The Haines Glacier Bear basketball season started with a clean sweep of Petersburg last weekend.

Here at home, the girls’ scrappy full-court pressure and capitalization of turnovers into layups left Petersburg reeling and struggling just to get the ball across mid-court. The scores were closer than they could have been because coach Brian Elliott gave his non-starters significant playing time.

“Rebounding and quick outlet passes were something we worked on all week prior to the games,” Elliott said. “We are a small team and have to be physical to be effective rebounders.”

We all knew that senior captain Hannah Wing would be the main driving force behind the Bears’ attack, but it was refreshing to see her fellow seniors Marnie Rasmussen and Amey and Ashley Messerschmidt play well at both ends of the court and average 27 points in the two-game series.

Friday’s score was 59-37. Wing had 18, including two treys. Other scorers were Ashley Messerschmidt, 16; Rasmussen, 11; Amey Messerschmidt, 4; junior Alisha Young, 4; and sophomores Libby Jacobson, Grace Jones and Jamie Messerschmidt, 2. Carolyn Kvernvik led the visitors with 18 points.

Saturday it was 52-45. Petersburg outscored Haines 18-5 in the fourth quarter to make the game a lot closer. Wing posted all 5 points in that frame as the younger girls struggled to find a way to put the ball in the bucket.

Wing led all scorers with 22, followed by Ashley Messerschmidt, 12; Rasmussen, 10; Young, 7; and Amey Messerschmidt, 1.

“I thought we did a good job of running the court so early in the season,” Elliott said.

The junior varsity squad lost both games, 39-29 and 31-29, but played well. One referee noted that both teams used good fundamentals to limit the usually high number of turnovers and mistakes young teams make early in the season. Jones led all scorers in the two games with 27. Jamie Messerschmidt had 13, Jacobson, 10; junior Karlie Spud, 6; and freshman Caroline Ward, 2.

Girls’ home highlights also included a well-rounded sound from the pep band and exuberant introductions from superintendent Michael Byer.

Don’t miss this upcoming weekend’s series with the Sitka Wolves. Changing from 3A to 2A next year means we won’t see the Wolves here again in the near future.

Sitka went to team camps last summer and played a season’s worth of games. Only one senior left the squad to graduation. They have a strong guard presence balanced with 6’2″ senior Sariah Ady’s post play. She will be a handful down low, and I expect a close game with lots of intensity.

When asked how the games went for the boys’ varsity, coach Steve Fossman said there were times when he looked out on the court and saw exactly what he wanted and expected.

“We are working to get the kids to take higher percentage shots and recognize where the shooters are at all times,” Fossman said.

Senior Tyler Swinton dominated the scoring both nights.

“Tyler was 11-14 the second night,” Fossman said. “If he gets double- or triple-teamed, it just creates better opportunities for his teammates.”

Friday night the score was Haines 47-34 over Petersburg. Swinton had 20 points; seniors Austin Badger, 7; Logan Simpson, 5; Devin Braaten, 3; and Parker Schnabel, 3; sophomore Justin Swinton, 3; senior Brandon Haxton, 2; junior Reik Fischer, 2; and sophomore Devin Light, 2.

Saturday’s contest was higher scoring, with Haines coming out on top, 55-46. Swinton led the Glacier Bears with 30 points and 11 rebounds. Other scoring included Braaten, 8; Haxton, 6; junior Caullen Taylor, 4; Schnabel, 3; Simpson, 2; and Light, 2.

Speaking mostly about the transition guard play, Fossman singled out Simpson as one who has been practicing hard and picking up the tempo.

The team suffered a huge blow when senior co-captain Badger went down with a possible anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury with about a minute left in the first game. Badger’s dad on Tuesday from Juneau said the doctor wouldn’t be reading the results until later in the week, and it looks like a season-ending injury.

Traveling to Petersburg with 18 players, the Glacier Bear boys junior varsity and “C” squads gained valuable experience. No stats were available but Fossman said the JV team won the first night and lost Saturday.

The team arrived home Monday evening and departed Wednesday to Sitka, where they will face the Wolves this weekend. This is the time of year when the student-athletes do most of their homework on the ferries.