Daily Sitka Sentinel
It was the first loss at home for JDHS since last March, when they fell to the Braves in the Region V crossover game. The Braves won that one 44-42 and made it two straight over JDHS Thursday night.
“Juneau is a very good team,” MEHS coach Archie Young said. “Anytime we can play a good team and have success it really helps our mindset. It is a great learning experience for our kids. We tell them to go into every game with that mindset. We like to play three games in a row, it is the best preparation for the region tournament.”
Mt. Edgecumbe’s Kacy Green sank three free throws in the final 13 seconds to ice the game for MEHS. The win improved the Braves to 12-6 overall on the season.
The Braves, who stopped in Juneau on their way to Haines for two key conference games this weekend, used a patient passing attack to counter the Crimson Bears’ tenacious defense. And coach Young said the MEHS boys are getting better at attacking the basket.
“Most of our guys are becoming more aggressive,” Braves coach Archie Young said. “They are getting more comfortable with being aggressive and we tell them that aggressive teams win ball games.”
JDHS coach Robert Casperson, in his first year leading the Crimson Bears, credited the Braves with executing a good game plan.
“They are very good at what they do and they disrupted anything we tried to get into,” Casperson said. “They controlled the tempo and had a well-executed game plan. We did not execute nearly as well with the things we had prepared for. My hat is off to them. They did a really nice job.”
Juneau’s Evan Gross powered in the first bucket of the game but five seconds later Green drove the lane and hit a basket while drawing a foul on the Crimson Bears’ Lance Ibesate. Green hit the free throw to put the Braves up 3-2. They did lead again until Dominique Hall buried a jumper with 4:24 remaining in the third quarter for a 29-28 advantage.
Juneau’s Alec Calloway scored inside five seconds later to regain the lead, followed another shot and dished to Phillip Fenumiai for another deuce as the two teams exchanged baskets with the Crimson Bears leading 35-33 starting the final period.
Hall buried a three at the 5:06 mark to put the Braves up two, but seconds later Tony Yadao hit his own triple to put the home team back in the lead.
Tied at 41, Edgecumbe’s Jaylin Prince hit a three that put the Braves up for good. Prince, a three-time state wrestling champion at 285 pounds, typically does his scoring in the paint. But he found his way outside Thursday night and nailed a big shot for the Braves. With 1:07 remaining, Juneau’s Ryan Kelly stole the ball and was fouled, sinking a free throw to get the Crimson Bears moving. Yadao stole the ball on the next possession and JDHS got three shots at tying the score but failed to convert. Mt. Edgecumbe put the ball in Green’s hands in the final seconds and he delivered.
The usually tough Crimson Bears’ full court press was not effective against the patient passing of the Braves and JDHS fell back to half-court defensive sets throughout the night.
“We didn’t get much out of it (the press) in the first half so we didn’t use it a whole lot,” Casperson said. “When it came down to the end, it was too little too late in terms of our effort and our execution of our pressure.”
JDHS led 13-7 at the end of the first quarter and 26-22 at the half. Dominique Hall hit seven of his team-high 17 points in the second period to keep the Braves on course and buried three from beyond the arch in the contest.
Calloway led the Crimson Bears with 10 points, Shoemaker had 8 and Gross had 4.
Hall led the Braves with 17 points, Jaylin Prince added 13, Green 11, Cody Sherman four and Leo Ford two.