Juneau’s bench erupts at Kaleb Tompkins’ winning shot at the buzzer against Ketchikan.

Juneau’s bench erupts at Kaleb Tompkins’ winning shot at the buzzer against Ketchikan.

Kaleb Tompkins hits buzzer beater to send JDHS to state championship

The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team made their families and fans nervous again, as they trailed Ketchikan nearly the entire semifinals game at the state tournament in Anchorage.

That is, until JDHS’ Kaleb Tompkins hit a game-winning buzzer beater that punched his team’s ticket to Saturday’s championship game.

With the ball and nine seconds left on the clock, JDHS senior Guy Bean inbounded to Tompkins at the baseline. Ketchikan, in the double bonus, couldn’t foul as Tompkins — who almost lost his dribble at half — took the ball all the way down to the right elbow, and flushed the game winner from 12 feet.

“Whichever option it was, we wanted Kaleb (Tompkins) getting the ball,” JDHS head coach Robert Casperson said. “He didn’t panic, he kept that clock running in his head, and he took a legitimate shot at the basket where a lot of kids might have rushed something and thrown it up there. But once he saw that opening, he had a great follow through on the shot and dropped it home. It was one of the more impressive things I’ve seen out of a high school kid in my 17 years of coaching.”

JDHS won a low-scoring, physical 42-40 game against their experienced Southeast rivals.

The Crimson Bears started slowly again in the semifinal game, continuing a trend started Thursday against Bartlett in the quarter finals. JDHS was down 4-13 by the start of the second quarter.

The Crimson Bears found a little more offense in the second quarter, as Ketchikan had to sit starters Jason James and Matt Standley, who both had two fouls early in the second. Tompkins would hit a deep 3-pointer in the quarter and spur his team to a 13-8 run to finish the half down 17-21. The Crimson Bears shot a paltry 23 percent in the first half, mirroring their 21 percent first-half shooting against Bartlett the night before.

Coach Casperson talked about how Ketchikan held JDHS down in the first half.

“Ketchikan played a heck of a game,” he said. “They did a great job controlling the tempo and keeping the scoring down. Certainly we like to try to attack and score quickly. … It was a real grind-it-out kind of game,” Casperson said.

The physicality continued in the third quarter, with Ketchikan getting into foul trouble early. JDHS went 4-8 from the line in the quarter while Ketchikan hit 5-6. Ketchikan’s big man, Nathan Bonck, earned his fourth foul with 2:35 to go in the period and had to sit. Matt Standley earned his third but stayed in the game. Going into the final period, JDHS remained behind 27-30.

The fourth quarter belonged to JDHS’ second team all-state guard Tompkins (who also earned JDHS’ first tie of the game Thursday night on a 3-pointer with 3:20 to go in the final period). The Crimson Bears’ first lead of the game came on a nice up-and-under by Tompkins with 2:08 left. The breaks seemed to go JDHS’ way in the final period, as they earned key possessions off charges and travels.

But with 15 seconds left, Ketchikan’s all-conference guard Matt Standley had something to say before JDHS could enjoy the win. Down three points with the ball on JDHS’ baseline, Ketchikan’s Mo Bullock inbounded the ball to Standley who drained a contested three to tie the game 40-40 before Tompkins hit his game-winner.

“I thought we saw the light at the end of the tunnel there, and then Matt Standley comes back ­— he’s had a heck of a year, all-conference kid — and just drains that three on us. It was good defense, and even better offense,” Casperson said.

JDHS moves on to the championship tomorrow at 8 p.m. against Dimond High School. Dimond beat East Anchorage in their semifinal.

Casperson said his team will have their hands full with Dimond.

“Dimond is very well-coached,” he said. “They play a very solid game with ball control, they handle it real well, they don’t get rattled very easily. East Anchorage is a very athletic team, and they like to press and tried to turn them (Dimond) over a lot, and Dimond did a great job handling that,” Casperson said.

JDHS' Bryce Swafford (21) and Ketchikan’s Matt Standley collide in the game’s waning moments.

JDHS’ Bryce Swafford (21) and Ketchikan’s Matt Standley collide in the game’s waning moments.

JDHS' Bryce Swofford and Erik Kelly (24) battle for a rebound with Ketchikan’s Isaac Johnson.

JDHS’ Bryce Swofford and Erik Kelly (24) battle for a rebound with Ketchikan’s Isaac Johnson.

JDHS' Treyson Ramos, left, charges Ketchikan’s Nathan Bonck.

JDHS’ Treyson Ramos, left, charges Ketchikan’s Nathan Bonck.

More in Sports

A roadside daisy displays a fasciated center. (Photo by Deana Barajas)
On the Trails: An odd plant malady, a clever duck, and more

I recently learned about a mysterious, relatively rare affliction of plants called… Continue reading

Juneau’s Jacob Thibodeau (right) takes a selfie with WSOP legend Phil Hellmuth in the background. (Photo provided by Alaska Sports Report)
Juneau’s Jacob Thibodeau and Mario Fata consistently cashing in at World Series of Poker

Anchorage pro Adam Hendrix remains Alaska’s most prominent poker player, but don’t… Continue reading

Heidi Reifenstein reaches Father Brown’s Cross to complete the Goldbelt Tram-Mount Roberts Trail Run on Saturday, setting a new women’s record for the 3½-mile race with a time of 37 minutes and 40 seconds. (Photo by Jeff Gnass)
A mother of a mountain: Heidi Reifenstein sets new women’s record for Goldbelt Tram-Mount Roberts Trail Run

Longtime Juneau resident returns to peak form after taking break from racing while raising kids.

After a morning hike, a satisfying breakfast for under $20 hits the spot. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Food for thought

To my left is a man with a thick British accent who… Continue reading

The Nogahabara Sand Dunes in the Koyukuk Wilderness Area west of Koyukuk River. (Keith Ramos / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Alaska Science Forum: Mystery of the glass tool kit in the sand

From space, the Nogahabara Dunes are a splotch of blond sand about… Continue reading

A bumblebee pollinates the flower of shy maiden, which will turn upward soon afterward. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Flowers, showy and otherwise

The spring and summer flower show at Cowee Meadows (way out on… Continue reading

Athletes compete in a swim event at the Dimond Park Aquatic Center on Sept. 16, 2023. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: It’s OK to say an athlete failed at obtaining a goal

During the telecasts of the 2024 Olympic trials commentators stated that around… Continue reading

A brush turkey on a mound the size of a car (Flickr.com photo by Doug Beckers /CC-BY-SA-2.0)
On the Trails: Nest-building by male birds

Most birds build some sort of nest where the eggs are incubated.… Continue reading

Insects like these flies clinging to a tent seem to be in ample supply in Alaska’s boreal forest. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Insects of Alaska forest humming along

Recent long-term studies revealed a three-quarters reduction of insects in parts of… Continue reading

An estimated 185 people, many dressed in unconventional attire for running or walking, take off from the starting line outside Centennial Hall during the Only Fools Run At Night on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau revives its summer solstice spirit with Only Fools Run At Night

Runners and walkers in madcap costumes fill downtown streets as race returns after six-year absence.

Lydia Jacoby, Alaska’s gold-medal swimmer, announced Tuesday she is withdrawing from the U.S. Olympic Trials. (Alaska Sports Report photo)
P.J. Foy does not advance, Lydia Jacoby withdraws from U.S. Olympic swimming trials

First-ever Juneau swimmer to compete in trials finishes 49th among 61 competitors Friday.

Trout Unlimited's Matt Boline holds a container with coho fry for official documentation of anadromous fish use in an unnamed creek in the vicinity of Juneau. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Survey says…

Our floatplane cleared the notch in the snowy ridge then turned slightly… Continue reading