Juneau’s first travel game, played against West Anchorage High School, saw solid performance from the short-staffed Huskies.
That puts the Huskies’ record at 2-1, both overall and in-conference, after their third game. West Anchorage leads the Cook Inlet Conference with a so-far perfect 3-0 record.
Had them in the first half
Up 15-14 at the half, West Anchorage was able to come back with a vengeance to win 49-23, said Juneau coach Rich Sjoroos.
“It was a tale of two halves. We knew we were facing one of the top teams in the state,” Sjoroos said. “They definitely showed us some areas we’re going to improve as the weeks go along.”
West Anchorage brought the ruckus in the second half as they got and held on to control of the game.
“The third quarter, we couldn’t sustain the momentum,” Sjoroos said. “They swung things in their favor. They executed at a higher level for sure and got us for some big plays.”
That bloody-mindedness held the game for West Anchorage, Sjoroos said.
“Their defense was tough and they had some playmakers on offense that did good things for them,” Sjoroos said.
Juneau traveled to Anchorage with only 23 players, with many students out for a variety of reasons, Sjoroos said.
“We had 23 which is the lowest number I’ve ever had for a varsity game. We had a couple kids out for various reasons,” Sjoroos said.
With necessity doing some serious compelling, Sjoroos said, the Huskies shuffled players into positions they hadn’t previously played, and sparked some thoughts about how they might be gainfully employed in the future.
“We put some kids in some roles that showed us some things we hadn’t seen before,” he said.
Juneau traveled to and from Anchorage in the same day, forgoing an overnight, with that ability to go and return thanks in part to West Anchorage’s hosting, Sjoroos said.
“It went as smooth as it could’ve. I don’t think anybody felt rushed,” Sjoroos said. “The schedule stuck to the schedule. West [Anchorage] is very hospitable.”
That quick turnaround will be the rule this year, rather than the exception, Sjoroos said, with all away games on the quick turnaround model.
“I thought it went as smooth as it could have as far as logistics are concerned,” Sjoroos said.
Fans on the run
A number of Juneau fans, both from Juneau and residing in Anchorage, turned out for the game, Sjoroos said.
“There was a few,” Sjoroos said. “They were loud, the few that were there. It’s always nice to see. I thought the kids did a good job of creating their own energy.”
First Constantinople, now Istanbul
Juneau will contend with the league’s other powerhouse, East Anchorage, on Saturday at 3 p.m., Sjoroos said.
“You got East and West that are definitely at the top of the pile. We got 23 points on the road so I feel pretty good about that,” Sjoroos said. “We’ve got to find some matchups that work for us and get our kids in good spots.”
Ready to rumble
The Huskies are ready to face off against East Anchorage when they descend to the Southeast, Sjoroos said.
“They’re gonna come to town with a team that hasn’t lost a game in a long, long time,” Sjoroos said. “I like this group and I know they’re gonna practice the things they need to focus on.”
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at (757) 621-1197 or email@example.com.