Haines High School senior Eric Brouillette (40) shoots over Craig High School sophomore Ayden Benolken (24) and freshman Josh Bennett (10) during the Glacier Bears 68-39 win over the Panthers in the Region V 2A/4A Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2023 at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Haines High School senior Eric Brouillette (40) shoots over Craig High School sophomore Ayden Benolken (24) and freshman Josh Bennett (10) during the Glacier Bears 68-39 win over the Panthers in the Region V 2A/4A Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, Mar. 8, 2023 at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Haines defeats Craig in boys Region V tournament opener

Glacier Bears chill Panthers with 68-39 win.

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Region V tournament is made possible by Sealaska Corp. Thanks to this sponsorship, this article —and all 2023 Region V coverage — is available online without a subscription to the Empire.

The bank was open for Haines High School senior Luke Davis during the Glacier Bears 68-39 win over Craig in the Region V 2A/4A Basketball Tournament on Wednesday at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau.

Davis put two long shots off the glass at the end of the first and second quarters to help Haines open a 35-12 advantage at the half and started the second half with a bank shot for a 38-12 advantage.

“That doesn’t happen very often,” Davis said of his long-range banking skills. He also had six assists in the contest. “But, you know, confidence and just taking the shot. We were moving the ball well and taking good shots. We were being aggressive defensively which led to a good transition game. That really helped us out tonight.”

And if Davis or any of the Glacier Bears were off, Haines senior Eric Brouillette had their back securing a team-high nine rebounds.

“I think the mind set that the coaches have been preaching all season is just to play 100-percent all game,” Brouillette said. “Go after every loose ball, every rebound, and just really dog-it-out… get on the ground, get physical and have a fun time.”

The Glacier Bears opened the game on a 7-1 run keyed by the inside rebounding of Brouillette, senior Garrett Stickler and junior Jackson Long.

Brouillette closed out the stanza with two scores inside and a blocked shot that triggered a fast break score for sophomore Phoenix Swaner and Davis canned his first shot past the arch for a 21-7 lead after eight minutes of action.

Craig junior Bryant Hollloway drew the tough defensive assignment on Brouillette and kept the Haines big man from earning easy inside position while also pulling down 10 rebounds for himself.

“I’m always the shortest one on the court so I have to play the hardest,” Holloway said. “I’m down there because I don’t get pushed around too easily, I always keep that in my mind, ‘don’t get pushed around by the big guys.’ Height doesn’t matter and I jump high. This is my favorite sport. I do wrestling a lot along with it so that is why I am down there guarding all the big guys… I hustle and don’t get pushed around. That’s all there is to it.”

Haines played an aggressive 2-3 zone and trapped on the wings. Their speed outside and length inside gave them an advantage for quick scores and they held a 51-25 advantage starting the final eight minutes of action.

“We did the same thing a few weeks ago when they came to Haines,” Glacier Bears coach Don Nash said. “Because they are a little bit shorter team I feel comfortable bringing Eric (Brouillette) out as he is pretty athletic out in the open. Him and Luke (Davis) have been playing together since they were in fourth grade so they are a great trapping pair on the outside. It is fun to see the kids play well… and also to see our freshmen and sophomores come off the bench and score.”

Davis led Haines with 19 points, Brouillette added 14, sophomore Alex Weerasinghe seven, Long six, freshmen Colton Combs and JC Davis five apiece, freshman James Stickler and senior Garrett Stickler four apiece, senior Jacob Weerasinghe and Swaner two apiece.

The Glacier Bears hit 7-18 at the freethrow line, the Panthers 9-14.

Sophomore Ayden Benolken and Holloway led Craig with eight points apiece, freshman Josh Bennett added seven, junior Jason Fowler and sophomore Brody Bazinet six apiece, and senior Sam Bass and sophomore Tyler Smith two apiece.

Haines advances to play top-seed Metlakatla on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. Craig falls into a 4:45 p.m. elimination game against the loser of Wednesday’s late contest between Petersburg and Wrangell.

“I was happy with our guys’ hustle,” Craig coach Thomas Mills said. “We got shots off but they just didn’t fall. Other than that we played hard and that is all I could ask for. We just missed a few shots, they were there. Haines played really good defense, had good rebound, good shooting, good ball movement… we just came up short. We couldn’t find a shot. Hopefully tomorrow we can pick it up.”

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