Juneau-Douglas’ Israel Yadao grabs a loose ball against Palmer during their Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament game at JDHS on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau-Douglas’ Israel Yadao grabs a loose ball against Palmer during their Capital City Classic Basketball Tournament game at JDHS on Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Five tournaments, two weeks: Local high school squads head to tournaments

Las Vegas, Seattle and Ketchikan are the out-of-town destinations

Call it December Madness.

All four of Juneau’s prep basketball teams will be kickstarting their respective seasons over the coming week and a half, dispersing between three states for five different tournaments.

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys are in Las Vegas this week for the Tarkanian Classic, a four-day bonanza of a tournament with over 70 teams represented from all around the country.

For the remaining three teams — the Juneau-Douglas girls, Thunder Mountain boys and Thunder Mountain girls — the fun begins next week. The JDHS girls and boys will both appear in the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic in Juneau beginning next Thursday. The tournament, now in its 27th year, includes six visiting teams from around the state and country.

The Empire will be livestreaming all of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic games on its website, juneauempire.com.

Rather than playing the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic, the Thunder Mountain boys play in the Franklin High Schoool Tournament of Champions in Seattle. That tournament will feature a 16-team bracket, and like the Tarkanian, include opponents from Canada. TMHS kicks off the tournament against Stanwood High School (Tacoma, Washington) next Wednesday night and will get to play four games.

Thunder Mountain girls will take part in the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic in Ketchikan. The Clarke Cochrane Tournament will include girls teams from Metlakatla, Craig, Lathrop, Soldotna, Palmer and Chino, California.

Vegas play

In Vegas, the Tarkanian Classic tipped off on Wednesday as the Crimson Bears took on Vegas’ own Shadow Ridge High School. JDHS, who plays in the “Orleans Bracket,” will be given three more games after Wednesday. The “Orleans Bracket” features 16 total teams from six U.S. states and Alberta, Canada.

JDHS coach Robert Casperson said the tournament provides everyone with new experiences and opportunities to gel.

“It gives us more of an opportunity to be together as a group away from the confines of our home state,” Casperson said. “Try to experience a lot of different things that we wouldn’t get to otherwise. Like, right now, we’re experiencing 65-degree weather, and these guys, the ones who weren’t here last year, they got some big eyes as they’re walking through the casino and seeing all the bright lights and the glitz and the glamour.”

The Crimson Bears suffered two of their worst losses of the season at last year’s tournament. JDHS lost to Campbell Hall (Los Angeles) 67-35 in Game 1 and Layton Christian (Layton, Utah) 67-40 in Game 3. They were able to figure things out though in Games 2 and 4, knocking off La Salle Prep (Milwaukie, Oregon) 73-67 and Western (Las Vegas) 60-48. The brackets are designed to provide programs a proper level of competition, but as last year showed, it’s not a perfect system.

“It’s got to be incredibly hard to put teams in the appropriate brackets based on talent when you got 80-something schools coming in,” Casperson said. “We didn’t feel particularly over matched in those games that we got blown out in, but certainly those teams were better and they executed a lot better. In any case, we love that this tournament gives us an opportunity to come down and get four games under our belt early in the season against quality opponents.”

All the JDHS games at the Tarkanian Classic will be broadcast over KINY radio. Track JDHS’ progress at the tournament at tarkanianclassic.com/2017home.html.

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


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


More in Sports

This combination photo shows all five division-winning teams from the recent 3v3 Pre-Season Tournament at Thunder Mountain High School. (Upper left) Team 7, (upper right) Hoopsters, (lower left) 3 Amigos; (lower center) Lucky Ladies and (lower right) 3 of a Kind. (Courtesy Photos)
3v3 Tournament crowns division winners

Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball and Hooprats recently hosted the 13th… Continue reading

Bree Lee Lo, June Enele, Lemoe Eneliko and Moira Anemia pose for a photo taken by Alexandra and Barron Anemia. All were on hand to celebrate Samoa's Rugby League World Cup run. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Local rugby fans celebrate Samoa’s World Cup run

“Win our lose, we’re still proud.”

Matthew Wendel, Mike Kreis, Kasey Watts, Courtney Kreis, Tami Wahto and Todd Schur wore costumes during the 2021 Turkey Trot. Why’d they wear costumes? “Why not?” asked Schur. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strut your speed at upcoming annual Turkey Trot

Stuff the starting line Thanksgiving morning

The 2022-23 Thunder Mountain girls varsity volleyball team poses for a group photo during 2022 3A/4A Volleyball State Championships in Anchorage on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 10 and 11. (Courtesy Photo / Julie Herman)
TMHS volleyball wraps up stellar season

Falcons fall short of finals at State tournament

Glacier Swim Club finds success in Petersburg

Twenty Juneau students competed in the November swim meet hosted in Petersburg over the weekend.

TMHS stands for team photo after state tournament at Bartlett High School in Anchorage on Saturday, Nov. 5. (Courtesy Photo / Josiah Loseby)
Juneau swim teams make a splash at state championship

“We all performed well and we all had a good time.”

Juneau Skating Club Forget-Me-Not team featured in last year’s spring event. The team is traveling to Irvine, California to compete in the Glacier Falls Classic on Saturday, Nov. 12. (Courtesy Photo / Kim Hort)
Forget-Me-Not skaters return to California

Juneau Skating Club team competes in Glacier Fall Classic.

Thunder Mountain girls varsity volleyball team celebrating their championship victory against JDHS on Saturday, Nov. 5. TMHS now heads to the state tournament in Anchorage to face Colony in the first round on Thursday, Nov. 10. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
TMHS volleyball team advances to state tournament

Falcons will take on Colony in Anchorage Nov. 11

Large crowds turned out to support high school swimmers through Alaska at the Region V meet on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 28, 29 at in Juneau at Dimond Park Aquatic Center. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
Prep swim teams score big at Region V meet

TMHS and JDHS swim teams score big at Region V meet

JDHS junior Mila Hargrave winds up to spike the ball while TMHS junior Ashlyn Gates attempts to deflect it. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Volleyball wraps up regular season

Region tournament set for Nov. 4 and Nov. 5

A volleyball makes its way through the air. TMHS and JDHS are set for a pair of cross-town contests on Friday and Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Volleyball senior nights set for cross-town matches

Will there be a bump in attendance or a spike?