy to keep the comeback in sight.

Klein had his best game of the season for JDHS, scoring 13 points, getting eight rebounds and “getting after the Lathrop big men” according to Casperson.

Tompkins added 10 points, Bruce Jones nine, Adam Empson eight, Gunnar Schultz seven, Rahul Chhabria six, Kevin Guimmayen four, Dartanan Hodge-Campos three and Stewart Conn one.

JDHS hit 12-21 at the charity stripe; Lathrop went 13-21.

The Malemutes’ Jennis tallied 17 points, Berner 16, Ford 14, Jordan five, White four, Meadows and Cannon two each and Maiden one.

The Crimson Bears play Monroe today (4:30 p.m.) and Kodiak on Saturday (4:30 p.m.).

“We are up here for opportunities and experience,” Casperson said. “And these three games will do that.”

Thursday January 16, 2014
JDHS boys top West Valley 83-82 in O.T. - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     And One!

Juneau-Douglas High School senior Adam Empson did one of the crazy street ball moves against West Valley on Wednesday night in Fairbanks, throwing the inbounds pass off the back of a defender, stepping in to receive the carom, and laying it up for the basket to win the game in overtime.

“Just like I drew it up,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson joked. “It was a great heads up play by Adam. We were looking to screen the screener and he just made a great read.”

The Wolfpack started the game with a technical for not having their roster in to the scorer’s table and JDHS senior Gunnar Schultz made one-of-two from the charity stripe for the lead with no time off the clock.

The Crimson Bears led 15-11 after one quarter as Schultz, Bruce Jones, Kaleb Tompkins, Adam Empson, Stewart Conn and Nathan Klein all found the basket for a balanced attack.

JDHS led 35-29 at the half as senior Kevin Guimmayen found the deep triple twice and Jones battled inside for eight more points.

West Valley went deep in the third quarter, burying five 3-pointers and outscoring JDHS 28-18. Wolfpack sophomore Daniel Hornbuckle three of the deep shots and hit seven total as he led with a game-high 35 points.

Hornbuckle would connect for 14 points in the fourth quarter while the Crimson Bears Empson and Jones tallied nine and seven points respectively.

West Valley missed an inside shot and a put back in the final seconds and JDHS ran the court for a final shot that missed.

Empson and Jones carried the overtime with four points apiece and the Crimson Bears defense stifled Hornbuckle to claim the 83-82 win.

“That is our pace to be up in the eighties,” Casperson said. “We want to attack and score. We are running guys in and out, everybody is playing and they are having fun.”

Jones led the Crimson Bears with 21, Empson and Schultz had 18 each, Guimmayen 11, Rahul Chhabria five, Klein three, Thibodeau, Conn and Tompkins two each and Dartanan Hodge-Campos one.

Charles Sudduth added 17 points for the Wolfpack, Sean Kinsey seven, Travon Brackett six, Jordan Rodenberger five, Daniel Remington, Titus Milk, and Tahj Washington four each.

Sunday January 05, 2014
Crimson Bears boys fall to Kayhi 64-48 - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team fell at Ketchikan on Saturday 64-48, after the Kings caught fire and scored 25 points in the fourth quarter.

“The game was pretty sloppy up until the fourth quarter,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Their pressure got us out of sync and we had a lot of turnovers.”

The Crimson Bears (5-3) led 19-17 after one quarter and 29-25 at the half, scoring the last six points before the break. The outside shooting of Kevin Guimmayen, who tallied three triples in the game, was key for JDHS.

JDHS had nine turnovers in the third quarter, giving Ketchikan a chance to take the lead 39-36 with the final eight minutes to play.

“They came out with a fire we couldn’t match in the fourth quarter,” Casperson said. “They took it to us. They took us into trapping areas and executed their defense quite well.”

The Kings’ Mo Bullock scored 13 of his game-high 23 points in the final stanza, and all of Kayhi’s points in a 13-5 run that turned the game around.

“This is a really tough place to play,” Casperson said. “Being able to split down here is a good start for us with this group.”

In Friday’s game JDHS sophomore Kaleb Tompkins hit two free throws with 9 seconds remaining to hold off the Kings 55-52 in the Southeast Conference opener for both clubs. The Kings’ Alex Pihl missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

JDHS will have the weekend off before heading on the road to West Valley on Jan. 15 and to the Lathrop tournament Jan. 16-18.

Tuesday December 31, 2013
Lynx bite Crimson Bears 54-51 for Capital City Classic championship - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     JDHS junior Adam Empson scores game-high 17 points in loss

Dimond High School junior Muhamad Cole took a rebound pass at half court from teammate Isaiah Pili and dribbled in for a layup with 7.9 seconds remaining as the Lynx defeated the Crimson Bears 54-51 in the boys’ championship game of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Monday night.

JDHS junior Adam Empson scored a game-high 17 points.

“He was voted as a captain by his teammates and he is willing to shoulder the role of leadership,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “Adam stepped up and kept us in the game. He asserted himself offensively.”

A turnover by the Crimson Bears resulted in Cole going to the free throw line and hitting one of two shots for the three-point advantage. JDHS did not get another look at the basket.

Empson hit two free throws to tie the score at 51 with 2:24 remaining and Dimond spread the floor.

JDHS junior Bruce Jones blocked a shot with 57.5 seconds remaining and drew an offensive foul on Cole 20 seconds later but the Crimson Bears failed to score and the rebound was tipped out to Cole.

The Crimson Bears had 10 turnovers in the first quarter.

“We are playing a lot of guys and we are pretty young and inexperienced,” Casperson said. “There are going to be some growing pains. We are playing a style that lends itself to having turnovers now and then, that is something I have to accept.”

Dimond shot 9-26 in the first half and had 11 turnovers while JDHS gave up the ball 14 times, hit 9-25 from the field and led at the half 26-25.

JDHS scored the first bucket of the third quarter with two minutes gone as the Dimond press forced four turnovers on the Crimson Bears.

Jones recorded his third block of the game with four minutes remaining in the period and the score tied at 29.

The lead would change five times until the Lynx held a 43-41 advantage with eight minutes to play.

JDHS senior Kevin Guimmayen hit a 3-pointer to give the Crimson Bears the 44-43 advantage at 7:04 of the fourth quarter but Cole hit a free throw to tie the score on Jones’ third foul and Josh Fosse scored to put Dimond up three.

Empson pulled JDHS within a point on a driving bucket and Cole answered for the Lynx from the charity stripe.

Dimond’s Carlos Diaz scored inside to give the Lynx a four-point advantage at 51-47 and Empson rebounded his own miss, tipping the ball to senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos for a bucket. Empson then hit two free throws to tie the score at 51.

Stewart Conn added seven points for the Crimson Bears, Guimmayen and Kale Tompkins six apiece, Bruce Jones four, Gunnar Schultz, Hodge-Campos and Rahul Chhabria three each and Bryce Swofford two.

Cole led the Lynx with 14 points, Fosi added 10, Austin Osborne eight, Zach Deloney seven, Carlos Diaz and Mason Merchant four apiece, Pili three and Rafa Zavala and John Paul Moran two each.

JDHS went 8-18 at the charity stripe; Dimond hit 11-20.

“Dimond started attacking us and we did not respond very well to the pressure,” Casperson said. “We learned that we have to understand how to operate under pressure. It is still early. I am proud of how we work together. They don’t bicker, everyone is playing and they are all buying in to it. The guys were really disappointed and they wanted to win it.”

Sunday December 29, 2013
Crimson Bears out-box Patriots 79-51 in Capital City Classic - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Teams total 31 first-half fouls, 29 more after the break

The old adage of going to a fight and a hockey game breaks out was changed to a bruising mixed metaphor of basketball, football and full-speed rugby as the Juneau-Douglas and North Pole boys’ basketball teams committed 31 first-half fouls and 60 for the game in a 79-51 Crimson Bears win over the Patriots in the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Saturday night.

“I knew it was going to be a physical game, and it certainly was,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “I know we got a lot of free throws and I know they shot plenty of them, too.”

North Pole picked up three fouls in the first minute of action and both teams had one turnover with no points.

With 5:27 remaining in the first quarter, the Patriots had their seventh foul and led 6-4.

JDHS sophomore Kaleb Tompkins dribbled the length of the floor to tie the score and freshman Stewart Conn gave the Crimson Bears the lead on a jumper seconds later.

The 20th foul of the game came with just under a minute remaining in the first period and senior Adam Empson hit one of two free throws and Tompkins another basket to take a 19-15 lead into the second quarter.

The sixth foul of the second quarter came with just over four minutes remaining and North Pole senior Khalil Steward used the whistle to tie the score at 26 and then take a one-point advantage. Steward then hit a basket and was fouled to put the Patriots up 30-26. The 11th foul of the period came with one minute remaining and Empson canned both the front and back of the one-and-one to close within six, 36-30. After a Patriots’ turnover, Empson netted a jump shot to close within four at the half.

JDHS committed two fouls in the first 20 seconds of the third period and another just 30 seconds later, but North Pole had three turnovers and couldn’t capitalize.

Empson scored and was fouled to tie the game at 36 and then give the Crimson Bears the one-point advantage.

“The team helped me keep my composure,” Empson said. “My team pumped me up, the crowd, everyone… I was just thinking make it, just make it. Both teams were focusing on competing.”

Empson would score 17 of his game-high 29 points in the quarter and push the Crimson Bears to a 55-40 advantage with the final eight minutes remaining.

North Pole used the 14th foul of the second half to score a free-throw but JDHS used the 15th to do the same and the back-and-forth continued with the Crimson Bears having the better corner and taking a 66-46 lead with Bryce Swofford making both ends of the 20th whistle.

The Crimson Bears scored the last four points of the game as Rahul Chhabria hit the front and back of the 29th whistle and Manase Maake scored inside.

“There were a lot of fouls,” Casperson said. “You can’t fault the officials. Kids were playing hard and everybody was making plays on the ball. It was just a very physical game.”

Kevin Guimmayen added nine points for the Crimson Bears, Tompkins, Chhabria and Conn six, Bruce Jones five, and Maake, Gunnar Schultz and Swofford four each, Dorian Isaak three, Jacob Thibodeau two and Nathan Klein one.

The Patriots’ Lance Wright and Steward had 12 points apiece, Garrett Sommer 11, Jordan Schuster six, Deandre Campbell five, Jordan Copeland four, and Simi Skipps one.

JDHS went 27-42 at the charity stripe; North Pole hit 17-30.

Sunday action features shooting contests (free throw, three-point, dunk) beginning at 1 p.m. and game play resumes on Monday with Cordova against North Pole at 3 p.m. and JDHS playing Dimond at 7 p.m.


In other Saturday boy’s action on Saturday the Dimond Lynx defeated the Cordova Wolverines 57-31 behind 15 points from Muhamad Cole and eight triples from beyond the arch.

Dimond led 19-11 starting the second quarter and held the Wolverines to just four points to take a 37-15 halftime advantage.

The Lynx led 43-24 starting the final quarter.

Zach Deloney added eight points for Dimond, Mason Merchant seven, Josh Fosi and Isaiah Pili five apiece, Carlos Diaz, Austin Osborne and Ryan Faulao four each, Rafa Zavala three, and John Paul Moran two.

Eli Beedle led Cordova with 11 points, Andrew Muma added nine, Spenser Plant five, Austin Brandt three, and Billy Perry, Cooper Jewell, and Chatham Warga one each.

The Lynx hit 10-16 at the line; the Wolverines went 6-12.

Saturday December 28, 2013
Capital City Classic Day 1 Results - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     JDHS 65, CORDOVA 41

The Juneau-Douglas High School boy’s basketball team pressed their way to a 65-41 win over the Cordova Wolverines in late Friday action at the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.

Cordova, whose plane landed in Juneau shortly before the schedule tipoff, registered six turnovers against the Crimson Bears pressure in the first quarter alone and 17 for the game.

JDHS broke open a 5-4 lead with a 16-2 run that ended the period with the Crimson Bears up 21-6. Two quick fouls on Cordova big man Eli Beedle put the all-star center on the bench for the remainder of the first half.

JDHS increased their lead to 36-12 at the half and 10 different Crimson Bears found the scorebook.

JDHS senior Adam Empson hit six points and Stewart Conn and Dorian Isaak sank back-to-back threes to power the Crimson Bears to a 54-29 advantage at the end of the third quarter.

Empson led the Crimson Bears with 13 points, Isaak added eight, Kevin Guimmayen and Rahul Chhabria seven apiece, Bruce Jones six, Kaleb Tompkins and Stewart Conn five apiece, Gunnar Schultz, Bryce Swofford and Nathan Klein four each, and Dar Hodge-Campos two.

Beedle led the Wolverines with 15 points, all in the second half; Billy Perry added 10, Jerome Ridao five, Cooper Jewell four, Austin Brandt and Andrew Muma three apiece and Spenser Plant one.

JDHS went 7-9 at the charity stripe and committed 20 fouls; Cordova hit 9-22 at the line and totaled 12 fouls.


The Dimond High School Lynx opened a 17-3 first quarter advantage over the North Pole Patriots and were never seriously threatened as they secured a 59-40 win in the opening boys’ game of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic on Friday in Juneau.

The Lynx hit three from beyond the arch in the opening stanza (seven for the game) to draw the defense out and fed junior Carlos Diaz inside for four points.

Lynx senior Zach Deloney scored 10 of his game-high 26 points in the second period and junior Isaiah Pili hit a triple at the buzzer for a 34-14 halftime advantage.

The Patriots made a run in the third quarter, scoring 14 points behind sophomore Ryan DeLaurie and junior Jordan Schuster to pull within 42-28 starting the final period.

Dimond scored their third 17-point quarter total of the game in the final period behind nine points from Deloney to coast to the win as Dimond’s Pili and classmate Muhamad Cole controlled the backcourt under the pressing Patriot defense from junior DeAundre Campbell, seniors Khalil Steward, Jordan Copeland and sophomore Garrett Sommer.

Diaz added eight points for the Lynx, Pili and Cole seven apiece, Josh Fosi five and Mason Merchant, John Paul Moran and Austin Osborne two each.

DeLaurie came off the bench to lead the Patriots with 13 points, Schuster and Steward added eight apiece, Sommer six, Campbell three and Simi Skipps two.

Dimond hit 10-18 at the charity stripe; North Pole went 9-21.

Sunday December 22, 2013
Crimson Bears boys top Kardinals - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team closed out the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament at Soldotna High School with their second win, topping Kenai 69-62 on Saturday.

The Crimson Bears had beaten Southeast 3A power Mt. Edgecumbe 56-50 on Friday.

On Saturday senior Gunnar Schultz hit nine of his game-high 23 points in the first period to keep the Crimson Bears within six points at 20-14 starting the second stanza.

“The way we are playing provides opportunities for guys to get open looks,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “(Schultz) was ready to knock them down and took advantage of the shots.”

Six different Crimson Bears found the basket in the second quarter as JDHS used an 18-11 period to take a 32-31 lead at the break.

Junior Adam Empson scored eight of his 14 points in the third quarter to help push the Crimson Bears up by nine starting the final period.

The Crimson Bears pressed the majority of the game and junior Bruce Jones had two blocks in the final quarter.

“Bruce is working hard at being a defensive presence,” Casperson said. “He is covering up any mistakes our guards make.”

Freshman Bryce Swofford added six points for JDHS, senior Dartanan Hodge-Campos, Jones and sophomore Kaleb Tompkins added five points apiece, freshman Stewart Conn added four, senior Kevin Guimmayen had three, senior Rahul Chhabria and junior Jacob Thibodeau contributed two each.

Trevor Shirnberg led Kenai with 20 points, Josh Jackman 19, Austin McKee 10, Tanner Wortham four, Keith Ivy and Kyle Foree three, Guillermo Seppulveda two and Vlad Glushkov one.

JDHS hit 12-19 at the line, Kenai went 11-18.

“We are going to try and push the pace,” Casperson said. “Defensively we are learning and getting better. The three teams we played here each approached our pressure three different ways, so it gave us a great opportunity to figure out how to react and respond. Considering the youth and inexperience of this group, I am pleased at how they stepped up. We will probably have a different leading scorer each night. We have no selfishness going on.”

Saturday December 21, 2013
Crimson Bears rebound with win at Soldotna tourney - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Juneau holds off familiar foe Mt. Edgecumbe 56-50.

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team showed what a rested Crimson Bears team can do with a 56-50 win over Southeast 3A power Mt. Edgecumbe on Friday at the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament at Soldotna High School.

"They are a very good team," Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. "They would not go away." Freshman Stuart Conn hit a three-pointer to give the Crimson Bears an 11-10 lead in the first quarter and a steal added two more as Juneau took a 15-10 advantage.

Juneau upped the offensive pressure to take a 33-22 lead into the break. The Crimson Bears maintained a 10-point advantage for over six minutes in the stanza.

Junior Bruce Jones picked up his third foul minutes after play resumed in the second half with the Crimson Bears up 38-29, but stayed in the game to frustrate the Braves and keep a 47-38 advantage into the final eight minutes.

The Crimson Bears spread the floor down the stretch.

JDHS held off a late rally by the Braves and advance to play Kenai in the fifth-place game on Saturday.

Casperson credited Freshman Bryce Swofford for drawing four offensive fouls on Mt. Edgecumbe.

Senior Rahul Chhabria led the Crimson Bears with 12 points and junior Adam Empson added nine. Senior Kevin Guimmayen and juniors Gunnar Schultz and Bruce Jones scored seven apiece, senior Dar Hodge Campos five, sophomore Kaleb Tompkins four, Conn three and Swofford two.

Mt. Edgecumbe got 18 points from Sky Shipton, 11 from Jalone Pepper, Donald Edenshaw scored five, Paul Kewan and Corby Kasagalie five apiece, and Jarred Olin-Duncan four.

"Guys are making the most of their opportunities when they get on the floor," Casperson said. "We have some work a head of us and the kids are excited."

JDHS had lost to Soldotna 72-60 on Thursday while Ketchikan topped Kenai 59-26 and Bethel won over Mt. Edgecumbe 54-46.

Friday December 20, 2013
Crimson Bears boys fall to Soldotna 72-60: Pennisula Clarion
     The Soldotna boys basketball team defeated Juneau-Douglas 72-60 in the first round of the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament on Thursday at Soldotna High School.

The Stars were the only area squad to pick up a first-round win. Ketchikan defeated Kenai 59-26 and Colony defeated Nikiski 72-45, with Damien Fulp leading Colony with 23 points and Seth Carstens pouring in 27 for the Bulldogs. In other action, Bethel topped Mt. Edgecumbe 54-46.

Juneau had a long day of travel to get to the night game on time, and there were times during the day where there were questions if the Crimson Bears would make it for the 8:45 p.m. tip. When Juneau got there, Soldotna was able to take control of the game in the first quarter. The Stars stretched out the lead in the third quarter before Juneau mounted a late comeback in the fourth quarter.

Daniel McElroy paced the Stars with 16 points, while Austin Kruse had 12 points and Nathan Spence had 11 points.

In the semifinals of the tournament today, Ketchikan and Colony play at 6:30 p.m., and SoHi and Bethel play at 8:15 p.m.

In the fifth-place bracket, Kenai and Nikiski play at 5:15 p.m., while Mt. Edgecumbe and Juneau play at 4:45 p.m.

Saturday, the title game is at 4:15 p.m., the third-place game is at 2:30 p.m., the fifth-place game is at 12:45 p.m. and the seventh-place game is at 11 a.m.

Thursday December 19, 2013
Crimson Bears will court inexperience through the season - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Juneau-Douglas graduated a roster of talented athletes who are pursuing college sports; Phillip Fenumiai (football), Aquino Brinson (basketball), Jeffrey Pusich (baseball), Keith Ainsworth (basketball), Jackson Lehnhart (soccer), as well as Ben Williams and Gary Speck.

That is a lot of muscle to replace and the Crimson Bears will take some lumps until they take root on the hardwood.

“We have certainly spent some time in the weight room,” Juneau-Douglas coach Robert Casperson said. “But I don’t think we are going to win any games when we step off the bus through intimidation. Our guys have worked at it but we don’t have the overall bulk and size of the last couple years. We are more spry this year.”

Top returners are Adam Empson (6 points, 2 assists, 3 rebounds) and Bruce Jones (4 points, 3 rebounds). The duo started the first half of the season and provided potent substitution strength during the second half.

“We are not returning much in the way of stats,” Casperson said. “My challenge to the guys is that there are opportunities to get on the court and play.”

JDHS averaged roughly 50 points per game, while opponents tallied 57. The Crimson Bears lost leads in the fourth quarter of seven losses. The team’s strength will be athleticism and speed. Weaknesses are lack of experience and a traditional center width in the paint.

“Our record does not indicate the number of games we were in last year,” Casperson said. “We were in them, we just didn’t finish. This year’s group is much different. With what they bring in individual abilities we can’t approach the season the same way.”

Also returning are seniors Kevin Guimmayen, Dartanan Hodge-Campos, and juniors Nathan Klein, Manasa Maake, and Gunnar Schultz. Each has the opportunity to vie for a starting position. Klein (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) is a competitive force inside, Guimmayen and Schultz spent offseason hours on their game and Hodge-Campos is a leader with work ethic.

“With guys so similar, this means our depth will be an attribute,” Casperson said.

First time varsity players are senior Rahul Chhabria, juniors Dorian Isaak and Jacob Thibodeau, and sophomores Kaleb Tompkins and Treyson Ramos.

Tompkins will provide a lift off the bench to knock down shots, Ramos is fearless on the court, Thibodeau will play multiple positions and Isaak is athletic with leadership ability. Chhabria drew praise for his off season commitment.

“He would wake up, hit the weights, go to open gym, stay extra for ball handling and really committed for his senior season,” Casperson said. “Just to make the team his final season and possibly contribute is a success.”

Two freshmen will potentially see minutes at the varsity level, Stewart Conn (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) and Bryce Swofford (6-foot-5, 170).

Conn can create opportunities and attack the basket and is not bashful with taking a shot. Swofford is extremely active and competitive and does not back down from physical play.

“We are going to have moments where it will not look pretty this year,” Casperson said. “I think we are also going to provide a lot of excitement too. This group is committed to playing a style of basketball that is new for us.”

That style begins tonight at the Soldotna Stars in a tourney that features Southeast foe Ketchikan. JDHS’ bracket includes Bethel against Mt. Edgecumbe. The other side has Colony against Nikiski and Ketchikan plays Kenai. Colony’s Damien Fulp signed to play with UAA next season.

JDHS also hosts the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic (Dec. 27-30), featuring Dimond, North Pole and Cordova. They also travel to a tourney at Lathrop (Jan. 16-18) to play the Malemutes, Monroe and Kodiak.

Thursday November 14, 2013
Hoya on the hardwood - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Professional basketball trainer and recruiter shares at basketball clinic.

Whether on dirt courts with shoeless youth or club gyms in nice neighborhoods, basketball purity is found in the joy of innocent play.

“The smile is universal,” Joe Touomou said. “Wherever you go. The funny part is when you go to those poor countries, the kids seem to be even happier over there. Despite all the struggles, you would be surprised how happy they are, every where you go.”

The smiles.

That is the first thing you noticed on the Juneau-Douglas High School basketball court as players, male and female, ran through drills led by Touomou, a Washington, D.C.-based basketball trainer and recruiter, and his assistant, Alexander Ujoh, from Nigeria.

Smiles and sweat.

“Yes, yes,” Touomou shouts. “Now you are a player. Now you are working hard.”

A chance encounter two years ago at L.A. Fitness in Silver Spring, Md., between Touomou and Crimson Bears forward Bruce Jones and his parents, led to the offer to bring the trainer to the JDHS pre-season basketball clinic over the Veterans’ Day weekend. Jones also attended training seasons with Touomou in Maryland.

“I like his body frame and I like his basketball IQ,” Touomou said of Jones. “He needs to put some muscle on his body, but he could play college if he wants to work hard enough.”

Touomou knows about working hard.

Born and raised in Cameroon, he grew up playing soccer.

Returning from boarding school one year he discovered a basketball court had been built across the street from his home.

“All my friends were playing,” Touomou said. “I thought why not try. Things went pretty fast because back then you didn’t have Internet, cell phones or cable TV. We spent a lot of time on the basketball court, and that is how I became a basketball player.”

This was when he encountered his best-remembered smile.

“We had a big game and Cameroon soccer star Roger Miller came to a game. I made a basket and I saw him clapping his hands for me,” he said. “Just to look at him sitting there and encouraging me was big.”

At age 16, playing in the African Championships in Egypt, Touomou was approached by Rob Meurs, a scout for the NBA. Meurs would later start Court Vision, a basketball scouting agency, and was hired by NIKE and Adidas.

The meeting led to Touomou attending Williamsport High School, a preparatory school in North Carolina for one year before college.

Touomou played four years for Georgetown University under legendary coach John Thompson, graduating in 1999 after a senior season as the team’s captain.

His career included a knee injury in 1995 and at 6-foot-2, his career scoring average of 1.9 points per game did not attract much attention from NBA scouts.

In 2000 he suffered a shoulder injury playing professionally for Antibes in France.

With a degree in government studies and international relations, he weighed options to work for the World Bank and World Health Organization.

“I always felt like there was unfinished business,” Touomou said. “I was never able to play basketball at the level I felt like I was able to play.”

Touomou retired from basketball and worked under University of Missouri coach Quin Snyder for two years until taking a job with the Indiana Pacers in 2003 as an international scout. That job ended when new team president Larry Bird brought his own coaching staff in. Touomou also joined many non-profit organizations and sport programs after college to give back.

“My country was a third-world country and I knew there were contributions I could make through sports,” Touomou said. “I just got involved. I wanted to share the knowledge I had accumulated throughout the years.”

His efforts have included the Cameroon Olympic Basketball Program, Adidas Nations, ABasketball (Basketball for Africa), Giants Of Africa, and SEED (Sports for Educational and Economic Development), NBA’s Basketball Without Borders, the Ring True Foundation and his own JT World Training Centers, which provides scouting services to professional teams and training professional players in their offseason and rehabilitation.

He is also an instructor for the State Department program Sports United that brings coaches from other countries to George Mason University for training. Touomou has traveled to over 50 countries through his work. He is a former Cameroon National Team coach and is being considered for a position as the Qatar National Team coach.

“Some areas of Africa, the kids love the game so much,” Touomou said. “In Africa many youths play on dirt courts with no shoes. They sometimes have to cut a bucket and hang it up for a rim, just like when basketball was created.”

The love of the game is spreading in Africa as TV has taken hold and young people relate to basketball players and musicians more now than soccer players. They encounter the same problems as American youth who learn the game.

“A lot of kids, especially the younger ones, it is the details that separates the average from the good,” Touomou said. “Footwork can be a problem but the biggest thing is shooting. Kids have a hard time shooting the ball well. Shooting is all about repetition and most kids don’t practice shooting enough.”

The emphasis in the clinics was on getting open and shooting mechanics. Touomou tells them they can’t shoot the ball if they can’t get open, and they can’t get open if they move like hippos and not cheetahs.

“When I work with kids I like to keep my workouts entertaining,” Touomou said. “I like to see a kid happy when he works out. It helps me get the message across and share the knowledge with him.”

When Touomou’s sessions ended the players caught their collective breaths and grabbed refreshments.

One by one they approached him. Their faces smiling. Their bodies swept up in his huge hugs.

“Thanks for coming,” Treyson Ramos said, embracing the powerfully built former professional player.

“You taught me so much,” Jacob Thibodeau said. “Thank you.”

“Yes, yes, thank you for having me,” Touomou answers. “We will stay in touch.”

Then he points out something individually to each that was intimated in the camp to only them.

Their smiles broaden.

Sunday November 10, 2013
Alaska High School Basketball Begins December 2nd

Monday June 24, 2013
The Best Basketball Camp Around
     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. He was impressed with the excitement, intensity, and improvement in all the players that attended the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp.

Championship Friday and All-Star Saturday created an electric atmosphere. In the College championship the Duke Blue Devils emerged victorious over the Seattle University Red Hawks. In the NBA championship, the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Chicago Bulls for the title. Saturday was capped off with all-star games and the presentation of trophies.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp also emphasizes the importance of making healthy life choices. Time was included during the week for special presenters to address multiple topics. Professional basketball player, Talisa Rhea, discussed goal setting with the campers. NCAA Division I football player, Faifo Levale, spoke about the academic requirements necessary to be eligible for college athletics. Jon Malacas of the Johnson Youth Center shared with the campers the realities of making poor choices, including prison food, shackles, and jail cells. Mark Calvert from the AWARE Shelter, Alaska Men Chose Respect, and Coaching Boys into Men presented on positive relationships.

The Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp will proudly return in June of 2014.

College Division Special Awards:

Free Throw Champion: Caitlin Pusich

Best Passer: Erica Hurtte

Best Defense: Bryson Echiverri

Station Master: Kenzie Campbell

Most Hustle: Malia Miller

Most Improved: Joel Sleppy

Best Rebounder: Caitlin Pusich

Most Valuable Player: Josh McAndrews

All-Stars: Erica Hurtte, Caitlin Pusich, Owen Mendoza, Bryson Echiverri, Luke Mallinger, Derek Boord, Josh McAndrews, Kenzie Campbell, Marlis Boord, and Zoey Kriegmont.

NBA Division Special Awards:

Free Throw Champion: Treyson Ramos

Best Passer: Kaleb Tompkins

Best Defense: Treyson Ramos

Station Master: Cristina Arehart

Most Hustle: Justin Miller

Most Improved: Kordell Searles

Best Rebounder: Jesse Lantiegne

Most Valuable Player: Guy Bean

All-Stars: Jesse Lantiegne, Treyson Ramos, Rahul Chhabria, Jacob Galloway, Gunnar Schultz, Moa Maka, Kaleb Tompkins, Manase Maake, Guy Bean, Cristina Arehart, John Yadao, and Kaitlin Fagerstrom.

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.

Friday June 21, 2013
Passing on the passion - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Professional basketball player Talisa Rhea, former Crimson Bears guard, returns to Juneau

For a school project, a little girl told her second-grade class at Auke Bay Elementary School what she wanted to do when she grew up.

“I want to play professional basketball,” she said.

Roughly 15 years later, that little girl, Talisa Rhea, went on to lead her high school to two state championships, start 13 games (play in all) for Oregon State as a freshman, dominate the Pac-10 league as a sophomore and junior, lead Seattle University to the Women’s Basketball Invitational semifinals her senior year, and, yes, play professional basketball.

“I remember my first camp here,” said Rhea, a Juneau-Douglas High School alumna (2004-07), standing on the Crimson Bears’ court she had sprinted up and down, across the lanes, under the backboards, time and again. “It was a long time ago, second or third grade. I always looked forward to camp, definitely. It was always something we anticipated as a kid.”

Rhea has spent the week as a guest instructor at the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp, paying forward her love and talent for the game to the campers while sharing experiences that helped her dream became a reality.

“I still definitely enjoy the game,” Rhea said. “And coming here, there is no pressure for me or any of these kids. We are just having fun and learning the basic fundamentals of the game. It is fun for me to come and play around with these kids I have watched grow up. Some of them were just in elementary school the last time I saw them, now they are these huge 6-foot-5 kids.”

Four years of college and a year of professional basketball in Poland later, Rhea has wisdom to share with campers who want to play Division I college hoops or earn a living.

“It is not an easy road,” Rhea said. “The college recruiting process, becoming a professional. However, there are so many opportunities now to play college. Not every kid has to go to a to Pac 10 school or Division I school. Go to a Division II or III, NAIA. If you want to play, you can. If you put in the time and the work, you can play somewhere.

“Be realistic about your possibilities,” she said. “Not everyone is going to be Carlos Boozer and go to the Olympics. We all have to realize that and set a realistic goal.”

Rhea grew up following her father Ken to his city league games and watching the annual Gold Medal Tournament. She said she was never pushed to play.

“I just loved it,” she said.

Rhea said her goal wasn’t formalized until high school when she realized she could play Division I. Then it became her passion.

It led her to Oregon State, where she played in all 31 varsity games her freshman year and started 13. She finished second in school career 3-pointers that season and was named to the Pac 10 All-Freshman Team. As a sophomore, she started all 32 games for the Beavers, set the Pac 10 record for 3-pointers in a game, was named Pac Player of the Week, received All Pac 10 Team mention, all-academic accolades and ESPN The Magazine All-District honors. As a junior, she started all 31 games and led the Beavers in scoring, was selected All-Pac 10 Team and received all-academic honors.

Rhea sat out a year after transferring to Seattle University. As a Redhawks guard she led the team to the semifinals of the Women’s National Invitational, was selected three times by College Sports Madness as the Independent Player of the Week, was the second-leading scorer, led the team in assists and finished 26th in the nation in assist average.

While attending the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association clinic at the NCAA Women’s Final Four, Rhea was contacted by the Polish team Lotos Gdynia, known as Lotos VBW Clima Gdynia, of the PLKK League and the European League. The Euro League is the biggest in Europe with 15 countries represented. Rhea signed a one-year contract. The season ended in March, with Rhea the team’s second-leading scorer, third in assists and top in free throw shooting as she came off the bench.

“Basketball is becoming more of a business now, even at the college level,” Rhea said. “But once you start acting like it is a business, the fun starts to go away. I constantly try to find ways to keep it fun and enjoyable, otherwise you lose your passion for the game and there is no point in playing. It is like working a day job that you don’t want to be at every day.”

Rhea said her season in Poland was up and down. She had come from teams where she was the top scorer in high school and college and the go-to player, to being the first substitute off the bench.

“I was a starter since sixth grade,” Rhea said. “It is tough to go to a team and not be in that role. For me it was extra motivation and I found a different role on the team and played that role as hard as I could.”

Rhea earned numerous starts and valued the experience living in Poland, although it took her far from her personal relationships.

“I have been really lucky to have supportive family, friends and relationships,” Rhea said. “They all encouraged me to pursue basketball as far as I could and I have been fortunate. It is also extra motivation.”

Rhea is now playing the waiting game while her sports agent talks to professional teams in various destinations.

“My next goal is to get on another team in the top league of whatever country I am at and produce better numbers,” she said. “Once you reach the professional level it is about the numbers you put up and that kind of dictates how successful you are. It is good and bad because I don’t like to look at stats too much. I don’t like to base how I play on how many points I scored. For me, just getting on another team and having another opportunity and maybe eventually working for a tryout here in the U.S. I have some work to do to get to that point.”

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has received the full backing of the male counterpart NBA and has taken a solid foothold in television viewership.

Rhea could still be asked to come back by Lotos Gdynia, though the team did not renew her contract.

“They are trying to rebuild with younger and cheaper players,” Rhea said. “I did my year and we parted ways. The experience was priceless. We got to play a lot of good players that are now in the WNBA. It was kind of like college basketball. It was intense and took up a lot of time; we just did not have the school work. Going through a professional season you realize how important it is to take care of your body and to get rest and to play hard every game.”

Rhea is based out of Seattle where she will continue training and working a part time job until a team discovers they need a little girl with a big passion for the game.

“Now is about the time teams start to pick up players and things speed up a bit,” Rhea said. “Hopefully within the next month. It is nerve-wracking, a little stressful. You are a free agent.”

Rhea said she is working on a lot of things about her game, just like the Fastbreak campers are.

“I am still working on my shot,” Rhea said. “Creating my own shot, quickness, pretty much every aspect of my game. It seems like there is always an adjustment and always room to improve.”

From high school to college, college to professional, season to season, and even from day to day in the camp, fundamentals were addressed.

Two campers spoke of getting to play with Rhea.

“It was kind of cool,” said Zoey Kriegmont, a freshman at Thunder Mountain. “I like guarding people who are better than me because it makes me work better. I just wanted to beat her.”

Middle school athlete Erica Hurtte said, “It has been really fun and really educational. I have learned a lot of new things. I also think it was very tiring.”

Rhea said that when she stepped back on the JDHS court for the camp, “I remembered how cool and amazing it was to play here... the fans and the support form the community... the students... I haven’t seen a lot of colleges that match that.”

As the Fast Break camp came to a close on Thursday, a little girl dribbled a basketball between her legs, back and forth, around her back.

She made a fake to the right and drove to her weak side.

She pulled up for a soft jump shot and the ball settled perfectly between the iron oval, nestling into the net.

Talisa Rhea was home from work, just playing a game.

Thursday June 20, 2013
Alaska Sports News
     Dom Brinson Most Valuable Player

Former JDHS Crimson Bears guard Dominique Brinson was chosen the Most Valuable Player at the end of season award’s banquet for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks recently. According to UAF media the Nanooks were picked eighth in the GNAC Preseason Coaches’ Poll, in one of the toughest leagues in the country. In the season opening win against Colorado State-Pueblo, Brinson, (senior, accounting) scored 20 points. A week later, the Nanooks captured the GCI Alaska Invitational team title with three convincing victories to get off to a 4-1 start. The Nanooks started 5-1 in the GNAC and were the talk of the league but three straight defeats on the road put Alaska at 5-4 at the halfway point – still in fourth and a surprise to everyone besides the team. Three wins in the next four allowed for Alaska to sit at 8-5 in conference play and after a second straight loss in season to rival Alaska Anchorage, the defending national champions, Western Washington, The Vikings, ranked second in the country at the time, were riding a nation’s-best 30-game win streak and Western probably figured this would be the 31st in a row. Little did the Vikings nor anyone else in the gym that night know that Alaska had something different in mind. A hot start for the Nanooks, due in large part to consistent perimeter shooting and WWU’s inability to find a rhythm offensively, put Alaska up early.

WWU closed the gap and took a brief lead but the ‘Nooks answered back and as it went down to the wire in the second half, Brinson made a huge three pointer, the team made its free throws and the champs were stunned by Alaska, thus ending the streak.

The other neat aspect of that night was that Brinson’s mom, who lives in Juneau, saw Dom play for the first time live on the college hardwood.

“I was glad my mom was there because she doesn’t get to travel much having to work as a single mother,” Brinson said. “It was a special night for me. To compete with those guys says a lot about our team. Western could blow people out by 30 or 40 so to come out with that win is something I can’t explain.”

The Nanooks entered the GNAC Championship for the first time in program history as the No. 4 seed after finishing 15-11 in the regular season with a 10-8 record in conference action. Arguably its best performance of the season, Alaska was a fraction-of-a-percent off the best shooting percentage in tournament history as the Nanooks cruised to an 87-73 quarterfinal win over fifth-seeded MSU Billings. The following night, the season ended at the hands of Western, which would eventually advance to the Division II Final Four a couple weeks later.

“It was very special to have a winning record my senior year,” Brinson said of the team’s 16-12 season. “We wanted to bring the program back to what it used to be by winning, making the GNAC tournament and it was just a fun experience to be a part of.”

Looking back on the season that was, Brinson was the veteran leader on this team and his team-best 12.4 points per game put him on the All-GNAC Second Team.

“My goal was to be up there with the top players in the conference,” Brinson said. “To be considered with the best players [in the GNAC] is a great honor because there are a lot of great players in this league. It’s a lot on my team, they helped me get there in how we prepared and practiced as a team.”

Brinson was happy to play back in his home state and it is something he will hold near and dear to his heart for many years to come.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity I had to come back [to Alaska] to play,” Brinson said. “I saw Alaska on my chest every game and I knew this is where I was born and raised. It’s cool to play for a coach who knows so much and who can make players better when they come here. I was grateful to play here and to play in one of the best leagues in Division II.”

The Nanooks should be very happy still, as they have landed 2013 JDHS grad Aquino Brinson who will be a preferred walk-on. UAF head coach Mick Durham as said he plans to red-shirt the younger Brinson for his freshman season.

Sunday June 09, 2013
Fast Break Basketball Camp begins tomorrow
     Dust off your gym shoes and dig out your tank-tops, the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp will kick off two weeks of fundamental basketball instruction with Camp 1 on Monday (through the 14th) for boys and girls entering grades 2-8. Camp 2 will follow, beginning June 17-22 for boys and girls entering grades 8-12.

While the name may be new, the goals of the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp will be the similar to those established throughout 35-plus years of camps offered by the coaching staff of the boys basketball program at Juneau-Douglas High School. The aim is to help campers improve throughout the week, with an emphasis on individual skill development, team play, and execution of basic fundamentals. Campers will learn offensive and defensive skills while gaining valuable opportunities to set and work towards goals, improve physical fitness, and build self-confidence… all through the fun and excitement of the game of basketball.

The camp, in all its names (Hamey’s Hoop Camp, Houston’s Hoop Camp, and Crimson Bear Cage Camp), has served as an opportunity for boys and girls basketball players from around the state, and especially the region, to come together. It has allowed campers to improve their fundamental skills, make new friends, and enjoy a week of games and competition. Pre-registered campers for this year’s installments of camp hail from all over the Inside Passage including Juneau, Hoonah, Angoon, Petersburg, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Skagway.

Participants in Camp 1 will receive a camp T-shirt, camp basketball, undergo basic skills testing, and receive a certificate of achievement for successfully completing the camp. Participants in Camp 2 will receive a camp t-shirt, camp basketball, and have the opportunity to earn special awards including: League Champ, All-Star, Best Passer, Best Defense, Station Master, Most Improved, and Most Valuable Player.

Instructors at the Juneau Fast Break Basketball Camp will include current and former high school, college, and professional players/coaches. A highlight of Camp 2 will be the return of former Juneau-Douglas High School standout, and current women’s professional player, Talisa Rhea.

Space is still available in Camp 1 and Camp 2, details available at

Orientation for Camp 1 (players entering grades 2-8 next year) will be today, from 4pm – 5pm at the Juneau-Douglas High School main gym. Camp will run from June 10 – 14, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. each day. All campers will begin at the JDHS gym each day. Coaches will escort some players to Harborview and/or Marie Drake for instruction, as necessary. All Campers will be picked up from the JDHS main gym at the end of each day.

Orientation for Camp 2 (players entering grades 8-12 next year) will be Sunday, June 16th, from 4pm – 5pm at the Juneau-Douglas High School main gym. Camp will run from June 17 – 21, 9am – 5pm. The All-star games and award ceremony will be held on Saturday, June 22 from 9am – 12pm.

Tuesday May 07, 2013
JDHS Awards Banquet Concludes 2012-2013 Season
     The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team recently held their end of the season awards banquet. During the celebration, the coaching staff noted how important the community was to our efforts this season, and in light of that, we would like to acknowledge the following groups and individuals for their continued support.

The coaching staff wants to extend our gratitude to all the parents/guardians that filled vital roles volunteering this season staffing the Fast Break Club table, running concessions, housing visiting teams, etc. We would like to give a special nod to organizer-extraordinaire, Christina Rich, as she did great job wearing many of these hats in support of the season.

We would also like to acknowledge the support of the community at-large this season. All those that attended our home games and cheered us on, purchased raffle tickets, and the members of the Fast Break Club and the banner program provided the necessary financial support to fund our season.

Our thanks go out to Mark Calvert of AWARE, Inc., who was in attendance at the banquet, and has been instrumental with his guidance and encouragement during our first year implementing the Coaching Boys into Men program, a piece of Governor Sean Parnell’s Alaska Men Choose Respect campaign.

The coaching staff greatly appreciates the efforts and continued support of the JDHS administration and activities office; Principal Ryan Alsup, Assistant Principal Paula Casperson, District Athletic Director Sandi Wagner, and Activities Assistants Carrie Pusich, Cricket Curtain, and Gaye Willis.

Also, a big thank you to Klas Stolpe for the countless hours he put in to write the articles, take the photos, and provide stellar coverage of our team this season. His efforts absolutely add to the lifetime of memories created through high school athletics and activities.

Monday evening at JDHS also featured an awards banquet to wrap-up the 2012-13 Boys Basketball season. Family, friends, players, and coaches that were in attendance for the two-hour event used the time to reminisce, share stories of the past season, and celebrate the senior class as they embark on the next phase of their lives. A DVD slideshow from the season, with photos of players during game action and hanging out, was put together by Alberta Jones and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Klas Stolpe and several parents contributed photos for the slide show.

A focal point of the evening was honoring the accomplishment of the team and individuals with several awards. Some of the awards are statistical in nature and the players voted on the rest.

The winners for the JV’s special awards, as voted by team members, are as follows:

•The Most Improved award went to Raj Kumar (Jr).

•The Most Inspirational award went to Jericho Erasmo (Sr).

•The Most Hustle award went to Rahul Chhabria (Jr).

•The Best Defense award went to Dartanan Hodge-Campos (Jr).

•The MVP award went to Moa Maka (Fr).

The winners for the Varsity statistical awards are as follows:

•The Best Passer (most assists) went to Aquino Brinson (Sr).

•The Best Rebounder (most rebounds) went to Gary Speck (Sr).

•The Toughness Award (most charges drawn) went to Aquino Brinson (Sr).

•The Marksman award (highest 2pt shooting percentage) at 53% went to Aquino Brinson (Sr).

•The Deep Threat Marksman award (highest 3pt shooting percentage) at 35% went to Keith Ainsworth (Sr).

•The Mr. Clutch award (highest free-throw percentage) went to Keith Ainsworth (Sr).

The Varsity special awards, as voted by team members, are as follows:

•The Most Improved award went to Dartanan Hodge-Campos (Jr).

•The Most Inspirational award went to Phillip Fenumiai (Sr).

•The Most Hustle award went to Ben Williams (Sr).

•The Best Defense award went to Aquino Brinson (Sr).

•The MVP award went to Keith Ainsworth (Sr).

The last special award was created decades ago and named for Zach Gordon, due to his commitment to Juneau-Douglas High School athletics/activities and to supporting the youth of Juneau. It is awarded to the player that most embodies the ideals and values of Juneau-Douglas basketball on the court, in the school, and the community. This year, through team member voting, the Zach Gordon award went to Jackson Lehnhart (Sr).

As a coaching staff we would be remiss not to mention the leadership and guidance provided by the senior class this season. They were a pleasure to work with and we are proud of them for the legacy of hard work, determination, and resiliency they have left for the underclassmen to build upon.

Again, thank you Juneau for all your help. Each season is truly a “team” effort that is supported by many. We look forward to our returning/incoming players working hard to improve this off-season so Juneau-Douglas High School can continue to represent our community in a positive manner.


Juneau-Douglas High School

Boys Basketball Coaching Staff:

Robert Casperson, Kevin Casperson, Steve Houlihan, Greg Huebschen, and Akeem Micheli

Wednesday May 01, 2013
Keith Ainsworth to Play College Basketball
     Spokane Community College will add the services of Juneau-Douglas High School graduating senior Keith Ainsworth to their roster next season. This week Ainsworth signed his Letter of Intent to play for the SCC Bigfoot. The 2012-2013 leading scorer and MVP for the Crimson Bears will take his athletic ability to the NWAACC in pursuit of his Associates Degree. The JDHS boys basketball coaching staff give their congratulations to Keith and his family on this monumental occasion!

Sunday March 10, 2013
Region V 4A All-Conference
     The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears boys basketball team landed two players on the the All-Conference team this season. Senior guards Aquino Brinson and Keith Ainsworth secured their spots through aggressive and consistent conference play in the regular season. They were joined by Sam Jahn, Vili Tupou, and Matthew Seymour of Thunder Mountain, and Kable Lervick of Ketchikan.

Saturday March 09, 2013
Falcons claim first Region V basketball title - Juneau Empire by Klas Stolpe
     Thunder Mountain tops Juneau-Douglas 56-52

With his team leading 55-52 and just seconds remaining, Thunder Mountain High School junior Matt Seymour calmly stepped to the free throw line to ice the Region V 4A Boys Championship and give the Falcons' their first basketball title in the school's short history.

It would have to wait one free throw.

"Yeah, I missed that first one," Seymour said. "But man, the second one felt so good. It was a great feeling when that buzzer went off, there is nothing else like it. I was in the championship last year and we lost it, that was awful. This is great."

The second one gave Seymour a game-high 17 points. Just 25 seconds earlier he scored on a twisting layup.

And with four seconds remaining Seymour stole the eight-time defending Southeast champ Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears' inbound pass and time expired and fans stormed Mt. Egecumbe's B J. McGillis Memorial Gymnasium floor.

"I want to give a shout out to Michael," Seymour said in an interview later. "Our coach read us an email from Michael, a home school kid who is a big fan of ours. We want to give a big shout out to Michael and all our fans."

Senior Sam Jahn, the team's workhorse, waited four years to defeat cross town rival JDHS in the Region V championship, to follow shots and post up, to defend the post and to hear the buzzer that signals his Falcons were going to the state tournament for the first time.

"I was so excited for our team," Jahn said. "We have been working so hard for four years now and it is just such a great feeling to finally accomplish what we have been working so hard for."

Jahn has had his arms full with Crimson Bears big men Gary Speck, Jeffrey Pusich and Bruce Jones all season.

"I was just thinking I have to go after every ball as hard as I could," Jahn said. "I had to fight for every rebound. If I got the ball inside I had to be strong with it or they would just take it away. I tried to be as strong as possible. The guys on JD are pretty tough."

Senior brothers Vili and Josh Tupou, the team leaders in composure and ball control, have battled their childhood friends for the past four years and when the buzzer sounded they hugged not only their Falcons' teammates but their brethren in the Crimson Bears' red and black as well.

"It was a good feeling to know that we beat a really good team," Vili Tupou said. "I grew up with almost all those guys, I am going to miss them a lot too. Our senior class has been working hard for this."

The Falcons were looking at a 16-10 first quarter deficit and trailed 29-21 at the half as Crimson Bears' senior Phillip Fenumiai nailed a basket at the break.

The second half was back-and-forth action.

V. Tupou hit five points in a row in the third period to cut the lead to three, 33-30 at the 3:15 mark.

"Those Tupou boys played controlled and intelligent," JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. "We used to be able to rely on them to force passes and shots... those two boys are the difference makers. To see their growth over four years and their maturity coming through proved to be very tough for us to deal with."

JDHS' Adam Empson came out of a time out to drop a soft jumper in the lane and the Crimson Bears put on a full court press for the first time in the evening.

V. Tupou found Ty Grussendorf in the corner for the first of his three triples to make it a 35-33.

Bruce Jones hit inside for the Crimson and Grussendorf hits his second three to cut it back to two. Another hoop by Jones and free throw by Speck pushed the lead to five but Seymour buried a three to cut it to 41-39 at the buzzer.

At 7:13 of the fourth quarter, clinging to a 41-40 lead, the hopes of another Crimson Bears' Region V title lay writhing on the court as JDHS senior Phillip Fenumiai landed on a defenders foot after a jump shot.

Suffering a severely dislocated ankle, Fenumiai refused to leave gym after medical personnel and coaches carried him back to the bench. Instead he gave what little he had left in vocal support.

On the next possession Seymour gave the Falcons their first lead since the first quarter on an up and under for a basket and a free throw for a 43-41 lead.

JDHS' Jeffrey Pusich answered by drawing S. Jahn's fourth foul and tied the game with two at the charity stripe. Senior teammate Keith Ainsworth rebounded a miss and fed Speck for a 45-43 Crimson Bears' advantage with 4:58 remaining.

The back-and-forth play continued as Ben Jahn, who game-to-game does all the quite dirty work on the boards, gave the Falcons a tie. JDHS' Gary Speck answered to regain the lead with a free throw.

J. Tupou hit V. Tupou for a 47-46 lead with 3:36 remaining and Ty Grussendorf hit his third shot from beyond the arch for a 50-46 advantage. V. Tupou added an old-fashioned three point play for a seven point led.

Ainsworth answered with a JDHS triple, and Seymour answered right back for a 55-49 Falcons lead.

JDHS' Jeffrey Pusich scored and fouled S. Jahn out of the game with nine seconds remaining. Teammate Ainsworth would rebound a missed free throw and get fouled, making one, missing the second and fouling Seymour on the rebound.

"I could not believe it, it was pretty surreal," TMHS coach John Blasco said of hearing the final buzzer. "I am extremely proud of these guys. They have been fighting for me for four years, putting in all the hard work truly paid off for them, I couldn't be more proud. It was a great win. It was a hard fought game. We have had quite a few comeback wins this year. The guys have a lot of confidence in each other and I have a lot of confidence in them. We just kept battling and we knew our shots would fall. We just kept attacking and finally we hit some big shots. Everybody contributed. That is the team aspect of us. Guys stepped up."

S. Jahn added 12 points for the Falcons, V. Tupou 10, Grussendorf nine, J. Tupou and B. Jahn four each. TMHS hit 8-15 at the charity stripe, JDHS went 9-15.

Pusich led the Crimson Bears with 15, Speck had 11, Fenumiai eight, Aquino Brinson and Jones six apiece, Ainsworth four and Empson two.

"We were focused and came out playing hard," Casperson said. "I know are guys are disappointed and I am disappointed for them, but I have told them all year long that all I can ask is they do their best. By far I got their best effort tonight. They played smart and played together. I am sure they would have liked a different outcome but it just wasn't in the cards for us tonight. I was proud of how they played. I hate to lose but they played as hard as they could and left everything out there." The Falcons will play tonight at 8 p.m. against the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves in the 3A/4A crossover championship for trophy-less southeast bragging rights. The Braves defeated top ranked Sitka 55-45 for the Region 3A title and trip to state.

"We will approach it to win," Blasco said. "We want to go out and compete to win every game."