Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Glacier Bears boys and girls tangle in Wrangell

 

January 25, 2018

Mark Davis drives to the hole against Wrangell last week. Photo by Dan Rudy of the Wrangell Sentinel.

Boys

With three seconds remaining in the third quarter of Wednesday night's game between the Haines Glacier Bears boys and the Wrangell Wolves, Haines power forward Wesley Verhamme fought for an offensive rebound and quickly banked it in for two. As the buzzer sounded, the fired- up freshman exchanged a spirited high five with teammate Cade Clay and the Glacier Bears, down 54-51, returned to their bench to prepare for what would be a thrilling fourth quarter.

It had been a close, often scrappy defensive battle on Wrangell's home court. Haines trailed 16-15 after the first quarter and 37-34 at the half. The ties and lead changes continued as the quarter unfolded.

With 4 minutes and 31 seconds remaining, Coach Steve Fossman called timeout and set a play that culminated in Haines center Dylan Swinton sinking a skyhook from the middle of the lane, tying the game at 60.

Seeing his team in need of a defensive stop, Haines speedy point guard Mark Davis came up with a steal and pushed the ball up court, finding teammate Kirby Faverty just to the left of the top of the key. Faverty drained the three-pointer, putting the Glacier Bears ahead.

On the next Haines possession, Davis drove into the paint and hit a short jump shot in traffic, increasing the lead to 65-60.

With two minutes remaining and a five-point lead, Haines spread out their offense, rotating and making short passes.The Wolves would be left with no choice but to foul one of Haines' sharp shooters. Both Davis and Carson Crager would hit clutch free throws in the final minute.

Wrangell had one last chance to tie the game, but after a missed shot with 18 seconds left, Verhamme grabbed the rebound and got it into the hands of Davis, who was fouled and sank another free throw to win 69-66.  

Carson Crager led the scoring with 26 points while Swinton had dominated the boards with 17 rebounds.

Every game these guys are getting better, Coach Fossman said. "We have young players playing a lot and stepping into veteran roles."

The game concluded a little after 9 p.m. and after a night in the school library, the boys were back on the court for an 11 a.m. tip off. This time Wrangell jumped out to a 15-7 lead and led 33-27 at the half.

The Glacier Bears tried to rally for another dramatic come-from-behind victory. With three minutes remaining in regulation, Crager drove to the hole and banked in a lay-up to put his team within one, 51-50.

Haines never took the lead, but they didn't let up either. With a minute to play, Wrangell was inches from scoring on a breakaway, but Swinton hustled back and cleanly blocked the shot to keep his team's chances alive. He led Haines scorers with 21 points. Wrangell hung on for the 58-52 win.   

"We were taking care of the ball well," Fossman said. "We stuck to our defensive tasks a little better the first night."

The series split brought the Glacier Bears to a regular season record of 3 wins and 3 losses with 10 more games leading up to the Region 5 tournament in Ketchikan.  Senior Hudson Sage sees the potential for more close games on the horizon. "It's going to be interesting. There should be some good match-ups. Everyone in our region is playing each other really close this year."

The Glacier Bears host the Craig Panthers this weekend. The boys play at 6 p.m. on Friday when they will celebrate Support the Troops Night with proceeds being donated to The American Legion. The girls game will follow, while on Saturday the girls play at 6 p.m. with the boys game to follow.

Girls

After traveling through the Wrangell Narrows on board the state ferry M/V Columbia, the Haines Glacier Bears Girls basketball team made bold course during their midweek series versus the Wrangell Wolves.

In the first quarter of action on Wednesday night, Haines shot seven of nine from the field, working the ball in to Makayla Crager for three buckets in the low post. Early in the second quarter, Brittney Bradford dribbled through the Wrangell full-court press and drove for a right side lay-up, giving Haines a 19-9 advantage.

From that point the Wolves went on a 22-7 run for the rest of the half, slicing through the Glacier Bears' zone defense for high percentage shots and badgering the Haines backcourt with their relentless press. After three quarters, Wrangell had pushed their lead to 53-28.

Early in the fourth quarter with his team down by 30, Haines coach Greg Brittenham called for a timeout. Haines would emerge from the huddle with renewed energy.   Bradford drained her first three pointer of the series. She would lead Haines with 12 points. Shortly thereafter Marissa Haddock was fouled on a strong move to the hoop and converted the three-point play. She would finish the night with 10.  

The Haines bench contributed some gutsy minutes late in the game with Haley Boron hustling for two steals and Debby Cheng crashing the boards for a pair of rebounds.

After the final buzzer sounded, and the Glacier Bears had been defeated 71-44, the team gathered at the sideline and exchanged exhausted high fives in appreciation of each other's refusal to quit.

Early the next afternoon, the Wolves were once again on the attack, jumping out to a 9-0 lead midway through the first quarter and threatening to run up another double digit lead.

Haines would go on to out play and outscore Wrangell for the next three and a half quarters. "Some sort of fire was lit," said Coach Brittenham.  Marirose Evenden stopped the bleeding and started the scoring when she drained a three-pointer four minutes into the game. Bradford followed with another three to make it 9-6.

The Glacier Bears 2-3 zone proved much more effective than it had been the night before, closing down the passing lanes and denying the Wolves open looks at the basket. On offense they managed to consistently break through Wrangell's full-court pressure. "We cut hard to the ball and set mid-court screens," said Brittenham. "You don't beat anyone by outrunning them, you beat them by changing speed and direction."

Early in the second half, Bradford hit her third three-pointer of the game and Wrangell was forced to spread out their defense to deny any more scoring from beyond the arc. Haines countered by feeding Crager in the low post. She scored 15 second-half points, leading the scoring with 17 overall to go along with Bradford's 15.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Marissa Haddock would put back an offensive rebound to cut the Wrangell lead to 51-46, but that would be as close as Haines would get. The final score was Wrangell 60, Haines 52; however, there was no doubt that the Glacier Bears had shown what type of team basketball they are capable of playing. "We did to them the second game what they did to us the first game," said Brittenham, "Hopefully that carries over."

The next chance to find out if that hard-earned momentum does carry over will be this Friday and Saturday when the Craig Panthers come to town.

 
 

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