JDHS cheer team leads crowd in chant for the opening of a Crimson Bears Region V basketball game. Winning that tournament sent the JDHS boys to state in Anchorage. They played against top-seeded West Valley High School on Wednesday, losing 60-37 (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

JDHS cheer team leads crowd in chant for the opening of a Crimson Bears Region V basketball game. Winning that tournament sent the JDHS boys to state in Anchorage. They played against top-seeded West Valley High School on Wednesday, losing 60-37 (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

JDHS boys battle, but unable to upset top-seeded West Valley

Crimson Bears play again on Friday.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé drew a tough matchup in the first round of the state tournament in Anchorage, facing off Wednesday against top-seeded West Valley High School.

The Crimson Bears played their brand of high-intensity basketball for four quarters but still found themselves on the losing end of a 60-37 game and will now be competing in the 2023 Alaska School Activities Association March Madness consolation bracket.

West Valley started hot while playing swarming defense, while the Crimson Bears ran into foul trouble early, which took some of their most potent scoring threats off the floor. JDHS coach Casperson said too many turnovers sealed the team’s fate early into the game.

“We had 15 turnovers in the first half and finished the game with 21, so only six in the second half, which is way more in line with how we’ve been taking care of the ball at this point in the year,” Casperson said. “That was a big issue for us,”

At the end of the first quarter, West Valley was up 17-5 and then 32-14 at half, leaving JDHS to trail at times by as much as 20 points.

In the second half, the Bears nipped at the top-seeded team’s heels, but the Wolfpack regained form for a 23-point victory. The Crimson Bears stayed feisty throughout, playing physical defense and launching 3-pointers while facing an imposing deficit.

JDHS junior Sean Oliver led the Bears in scoring with 12 points, while seniors Joseph Aline and Orion Dybdahl each added 9 points. Oliver was named player of the game for JDHS while West Valley’s Stewart Erhart led all scorers with 20 points and was named the Wolfpack’s player of the game.

Casperson said that credit goes to West Valley for being as aggressive and displaying better execution. Additionally, Casperson said that despite the preparation leading up to the game, the Bears just found themselves in too deep of a hole to dig out of by the fourth quarter.

“West Valley did a really good job of being aggressive, they just came out with a better game plan than we did and they executed better,” Casperson said. “We battled in the second half, it was just that the damage was done by that point. But they guys don’t quit, they have a great attitude, I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to have a little better showing and keep it closer in the first half and just see how things could have worked out, but I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked throughout this year and we still have another chance to play at the end of the week.”

JDHS now plays on Friday against the loser of the Colony vs. Monroe game, which won’t be determined until later Wednesday evening.

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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