The Haines High School girls’ varsity basketball team picked up one win at Wrangell last weekend, and though the varsity boys failed to secure a victory, they provided plenty of tension for their home crowd.
All four of the boys’ games were decided by four points or fewer.
The varsity Wolves took a 36-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter at the first boys’ game Sunday. The Glacier Bears turned up full-court pressure to even the score in the final frame, but fell by a four-point margin, 46-42.
Scoring for Haines included junior Justin Swinton, 18; senior Chris Olsen, 8; junior Kai Sato-Franks, 7; junior Chevy Fowler, 4; senior Caullen Taylor, 3; and junior John Gross, 2.
Monday’s varsity game was a defensive struggle, and the score stood at 4-4 after the opening quarter. Wrangell held a 21-16 edge after the third, and the Glacier Bears made another furious, fourth-quarter comeback that came up two points short, 28-26.
Coach Steve Fossman brought in more reserve players the second night as Haines relied more heavily on a full-court press. The Glacier Bears showed impressive hustle, diving all over the court and occasionally into the bleachers. The defensive intensity also limited the impact of Wrangell’s 6’5’’ post player, whose offensive production dipped from 20 points in the opener to 3 in game two.
“The full-court pressure took him out of the game,” Fossman said. “They weren’t able to focus on getting him the ball.”
Outside shots weren’t falling, but Swinton was able to get to the basket for a few easy points, and he also created open looks for his teammates. He again was the Glacier Bears’ top offensive threat, with 11 points. Taylor added 7 points; Sato-Franks, 6; and Fowler, 2.
Fossman said the Glacier Bears should be more effective on both offense and defense as their conditioning improves throughout the season. Their frenzied defense contributed to many shots coming up short, due to tired legs.
The junior varsity boys won a 40-39 overtime thriller Sunday, sealed by Isaac Wing’s baseline jumper with four seconds on the clock. Wrangell, though, won the following night, 27-23.
The Haines girls traveled to Wrangell and played Friday and Saturday. The Glacier Bears battled foul trouble the first varsity game, and bench players stepped up, coach Brian Elliott said.
Junior Libby Jacobson snatched a timely steal and then scored to give Haines a two-point lead in the final moments. The team went on to win, 36-33, for its first conference win of the season.
Senior Riley Erekson had 10 points; sophomore Celia Bower, 9; senior Alisha Young, 6; Jacobson, 5; freshman Kayley Swinton, 3; senior Karlie Spud, 2; and junior Jamie Messerschmidt, 1.
The Glacier Bears looked to be on their way to another win Saturday, as they led 20-15 at halftime. Haines stalled in the third, and Wrangell split the series with a 38-35 victory. Senior Jess Giddings tallied 9 points; Erekson, 7; Bower and Young, 6; Jacobson, 4; and Swinton, 3.
“Jess Giddings played perhaps her best game as a Glacier Bear, making timely cuts and converting those into field goals, and rebounding well while playing good defense,” Elliott said.
The Wolves won both junior varsity games, 31-21 and 37-22.
Haines has a quick turnaround to face the Wolves again this weekend. Haines girls play at home.