In what’s proving to be the state’s biggest inter-conference rivalry this year, the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team lost to Ketchikan High School on Saturday to split a weekend series of home games.
JDHS lost to Kayhi 69-63 as the Kings established an early intensity that JDHS couldn’t match, and with the win Kayhi retained control of the Southeast Conference leaderboard. Both teams played a physical, punishing style usually reserved for conference and state tournament matchups. With the conference lead at stake, however, neither team held anything back as three players would foul out by the final buzzer.
Ketchikan senior Jason James led his team with 22 points. As one of the Kings’ captains, James knew he had to pilot Kayhi’s weekend turnaround.
“Yesterday we were really rough and slow and we weren’t playing any defense, so tonight we had to come out and prove what kind of team we really are,” James said. The senior guard expected a physical game out of JDHS. “This was like a region championship game, they’re going to be calling things less and it’s going to be very physical.”
In addition to James’ 22 points, Ketchikan was led by senior Mo Bullock with 16, junior Jake Smith with 10, and senior Matthew Standley with eight.
JDHS senior Kaleb Tompkins led all scorers with 28 points. Sophomore teammate Erik Kelly had 14, and sophomore Kolby Hoover added eight.
After going down 14 points in the first quarter, Juneau-Douglas would come within striking distance of Ketchikan by halftime. Sophomore Kolby Hoover hit a buzzer-beater putback to send the Crimson Bears to the locker room down 31-26. Ketchikan built their lead back in the third, finishing the period up by 13. Crimson Bears head coach Robert Casperson found it hard to break that five-point barrier.
“We had a couple opportunities to cut it down to five and we could never get any closer than that,” he said. “They made the plays they needed to, they got the stop and the rebound when they needed to, or they went down and got the bucket and the foul. They did a good job, especially on the boards.”
The Crimson Bears would make another push in the fourth, trimming the lead to seven points with a minute to go. JDHS’s Tompkins nailed a clutch three to give his team a chance in the closing seconds, but Kayhi hit their free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
As JDHS looks forward to their last weekend of regular season matchups, Ketchikan (18-4) holds a slight edge over Juneau Douglas (17-4), which would have been ameliorated by a JDHS win.
The Crimson Bears play two games against Thunder Mountain next weekend at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Ketchikan wrapped up their regular season and will next play during the Southeast Conference tournament March 9-12 in Sitka.
Friday’s game: JDHS 72, Kayhi 64
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team clawed their way to a win against No. 4-ranked Ketchikan High School in spectacular fashion on Friday: stealing, dunking and blocking their way to a win over the Southeast Conference powerhouse.
JDHS beat Ketchikan 72-64 in the first of two all-important conference battles this weekend. The Crimson Bears’ played some of their best basketball all year: ball-handlers Treyson Ramos and Kaleb Tompkins kept Kayhi’s talented guards quiet while big men Bryce Swofford and Erik Kelly produced offensively.
Sophomore Erik Kelly had a huge night, leading all scorers with 19 points. In the second quarter Kelly treated the home crowd to a monster, one-handed alley-oop jam off an assist from Bryce Swofford. Kelly showcased the kind of acrobatics Juneau basketball fans haven’t seen for a long time in Southeast, and made a statement Friday that he’s a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
“It happened really fast. I thought Bryce was going to get it, but when I saw the defender was going over to him, I figured I’d jump. … It was my first alley-oop in a game so I was excited but I didn’t want to show too much emotion,” Kelly said.
The Crimson Bears’ win was a total team effort, but even head coach Robert Casperson recognized the special nature of Kelly’s dunk.
“I wish I could say that was just another two points for us but it was a pretty special play for a high school group to make, and certainly not something we’ve seen in Southeast since, well, probably since (Carlos) Boozer’s days,” he said.
Following Kelly’s game-leading 19 points was senior Ramos with 16, senior Tompkins with 13, senior Swofford with 12 and senior Guy Bean with eight.
Ketchikan was led by junior Jake Smith with 15, junior Jason James with 13, seniors Matthew Standley and Nathan Bonck with 12 each, and senior Mo Bullock with 11.
Kayhi was disappointed with the loss, but will look to bounce back Saturday night in their second match with JDHS.
“We knew it was going to be intense, we know they’re a good team,” Ketchikan coach Eric Stockhausen said. “We have to clean some things up and play better (Saturday). … They rebounded well in the first half, which led to some baskets in transition. The key in a game like this is easy baskets and I thought they got more easy baskets than we did.”
Ketchikan has every right to be confident going into Saturday’s game, as their Friday match was tight throughout. The Crimson Bears came out looking to establish an early lead and succeeded, but Kayhi stayed within three points for nearly the entire first half, leading to a halftime score of 41-38.
At the beginning of the third quarter the Crimson Bears were able to make a 12-1 scoring run and buy some breathing room, putting them up by as many as 14 and leading to a 60-49 advantage going into the final period. Ketchikan then had a run of their own to start the fourth, with Smith hitting a pair of clutch 3-pointers. Down the stretch neither team allowed any easy buckets, with the last eight scoring plays coming from the free-throw line.