The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys team managed to hold on for the win Saturday night against Ketchikan, 74-71, despite being down as much as 20 points in the third quarter.
Senior Orion Dybdahl led with 23 points with junior Sean Oliver right behind with 22. Saturday’s win gives the boys team a 13-7 record overall for the season, and a 4-0 conference record.
Coach Robert Casperson said that while the team often will practice short-clock scenarios, never have they practiced preparing to recover from being down 20 points before.
“This group of guys, this team came back twice tonight, they were down 20 at two separate points tonight and they never gave up,” Casperson said. “They always believed and when you believe and you back it with some effort and execution, there you go, we ended up with a 3-point win after being down 20 points at the start of the fourth quarter.”
Junior Alwen Carrillo, who finished the game with a total of 20 points, capitalized big after a technical foul late in the fourth quarter where the Crimson Bears regained possession after Carrillo made both free throws, giving JDHS the lead. Carrillo said that while the team feels good about pulling off the win after coming back from a 20-point deficit, it’s not anything the team isn’t used to at this point in the season.
“We’ve just been here before,” Carrillo said. “We’ve been down by a lot in other games and have come back many times before, so it’s really nothing new, just makes us better to know we can recover like that. It’s a team effort and we all came together for sure.”
Splitting the series
Saturday’s game proved to be slightly more challenging for the Crimson Bears girls team, however, as they fell to Mt. Edgecumbe High School 49-46. The girls now have a 13-5 record overall with a 2-0 conference record. JDHS senior Skylar Tuckwood led with 19 points with Freshman Gwen Nizich following not too far behind with 11 points. Tuckwood said while the game’s result wasn’t quite the outcome the team was hoping for, a loss is always a chance to see the areas the team can improve upon.
“We just have some things to work on,” Tuckwood said. “It’s good for us to lose every once and a while because it shows us what we need to work on. It’s just how the game goes, can’t win every one of them, but I think our team did great, we really tried and that’s all you can ask for sometimes.”
There was no shortage of cheerful screams and determined teams on Friday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé as both the girls and boys basketball teams had games at home with both coming out on top with the win. JDHS boys had a conference game against Ketchikan High School, 71-64, and JDHS girls faced off against Mt. Edgecumbe High School for a non-conference game with a final score of 42-40 that came down right to the very last second.
The girls team played first which saw the Crimson Bears trail slightly behind for the first three quarters until the fourth when scoring from senior Kiyara Miller and Tuckwood, along with junior Mila Hargrave put JDHS neck and neck with the Lady Braves. With the score tied at 40-40 with only seconds left on the clock, senior Ashley Laudert caught a long pass from Tuckwood down court and managed to put up a quick lay up for the win right at the buzzer.
“I kind of just looked up and saw the clock was still going and I thought to myself, ‘I have to make this,’” Laudert said. “So, it lit a fire under me for sure.”
Tuckwood led the team in scoring for a total of 19 points with Hargrave and Miller both coming in with 8 points of their own. Miller, who had an especially physical game with four personal fouls along with being knocked to the floor several times without going to the free throw line, said despite the way calls get made, it’s all about just staying in the game until the very end.
“You gotta just keep playing the game,” Miller said. “I was on the ground, but you have to just keep getting back up and get back out there. We were all stressed out a little as a team for a minute, we dug ourselves a pretty big hole to get out of, but I’m really glad at the end of the game we got it together and ended up winning and Ashley had her buzzer beater, proud of her. I’m just glad that our team kept pushing and didn’t give up.”
Coach Tanya Nizich said she could tell just from team huddles in timeouts and in the locker room during the half, one way or another, this was a game the team had no intentions of losing.
“They didn’t stop, it’s hard when you dig yourself in a hole, but you could tell in their eyes and in timeouts, they were not going to lose that game,” Tanya Nizich said. “Just tremendous defense from Kiara (Miller) and Skylar (Tuckwood) on the guards, just all around a great team effort.”
Friday night lights
The Crimson Bears boys also had much to celebrate against Ketchikan in a game that had JDHS comfortably in the lead from quarter to quarter. Carrillo led his team with 17 points, with Oliver right behind with 16 and Dybdahl with 14. Coach Robert Casperson said the level of confidence and aggressive game play should be well expected this far into the season.
“At this point in the year, we’ve been battle tested,” Casperson said. “We knew Ketchikan would come in and scrap, that was a great ball game. That’s a conference basketball game, tough, physical play, great shooting, a lot of athleticism on display, that was a lot of fun.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at firstname.lastname@example.org.