Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé guard Alwen Carrillo (#3) looks to drive inside against Albuquerque High School during the final game of the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé guard Alwen Carrillo (#3) looks to drive inside against Albuquerque High School during the final game of the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Albuquerque holds off rallies by JDHS girls’ and boys’ teams to win Capital City Classic

Crimson Bears boys lose double-OT thriller, girls come up short in final minutes.

Fouls gave the Crimson Bears boys’ team the lead and fouls helped take it away as three players, including all-tournament guard Alwen Carrillo, fouled out during a double-overtime 80-73 loss to Albuquerque High School in the final game of the annual four-day Capital City Classic that ended Saturday.

Albuquerque, one of two out-of-state schools participating in the eight-team event, emerged as the champion of both the boys’ and girls’ teams in the tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. The visitors from New Mexico defeated the JDHS girls’ team 49-39 in the game preceding the boys’ matchup.

Chloe Casperson (#11) tries to score in traffic for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during their final game against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Chloe Casperson (#11) tries to score in traffic for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during their final game against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

In a key matchup between the two out-of-state boys’ teams who otherwise went undefeated during the tournament, Albuquerque survived a rally by Washington’s Auburn Mountainview High School — down by 10 points at halftime — to win 51-48 on Friday night.

For the Albuquerque players and coaches, the experience of the trip — even during a rainy and dark late December — as well as the titles were memorable.

“I didn’t have any expectations, except to use this trip as a bonding trip — we’ve got a really young team — and to get to someplace that they’ve been wanting to go to and see,” said Albuquerque girls’ coach Teri Morrison after her team won their finale. “So just coming here and seeing the beauty of the land. The one expectation was to grow as a team and then — once we got here, once we saw the teams and stuff — do the best we can.”

Caleb Bowden dunks the ball for Auburn Mountainview High School during its lopsided victory over East River High School during the Capital City Classic on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Caleb Bowden dunks the ball for Auburn Mountainview High School during its lopsided victory over East River High School during the Capital City Classic on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

In both of Saturday’s games between Albuquerque and JDHS the visitors took an early lead, with JDHS rallying in the second half before ultimately falling short.

Boys: Crimson Bears lose late lead in regulation, fall short in double-OT

The boys’ game saw dramatic swings on both sides, including a three-point shot by Albuquerque with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send the game into overtime. The first overtime ended with a JDHS player grabbing an offensive rebound under his own basket and apparently getting fouled on a putback attempt a fraction of a second after the buzzer sounded.

The loss by the Crimson Bears boys’ team followed a lopsided 63-32 defeat during its opening game against Washington’s Auburn Mountainview High School on Wednesday and a 64-57 victory against Eagle River High School on Thursday. The extended battle against the tournament champions in the finale was an indication of the progress the Crimson Bears are making early in the season, said Sean Oliver, a senior 6’4” guard who was honored during the post-tournament awards for scoring his 1,000th career point (which occurred in a game shortly before to the tournament).

Sean Oliver, a senior guard for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, is presented with a 1000+ career point award during the post-tournament ceremony at the Capital City Classic on Saturday night at JDHS.

Sean Oliver, a senior guard for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, is presented with a 1000+ career point award during the post-tournament ceremony at the Capital City Classic on Saturday night at JDHS.

“As far as our team I think we’re looking a lot better and we’re just trying to figure out everyone’s tendencies, so coming into that game and pushing that in overtime and stuff like that I felt really good,” he said after the game. “Down the stretch maybe got a little out of whack there, but it’s a learning experience for sure.”

Albuquerque got off to a quick start, leading 16-7 at the end of the first quarter.

“We weren’t doing what we knew we had to do, we weren’t talking as much as we could have on defense and keeping each others’ backs like that,” said Oliver, who led JDHS scorers with 26 points. “So it turned into a little bit of a rocky start.”

JDHS narrowed the gap to 27-21 at halftime before emerging strong in the third quarter, with a three-point shot by Oliver with about six minutes remaining giving the Crimson Bears their first lead at 29-28. The rest of the quarter was a back-and-forth battle with JDHS ending it on top 44-42.

Free throws would play a key role in extending JDHS’ lead a bit as regulation wound down, including Carrillo hitting four straight from the line when he was fouled and Albuquerque assessed with a two-shot technical. The Crimson Bears led 57-54 in the closing few seconds, but a three-point shot from the corner by Albuquerque guard Alejandro Mireless — named the boys MVP for the tournament — with less than a second remaining sent the game into overtime.

Jhowel Estigoy (#10) goes in for a layup for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Saturday night’s game against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Jhowel Estigoy (#10) goes in for a layup for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during Saturday night’s game against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The first four-minute overtime saw the same back-and-forth battle continue at a lower-scoring pace, with the period ending 64-64. But after Carrillo fouled out, followed by fellow guards Ahmir Parker and Brandon Casperson, Albuquerque took and held a sizeable lead resulting in the final 80-73 margin.

Afterward, JDHS boys’ coach Robert Casperson didn’t blame foul trouble for his team’s loss.

“That’s going to happen in a game that goes that long and two teams competing so intensely,” he said. “We’ve got guys that are ready to step in and grow from the opportunity, and I think that happened. I mean that certainly makes a difference when you have a starter or a captain or someone who’s logged a lot of minutes, like Carrillo out there on the floor for you, but that’s going to happen at times. He’s going to need rest. He’s going to get in foul trouble. And so we’ve got to learn to play without him too. So it was a good opportunity for us to just kind of build in that situation.”

Albuquerque boys’ coach Leroy Barela credited Mireless and guard Isaiah Maldonado — who led all scorers with 33 points — for being the backbone of the championship team. Barela said he and his team were able to look at “a little bit of film” of the competition in the tournament, but “didn’t know a whole lot” before arriving.”

An Albuquerque High School player takes a shot against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during the final game of the Capital City Classic on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

An Albuquerque High School player takes a shot against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during the final game of the Capital City Classic on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

“We just knew that we had an opportunity to come out, it was the first time for everyone on our team to be in Alaska,” he said. “So I think the expectations for us was let’s keep building this thing. And this is our second year together with these guys. Let’s just keep getting better, keep building it. And I think we did that today.”

Mireless scored 20 points and Albuquerque forward Damion Landford had 14. Carrillo scored 17 and forward Jhowel Estigoy had 14 for JDHS.

Girls: Unable to close the gap in the final few minutes

A game that started close in the early minutes saw Albuquerque slowly pull away to a decisive win, despite some rallying moments by JDHS in the second half.

The Crimson Bears trailed 14-10 after the first quarter, but were outscored 12-4 in the second to put Albuquerque ahead 26-14. JDHS came back by doubling its point total in the third quarter, but only slightly narrowed the gap to 40-28, before again outscoring Albuquerque by two points in the fourth quarter to make the final tally 49-39.

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Mila Hargrave (#24) looks to pass inside to teammate Layla Tokuoka) during their matchup against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Mila Hargrave (#24) looks to pass inside to teammate Layla Tokuoka) during their matchup against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The JDHS girls, trailing by seven points with less than five minutes to go, had three straight possessions with a chance to narrow the gap, but failed to score each time. With about 90 seconds remaining they were forced to begin fouling Albuquerque, resulting in the visitors extending their lead to an insurmountable margin.

Albuquerque was led by a dominant performance by guard Lailah Bouldin, the girls’ MVP in the tournament, who topped all scorers with 25 points. No other member of the team scored in double figures.

A struggle hitting shots from the outside hurt the Crimson Bears at times against Albuquerque’s zone defense, which limited JDHS’ efforts to work the ball inside, said JDHS girls’ coach Tanya Nizich after the game.

“They were forcing us to take shots outside versus we’re trying to get the ball inside, based off the last couple of years that we’ve played,” she said. “So they were forcing us and testing us out.”

Gwen Nizich (#15) brings the ball up on a fast break for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during its game against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Gwen Nizich (#15) brings the ball up on a fast break for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé during its game against Albuquerque High School in the Capital City Classic at JDHS on Saturday night. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Meanwhile, the Crimson Bears were also struggling on defense early in the second half before they adjusted, said Mila Hargrave, a 6’1” senior center who finished with eight points.

“We weren’t playing defense, we weren’t matched up well, we weren’t talking enough and our shots were not falling as they normally do,” she said.

Another key factor is the out-of-state visitors play in a conference with a shot clock, which isn’t the case for JDHS, Nizich said.

“Their game pace is faster — I mean it has to be, right,” she said. “You have a shot clock, you have to make a decision, every possession counts and you can’t dink around with the ball. So they’re used to being a fast-paced game. And so we also knew that, and we’re trying to just play our tempo and what we we’re used to, which may or may not have slowed them down a little bit. Considering what they put up point-wise of the last few games (72 vs. Haines on Wednesday, 60 vs. Anchorage East on Thursday) I think that we did fairly well against them.”

Gwen Nizich, a 5’9” sophomore guard, led all JDHS scorers with 16 points, while 5’6” senior forward Chloe Casperson had 13 points.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

2023 Capital City Classic results

Wednesday, Dec. 27

JDHS girls 56, Anchorage East 14

Auburn Mountainview boys 63, JDHS 32

Albuquerque girls 72, Haines 23

Thursday, Dec. 28

JDHS boys 64, Eagle River 57

Albuquerque girls 60, Anchorage East 13

Albuquerque boys 51, Auburn Mountainview 48

Friday, Dec. 29

Albuquerque boys 81, Eagle River 43

Saturday, Dec. 30

Haines girls 42, Anchorage East 39

Auburn Mountainview boys 81, Eagle River 27

Albuquerque girls 49, JDHS 39

Albuquerque boys 80, JDHS 73

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Boys’ all-tournament team

Alwen Carrillo, JDHS

Sean Oliver, JDHS

Andrew Legenza, Eagle River

Sebastian Arius, Auburn Mountainview

Isaiah Maldonado, Albuquerque

Damian Langford, Albuquerque

MVP: Alejandro Mireles, Albuquerque

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Girls’ all-tournament team

Layla Tokuoka, JDHS

Gwen Nizich, JDHS

Chloe Casperson, JDHS

Meshawna Carr, Anchorage East

Ariel Godinez Long, Haines

Riah Valles, Albuquerque

Ashley Kaelynn, Albuquerque

MVP: Lailah Bouldin, Albuquerque

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Cheer Team and other Crimson Bear supporters offer their support to the boys’ team during the final game of the Capital City Classic on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Cheer Team and other Crimson Bear supporters offer their support to the boys’ team during the final game of the Capital City Classic on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Individual awards

Girls free throw winner: Layla Tokuoka, JDHS

Boys free throw winner: Austin Atkinson, Eagle River

Girls 3-point winner: Rayna Tuckwood, JDHS

Boys 3-point winner: Alwen Carrillo, JDHS

Slam dunk winner: Elijah Baird, Auburn Mountainview

1,000+ career points: Sean Oliver, JDHS

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

More photos from the 2023 Capital City Classic (all by Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Dance Team performs a light show during halftime of the boys’ game between JDHS and Albuquerque High School on Saturday at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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