The Mt. Edgecumbe High School boys basketball team found themselves down 20 points against Juneau-Douglas High School on Thursday, yet forced a three-point game in the closing seconds of the match in a gutsy, inspired performance.
The Crimson Bears held on for the home win, 70-63. JDHS exercised control of the match offensively until the fourth quarter, when Mt. Edgecumbe head coach Archie Young exhorted his team to “make the game ugly.” The Braves then applied a brutal full-court press, which helped them go on an 18-4 scoring run in the final period.
Young said he was happy with his team’s effort, but was as surprised as anyone to see them make such a comeback.
“I’m gonna go ask them where that came from. Whatever it was, I hope they continue to do it,” he said. On his team’s “ugly” style down the stretch, Young added: “If we try to play a half-court game with them, they will beat us. We have to make it sloppy with quick shots and scrambling defense.”
Mt. Edgecumbe senior Paul Bioff led all scorers with 24 points. Junior teammate Bobby Pate had 20 and junior John Housler added seven.
JDHS was led by senior Kaleb Tompkins with 14, junior Bryce Swofford with 12, senior Guy Bean with 11, senior Hunter Hickok with nine, and senior Treyson Ramos with eight.
“Mt. Edgecumbe’s kids play hard no matter what,” JDHS head coach Robert Casperson said of the Brave’s comeback. “They don’t care whether they are up 20 or down 20.”
The Crimson Bears are moving on to their last four regular season games before the Southeast Conference tournament to be played in Sitka. Casperson expressed intentions to use their narrow win as motivation.
“I think it was a truly good wake-up call for us as we move forward on our last four conference games of the year.” he said.
JDHS went on to face Ketchikan for two games this past weekend at home. The bouts were an Alaska prep basketball showdown, as JDHS was ranked second in the state coaches poll when they entered and Ketchikan ranked fourth. JDHS and Kayhi are the Southeast Conference’s two leading teams.
“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to play them again, it’s been a while,” Casperson said. “We’ve gotten better since then and I think they’ve gotten better, too. We’re looking forward to the big crowd.”