February 14, 2013 | Volume 43, No. 6

Bears girls take 2 from Wrangell

Haines celebrated Senior Night on Tuesday with a 44-22 pounding of the Wrangell Lady Wolves.

“It was a special night for the seniors,” said coach Brian Elliott. “We picked the right time to play our best brand of basketball.”

The win completed a 2-0 varsity sweep of visiting Wrangell in a pair of re-scheduled games. Haines split an earlier series with the Wolves.

The Glacier Bear varsity on Monday took the opener, 26-23. Senior Riley Erekson led Haines with 14 points, including four clutch free throws in the final minutes. Other scorers were junior Jamie Messerschmidt, 5; senior Jess Giddings, 4; and sophomore Celia Bower, 3.

Haines and Wrangell were tied at halftime, 13-13, Tuesday. That’s when the Glacier Bears’ offense started clicking on its way to 19 third-quarter points that put the game out of reach.

Erekson had 16 points, Giddings, 10; freshman Kayley Swinton, 5; senior Alisha Young, 4; junior Libby Jacobson, 4; senior Karlie Spud, 3; and Bower, 2.

The game was the home sendoff for seniors Erekson, Giddings, Spud and Young.

Elliott said Giddings “has been one of our most improved players, not just this season, but the last month or so.”

Spud’s outside shooting is a challenge for zone defenses, Elliott said. “If she wants to be aggressive with her shots, they are available.” He called Young “one of our building blocks” and credited her for rebounding well and staying out of foul trouble in her home finale.

Elliott noted that Erekson went a combined 16-18 from the foul line in the two contests.

“The fact that she’s attempting that many free throws means she’s being aggressive,” he said.

The Haines JV lost two close games to Wrangell, 28-24 and 29-22. Swinton’s dozen points were half the Glacier Bear total on Monday, and sophomore Natalia Taylor was the team’s leading scorer Tuesday, with all six of her points coming in the first quarter.

The JV girls picked up a home win last week against a non-varsity Juneau-Douglas squad. The Glacier Bears fell, 29-21, on Friday despite freshman Jenae Larson’s eight points, but regrouped for a 27-23 overtime victory. Taylor, Larson, and freshmen Destinee Cowart and Autumn Gross scored six points each.

The Haines boys also hosted games in the past week, but visiting Craig took all four games.

Craig took a 38-21 halftime lead Friday and was ahead by 20 points heading into the fourth quarter. The Glacier Bears hustled and clawed their way back into the game, narrowing the final margin to 67-56. Haines tallied an impressive 24 points in the fourth.

Senior Caullen Taylor was the game’s top scorer, with 19 points and three 3-pointers, followed by junior Kai Sato-Franks, 9; senior Chris Olsen, 7; sophomore Keanu Lynch, 6; junior Justin Swinton, 5; junior James Morgan, 4; sophomore Jordan Badger, 3; junior John Gross, 2; and senior Russell Clark, 1.

Swinton, slowed and then sidelined by a toothache in the first game, was a force in the second, pouring in 32 points in a 63-49 loss. Coach Steve Fossman changed up the strategy from the previous night and had Swinton post up more. The move had great success against Craig’s tall, physical squad.

“We played him inside against the zone, and he got a boatload of points in there,” Fossman said. “I knew he was getting some buckets, but I didn’t realize he was getting as many as he was.”

The fourth quarter was a shooting showcase, as Craig senior Karl Benolken drained three consecutive 3-pointers. He scored 15 of his 20 points in that frame. Swinton, though, nearly matched him down the stretch, with 14 fourth-quarter points of his own.

Olsen and Taylor had 7 points for Haines, Sato-Franks, 2; and junior Chevy Fowler, 1.

Fossman said he’s been pleased with the team’s ability to draw charges on defense.

“Those are really big things to start happening at the end of the season,” he said.

The Glacier Bear JV team lost 48-39 on Friday and 45-35 on Saturday. Junior Isaac Wing scored 15 points in the first game, and Badger had 10 in the second, connecting on two shots from behind the arc.

The Haines boys are back at home this weekend to face Metlakatla, while the girls will travel to Metlakatla and Craig to close out the conference slate. As of press time Wednesday, the girls’ games had been pushed back to Saturday and Sunday against Metlakatla, and Monday and Tuesday vs. Craig.