More than one title streak will be on the line at this year’s Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys and East Anchorage High School girls basketball teams — two of the eight squads in this year’s tournament at JDHS — have won the last two Classic crowns. The Crimson Bears and Thunderbirds have posted 3-0 records in each of the last two tournaments to finish in first place. Last year, JDHS defeated Lathrop, Barrow and Maine-Endwell of Upstate New York to come away with the crown.
This year’s boys challengers include JDHS, Haines, Soldotna and North Pole. The girls challengers will be JDHS, East Anchorage, West Valley and Sitka. The JDHS girls play West Valley at 5 p.m. and JDHS boys play Haines at 7 p.m. Friday. The tournament tips off earlier in the day with East taking on Sitka at 1 p.m.
There will be two additional four-game slates on Saturday and Monday. All games will be played at JDHS.
A Nevada high school was expected to play this year, but dropped out at the last minute, according to JDHS coach Robert Casperson. That led to an invitation being extended to Haines.
“They don’t have a ton of size, but we know they’re tough-nosed kids and they’re going to play really hard,” Casperson said.
Soldotna will be another stiff challenge, Casperson said.
“I know they’re well-coached, I know they’re a very tough and physical team, so we’re going to have to be ready to go against them,” he said.
VISITING GIRLS TEAMS
Sitka Lady Wolves
Last season: 10-12
Outstanding senior: Tiffany Elefante
Coach Sondra Lundvick: “Being young can be both a strength and a weakness — when you don’t know what you don’t know, there is less to fear if you are willing to trust and learn.”
East Anchorage Thunderbirds
Last season: 13-11
Outstanding senior: Mariah McVay
West Valley Wolfpack
Last season: 21-5
VISITING BOYS TEAMS
Haines Glacier Bears
Last season: 7-10
Last season: 17-12
Oustanding seniors: Jersey Truesdell and Ray Chumley
Coach Nolan Rose: “Just like everybody else, it’s still December, and we’ve got a lot of things to clean up. We’ve got new kids in the rotation getting their first experiences, and we’re hoping to build some depth in these early season tournaments before league play starts.”
North Pole Patriots
Last season: 1-20
Outstanding seniors: Mason Price and Alexander Melson
Coach Travis Church: “We have been putting in a lot of work on the defensive end this year and hope that shows in the games this weekend. We are a young team with only two seniors and only two returning varsity players from last year. As a team, we are trying to turn the program around and do things the right way as the program has struggled since making it to state in the 2010-11 season.”
Friday, Dec. 27
1 p.m. East Anchorage vs. Sitka (girls)
3 p.m. North Pole vs. Soldotna (boys)
5 p.m. JDHS vs. West Valley (girls)
7 p.m. JDHS vs. Haines (boys)
Saturday, Dec. 28
1 p.m. Sitka vs. West Valley (girls)
3 p.m. Haines vs. Soldotna (boys)
5 p.m. JDHS vs. East Anchorage (girls)
7 p.m. JDHS vs. North Pole (boys)
Sunday, Dec. 29
2 p.m. Shooting contest (3-point, free throw and slam dunk)
Monday Dec. 30
1 p.m. West Valley vs. East Anchorage (girls)
3 p.m. North Pole vs. Haines (boys)
5 p.m. JDHS vs. Sitka (girls)
7 p.m. JDHS vs. Soldotna (boys)
8:30 p.m. Awards
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.