Glacier Bear boys' game rebounds
The Haines High School boys’ basketball team hit the reset button on the season last weekend, topping Craig twice in a varsity series at home.
The games marked the return of senior Devin Light, who competed for the Glacier Bears as a sophomore before a move to Anchorage. Juniors Keanu Lynch and Keegan Sundberg also were late additions to the team this season, and with the three in the line-up, the pace of play picked up significantly.
“The speed on the team helps,” said coach Steve Fossman. “They’re getting better at the right time.”
Haines lost to Craig twice in their first series this season, both times by double digits, but the Glacier Bears blindsided the Panthers at home on Friday, 71-52.
Haines featured a balanced scoring attack, with seniors Kai Sato-Franks and Isaac Wing scoring 17 points apiece. Wing connected on four 3-pointers. Light added 15 points; senior Justin Swinton, 11; Lynch, 5; Sundberg, 4; and junior Jordan Badger, 2.
Craig was more formidable on Saturday, sending the game into overtime before falling, 62-61. In the fourth quarter, the Panthers hit a 3-pointer to knot the score at 52. Swinton responded with a trey to give Haines a 55-52 lead with 10 seconds remaining.
Craig then made a free throw to cut the margin to two, grabbed a rebound, and went to the line for two shots with one second left. The shooter missed the first and then intentionally missed the second, snatched the ball, and sunk a lay-up at the buzzer.
“It was kind of my fault,” Fossman said. “I didn’t discuss specifically getting the shooter … We had blocking out issues on the free throw before that. We have to clean up with that; you should never be put in that situation.”
A Sato-Franks free throw with three seconds left on the clock in overtime, followed by a Swinton rebound, secured the win for Haines.
Swinton poured in 25 points; Light and Wing, 13; Sato-Franks, 7; and seniors James Morgan and Chris Turner, 2.
The following morning, the Glacier Bears had the opportunity to host Skagway, in a game with a 9 a.m. tip-off. Both teams were sluggish early, and the Panthers took a 15-13 lead into intermission. Haines recovered in the second half and took a 43-32 win.
“Sometimes, basketball is like golf,” Fossman said. “You can shoot a sub-par round, and it’s hard to follow it up.”
Light led the Glacier Bears, tallying 13 points. Badger, Sato-Franks and Swinton each had 6 points; senior Chevy Fowler and Wing, 4; and Morgan and junior Kyle Klinger, 2.
The previous weekend, Haines lost to Metlakatla twice, 57-33 and 72-52. Sato-Franks had 16 points in the first game, and Swinton went off for 20 in the second.
The Glacier Bears headed to Yakutat on their way back to Haines, splitting with the Eagles on Feb. 10-11. Yakutat took a narrow win on Monday, 59-57, when Sato-Franks paced Haines with 19 points and Swinton added 14.
Haines bounced back for the win on Tuesday, 69-60, when four Glacier Bears were in double figures: Wing, 17; Swinton, 16; Lynch, 15; and Sato-Franks, 12.
Fossman said he will miss this weekend’s senior sendoff series against Wrangell, as he’ll be in Anchorage for the home finale of his son Kyle, a senior on the University of Alaska Anchorage team. Jason Shull and Ralph Swinton will handle coaching responsibilities in his absence.
The Glacier Bear girls traveled to Craig last weekend, falling to the Panthers in two games, 62-32 and 53-42.
Senior Libby Jacobson was the top scorer for Haines on Friday, with 7 points. Sophomore Autumn Gross chipped in 6 points; junior Celia Bower, 5; senior Jamie Messerschmidt and sophomore Kayley Swinton, 4; and senior Grace Jones, junior Natalia Taylor and sophomore Jenae Larson, 2.
Coach Brian Elliott said the Glacier Bears performed “like a completely different basketball team” the second night. Haines held the lead at halftime, but a rough, three-point third quarter was the difference.
“That’s something this team has been battling all season, those flat spots,” Elliott said.
Jones and Swinton each scored 10 points, with all of their scoring in the first half. Jacobson scored 9 points on a trio of 3-pointers. Bower also had 9 points, and Messerschmidt and Gross added 2 apiece. The team had no free-throw attempts.
Elliott said his team is “not intimidated by Craig, at all” with the regional tournament looming, and the Glacier Bears are ready for another potential match-up with the Panthers.
“It just depends on if they believe they can win and how much they want to win down the stretch,” Elliott said.