Juneau-Douglas’ Cooper Kriegmont picks up a loose ball in the 2017 Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament at JDHS. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau-Douglas’ Cooper Kriegmont picks up a loose ball in the 2017 Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament at JDHS. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Crimson Bears have big shoes to fill

JDHS projects to have more balanced offense

Coach Robert Casperson had had his fair share of players with above-average height.

There were the Swofford brothers, Bruce Jones and Erik Kelly — all skilled big men 6-foot-5 or taller who have come through the program over the last decade.

This season will be different. Tristan Bryant, a 6-foot-4 senior, is the tallest player on the team, and one of just five Crimson Bears standing north of 6 feet.

“We’ve just kind of always had someone in that spot,” Casperson said. “This year, we don’t.”

In addition to being a smaller team this year, JDHS will also be fairly inexperienced. Senior captain Israel Yadao is the only returning starter from last year’s team that went 14-16 and won the Region V 4A championship for the third consecutive year. The team will be quicker this season, though, and feature a more balanced offensive attack. Filling in their places of the six departed seniors will be the job of Cooper Kriegmont, Philip Gonzales, Krishant Samtani and Brock McCormick.

In the Crimson Bears season-opening loss to Shadow Ridge at the Tarkanian Classic, nine different players got on the scoresheet.

“They saw the writing on the wall, with what we were losing from last year’s senior class,” Casperson said. “We’re not going to replace certainly the height or athleticism, but I would say overall, our team speed is a lot better. We’re going to see players moving quicker and the ball should be moving quicker. We’re going to try to play a completely different way out of necessity. I think it’s going to end up being pretty fun as we’re learning how to do that together.”

Kriegmont, a sophomore, was the high-point scorer that game and in two others at the tournament, averaging 16 points a game. He said a priority this season will be to penetrate defenses in order to generate open 3-point shots.

“This year we don’t really have any big post guys so our main goal is to get in the lane, get fouled or kick it out because we have some shooters,” Kriegmont said. “I think that’s going to be our main focus this year is knocking down those 3-pointers.”

2018-19 season schedule

(Home games in bold)

Dec. 27 Capital City Classic- Lathrop, 7 p.m.

Dec. 28 Capital City Classic- Barrow, 7 p.m.

Dec. 29 Capital City Classic- Maine-Endwell, 7 p.m.

Jan. 10 Colony, 7 p.m.

Jan. 11-12 Ketchikan, 8 pm.

Jan. 17-19 South O’Brady’s Invitational Tournament (Anchorage)

Jan. 25-26 Thunder Mountain, 8 p.m.

Jan. 31 Service 7 p.m.

Feb. 1-2 at Ketchikan

Feb. 8-9 East, 7 p.m.

Feb. 15 at TMHS, 8 p.m.

Feb. 16 at TMHS, 8 p.m.

Feb. 21 at Sitka

Feb. 22-23 at Mt. Edgecumbe

March 5-9 Region V 4A Tournament (Sitka)

*All home games will be played at the JDHS main gym.

• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.

More in Sports

Through the author’s spotting scope: A Dall sheep feeds in Denali National Park near the Teklanika River. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Too tough to call

The Teklanika River grows and moves swiftly as it flows north. Eventually… Continue reading

A flying squirrel launches a glide, with patagium spread wide. (Photo by Richard A. Wood)
On the Trails: Gliding in air

An eagle soars overhead, wings spread, making only minute steering adjustments of… Continue reading

Fresh snow covers the surface of Eaglecrest Ski Area on Friday morning. General Manager Dave Scanlan said Thursday the plan is to open the ski area next Saturday. (Webcam photo courtesy of Eaglecrest Ski Area)
Eaglecrest manager says things look cool for upcoming season, despite delayed opening

Strong numbers for season pass sales, number of foreign student employees, business leaders told.

The Yukon River, seen here as a wide white band, is freezing later in fall and breaking up earlier in spring than it was a few decades ago. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Long-term views of a changed Alaska

As an instructor for Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, I have stood before… Continue reading

A light dusting of snow covers the ground at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Wednesday morning. The planned opening for the ski area has been delayed a week until Saturday, Dec. 9, according to General Manager Dave Scanlan. (Photo courtesy of Eaglecrest Ski Area)
Eaglecrest delays scheduled opening by one week until next Saturday, Dec. 9

Warm temperatures and rain dissolved much of ski area’s snowpack, but cold and snow in forecast.

A female robin carries a wad of earthworms to her chicks. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: November gloom and cheers

I like to live where there are seasonal changes in weather and… Continue reading

Participants, many clad in fowl weather gear, head out onto the Airport Dike Trail during the annual Turkey Trot 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run on Thursday morning. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Turkey Trot participants thankful for fowl conditions

“Worst weather we’ve had in 10 years” just means burning off more calories.

The author guides his skiff in the direction of muskegs free from digital connectivity, but there is no escaping thoughts of contemporary life. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Freedom of gratitude

I have fumbled for years attempting to put into words what the… Continue reading

Kristen Rozell skate skis in Valdez in January 2023. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Surfing in winter on cross-country skis

With mild temperatures and ample snow, much of Alaska is now primed… Continue reading

(Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Soldotna hockey bounces back against Juneau

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kale loses 3-1 on Saturday after 4-3 win Friday

Lance Fenumiai, a Juneau resident seen here carrying the ball in a rugby match for St. Vincent College in Pennsylvania, has signed a Major League Rugby contract with the Dallas Jackals. (Photo courtesy of Lux214 Media Group)
JDHS grad Lance Fenumiai signs pro rugby contract with Dallas Jackals

Former college All-American to spend holidays training intensely for season that starts in February.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire
Casey Blackwell, 10, crosses the finish line after running 27 laps around the indoor track at Dimond Park Field House to complete the 5K Pajama Jog on Sunday.
Juneau Girls on the Run go the distance during 5K Pajama Jog

Participants finish looking like stars — 27 of them — after completing that many laps around track.