Bears lose against Craig, Wrangell
The Haines High School boys’ varsity basketball team endured four games in four days last week without picking up a win, but coach Steve Fossman said the stretch will help the Glacier Bears in regional tournament play.
Fossman said combining trips to Craig and Wrangell allowed for “a lot more days in the gym practicing, rather than riding the ferry back and forth.”
The Glacier Bear girls’ varsity, who hosted Craig the previous week, joined the boys for the Wrangell portion of the trip, falling by scores of 30-24 and 31-25.
“It was a hard series for us,” said coach Brian Elliott. “The first night, it was a grinder. There were 73 free throws attempted, combined, by both teams.”
The jam-packed week of basketball opened on Wednesday, with the Haines boys losing at Craig, 66-45. Senior Justin Swinton poured in 25 points, repeatedly driving to the basket against the Panthers’ man-to-man defense, Fossman said.
Craig took the second game, 61-51, when Swinton and fellow seniors Chevy Fowler and Isaac Wing scored in double figures. The Glacier Bears also squeezed in one junior varsity game, a 44-36 loss.
“We just have to get more confidence and get some more shots early in the game, to put pressure on the other team,” Fossman said. “We’re getting some good shots that aren’t going in.”
The boys continued on to Wrangell for a weekend series, and the Wolves took both varsity contests, 56-46 and 62-45. Swinton tallied 14 points on Friday; Wing, 13; and senior Kai Sato-Franks, 10.
Swinton and Wing again were the top scorers on Saturday, with 15 and 11, respectively. Fowler added 9 points.
Wrangell was victorious in the JV games, 59-32 and 39-24.
Fossman said the Glacier Bears “might have been a little more tired” than the Wolves after their lengthy trip, but playing several games in succession is “what we have to end up doing a lot of the time at the (regional) tournament.”
Coach Elliott said the Haines girls “shot horribly at the free throw line” during their rough, physical series with Wrangell. On Friday, the Glacier Bears were 11-35 from the charity stripe.
On Saturday, “we were up one point at halftime and could have been up 10” by faring better at the line, Elliott said, but, despite the poor shooting performance, he noted Haines “still had a chance to win each night.”
Senior Libby Jacobson was a bright spot for Haines, draining four 3-pointers over the two games and leading the team in scoring. She had 8 points on Friday, and junior Celia Bower followed with 7.
Elliott said he attributed much of the free-throw woes to a lack of concentration.
“I hope the team learned they need to be focused and concentrate for the entire game,” he said. “We know that’s a team we can beat.”
The Haines junior varsity picked up the one win of the week for the Glacier Bears, topping Wrangell, 35-25, on Friday. Sophomore Autumn Gross and freshman Olivia Wing scored 9 points apiece. The Wolves rebounded for a 39-31 win the following night.
Both teams have a scheduled weekend off before resuming conference play Feb. 7-8, with the girls hosting Metlakatla and the boys away.