Bartlett made the game scrappy, but Juneau-Douglas High School harnessed some last-second heroics to pull a low-scoring, opening-round win at the state tournament.
The JDHS boys basketball team beat Bartlett 58-57 at the March Madness Alaska state basketball championships in Anchorage on Thursday.
The Crimson Bears trailed in all but the closing seconds of the match when sophomore Kolby Hoover — who played only a few minutes in relief for a fouled-out Treyson Ramos — hit a deep field goal with 1.7 seconds left.
As the buzzer sounded on Bartlett’s half-court desperation heave, Hoover, who doesn’t start, walked around in a daze as his teammates exhorted him. It didn’t seem to sink in that he just kept his team’s hopes alive for the state championship.
With 22 seconds to go, the Crimson Bears found themselves down 53-57. Kaleb Tompkins then dribbled down and hit a deep 3-pointer off the dribble to pull the game within a point. Bartlett missed their one-and-one free throw, and JDHS’ Tompkins got the rebound and found Kolby Hoover with a long pass.
Hoover hit a field goal from the left wing to give them their first and only — and winning — lead.
“Kaleb (Tompkins) drew basically a triple team on that last rebound, and as he was driving up the floor, made a nice pivot move and got out of the pressure to find Kolby (Hoover) on the long diagonal pass, and he drained it,” JDHS head coach Robert Casperson said.
JDHS was down 0-7 at the beginning of the contest as both teams played sloppy basketball to start.
“We didn’t shoot it very well in the first half at all,” Casperson said. “… We got good looks, we were attacking the basket (but) things weren’t falling. Could have been nerves, first game jitters, any of that. … We definitely shot better in the second half and that made a huge difference for us.”
JDHS whittled the lead to two points in the second quarter only to drop back 20-30 before halftime. In the third, JDHS would go down by as many as 14 points before making a comeback off the good play of Erik Kelly, Bryce Swofford and Kaleb Tompkins.
Down 10 most of the third quarter, Treyson Ramos hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to bring the game within six going into the fourth.
Bryce Swofford seemed to be the only player who played his usual game as the 6’7” big man worked against a smaller Bartlett team. The junior used his size advantage to get to the line repeatedly, and keep his team within striking distance as the clock wound down.
“He started going inside more in the second half, and that’s one of the things we talked about early in the game, was that we had a size advantage and we needed to attack them inside,” Casperson said.
JDHS faces Ketchikan tomorrow in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. The championship game will be held on Saturday at 8 p.m.