The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team staved off elimination from the Region V tournament Friday night, handing Ketchikan its first tournament loss in a 61-51 win at Ketchikan High School.
The Crimson Bears’ 10-point lead with three minutes left in the fourth quarter dwindled to four, but seniors Erik Kelly, Kasey Watts and Gammy Reyes went 10 of 10 from the free throw line in the final 75 seconds to hold on.
“I think we’ve been getting too anxious in the end of the game and we’re starting to realize that we just need to take our time, do what we’ve been doing the whole game,” said Watts, who finished with 16 points.
As a team, JDHS shot 22 of 31 from the foul line.
“We spent some time working on that today and it played out for them, that made a big difference,” JDHS head coach Robert Casperson said of the free throws.
Senior Kolby Hoover scored 17 points, Gammy Reyes scored 10 points and Erik Kelly added eight.
Brothers Marcus and Chris Lee amassed 46 of the Kings’ 51 total points.
The Kings’ foul trouble aided the Crimson Bears in the fourth quarter. Ketchikan went over the foul limit early in the quarter and JDHS made 11 trips to the foul line.
JDHS led for almost the entire first half and went in the locker room with a 22-17 lead. On the final play of the half, Kelly skyed in the air to block Marcus Lee at the rim. The 6-foot-5 forward was originally called for his fourth foul, but after a brief deliberation, the referees determined the clock had run out at the time of contact.
Kelly had just been whistled for his third foul 14 seconds earlier. A player fouls out from the game after five fouls.
JDHS will try to repeat the outcome on Saturday night at 8:15 p.m. in a rematch with the Kings. Ketchikan entered Friday’s game with one loss to burn before facing elimination.
The Crimson Bears also won two elimination games in a row at the Region V tournament last year on its way to their region title.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.