January 6, 2011 |

Hoops opener at home Friday

Glacier Bear basketball starts officially this weekend with a boys’ team homestand against the Petersburg Vikings. Varsity games start at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Karl Ward Gym. Junior varsity games start at 6 p.m.

Both teams have already played in nonconference tournaments. The Vikings played before Christmas and the Bears made their first-ever appearance at Juneau’s Capital City Classic last week.

Classic games reflected Bears’ strengths and weaknesses, as Haines lost to Juneau and West Valley, larger schools in the 4A division. Hoonah, from the smaller, 2A division, was added to the field after a Lower 48 team canceled.

Trailing West Valley 27-13 at the half, the Bears showed their 2010 state championship determination by rallying back to a 41-42 margin with just 2:45 left. The final score in the Wolfpack victory was 50-46.

Junior Tyler Swinton led the scoring attack with 17 of his game-high 23 points in the final period, includig five, three-point shots. Newcomer Brandon Haxton, also a junior, added 10 and at 6’ 6" will play a big role in the Bears’ new offense. Junior Austin Badger had nine points and shot seven of nine from the line. Other scorers were juniors Devin Braaten 2, Logan Simpson, 1, and sophomore Caullen Taylor, 1.

Eleven Juneau players scored in the 66-41 defeat of the Glacier Bears. Juneau kept a full-court press going throughout the game. Scorers included Swinton, 12, Badger, 9, Haxton, 7, freshman Justin Swinton, 6, senior Eric Klinger, 2, and junior Parker Schnabel, 1.

Facing a Hoonah squad depleted by vacation, Glacier Bears coach Steve Fossman kept up the "focus and fundamental" approach as all nine members of the team rotated on and off the bench in the 65-30 rout of the Braves.

Tyler Swinton again led scoring with 20, followed by Badger, 16, Haxton and Braaten, 8 each, Justin Swinton, 5, Simpson 4, and Klinger and Taylor, 2 each.

Haxton won the dunk contest. Tyler Swinton sank 11 of 20 thee-point attempts to win that contest.

The Glacier Bear girls lost two games and won one at a tournament in Petersburg before Christmas. They lost to 4A Thunder Mountain, 50-46, and to Kotzebue, 49-36. They beat conference competitor Petersburg, 39-36.

"It was a good learning experience for a lot of our players who were mostly JV players last year," said coach Brian Elliott.

The girls play the Valkyries in Petersburg this weekend.