The Petersburg Vikings and Haines Glacier Bears split the conference opening series both away for the girls and at home for the boys.
In Haines, pre-game ceremonies Friday included the unveiling of the Bears 2009-2010 state championship banner and introduction of the championship boys’ team.
But this year’s boys’ squad got off to a sluggish start, trailing 15-27 at halftime and scoring only four points in the third period. Coach Steve Fossman changed tactics by using a jump-trapping defense in the final period, forcing Petersburg turnovers and boosting a scoring surge.
Junior Tyler Swinton scored 10 and classmate Austin Badger, 9, as the Bears outscored their opponents 24-14 in the fourth period. But it wasn’t enough, as the Vikings held steady at the free-throw line, sinking 12 of 15 in the period to win 43-47.
Sam Volk of the Vikings led all scorers with 21. Other Vikings scorers were Guy Birchell, 9, Austin Strickland, 7, Bill Jensen, 5, Cory Volk, 3 and Jacob Craig, 2. For Haines, Swinton had 19, Badger, 10, junior Brandon Haxton, 6, junior Devin Braaten, 4, junior Logan Simpson, 3, and sophomore Caullen Taylor, 1. Junior Parker Schnabel created havoc on defense, a large part of the comeback.
On Saturday, fueled by two quick buckets from Haxton and a late first-quarter three-pointer from freshman Justin Swinton, the Bears sailed through with a 10-point lead at the end of three periods.
Then it was hang on for dear life as Petersburg made exactly the same type of comeback that the Bears attempted Friday night. Tyler Swinton and Badger showed leadership and composure by sinking 4 of 4 from the line in the closing seconds soon after the Vikings had closed the gap to one point, sealing the 43-39 victory.
Fifteen Haines players suited up for JV games, scoring 76 points in two losses. Sophomore Chris Olsen had 18 in the two games, sophomore Patrick Henderson, 13, freshman Devin Light, 13, freshman Justin Swinton, 9, freshman John Gross, 7, sophomore Russell Clark, 6, senior Nathan Piper, 4, Caullen Taylor, 4, and freshman James Morgan, 2.
This weekend in Haines, the Sitka boys play six games, with "C" teams starting at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
The Lady Bears lost a barnburner Friday night down in Petersburg. Tied with 20 seconds left, Haines missed two free-throws.
After two missed shots and a scramble, Petersburg’s Shana Stewart banked in a three-pointer at the buzzer. Coach Elliot said the girls lost their focus and allowed the Vikings to get back in the game. "It should have never came to that one shot."
This was after a 15-2 first quarter lead was closed to 20-22 by the half. Stewart scored eight of the Valkyries’ 18 points in the fourth to outscore Haines by six for the win. Final 46-43
Petersburg scoring: Stewart, 17, Carolyn Kvernvik, 14, Courtney Curtis, 9, and Emily Luczak, 6. Haines scoring: senior Abby Jones 18, Marnie Rasmussen, 13, junior Ashley Messerschmidt, 4, senior Jolene Lemieux, 3, sophomore Riley Erickson, 3, and junior Amey Messerschmidt, 2.
On Saturday, coach Elliott used his best defenders, Lemieux on Stewart and Rasmussen on 6’2" Kvernvik, to shut down Viking scoring. After the pair racked up 31 Friday, Stewart had only one on a layup off the opening tip and a free throw in the fourth. Good defense was a strong springboard as eight Bears contributed offensively in the 57-28 win.
Jones led all scorers with 22, Amey Messerschmidt, 11, Erekson, 9, Rasmussen, 6, Ashley Messerschmidt, 3, Lemieux 2, sophomore Syerra Braaten, 2, and freshman Grace Jones, 2.
Viking scorers: Kvernvik, 12, Curtis, 7, and Stewart, 3.
The six JV players were nervous but settled down after the first few minutes and played seven solid quarters, according to coach Stewart Dewitt, winning 35-32 and 38-28. Ashley Messerschmidt had 19 total, sophomore Alisha Young, 15, sophomore Jess Giddings, 14, Grace Jones, 12, sophomore Karlie Spud, 10, and freshman Coral Bauer, 2.
All-conference point guard junior Hannah Wing rejoins the team this weekend after injuring her ankle the first week of practice. The girls travel to Sitka this week. The team is still looking for airline miles to help with travel to Valdez in mid -February.