Bears fall to Vikings in close game at region tourney


April 1, 2021

Matt Davis

Carson Crager was named Player of the Game against the Petersburg Vikings.

The Haines Glacier Bears boys basketball team lost to the Petersburg Vikings at last weekend's 2A Region V tournament in Ketchikan. The Bears held a narrow lead for awhile, but fell after a come-back Viking rally in the fourth quarter.

The Vikings took an early five-point lead at the end of the first quarter when the Glacier Bears had just four points and as many turnovers.

Haines rallied in the second quarter after Eric Gillham drew two fouls and converted at the free throw line. Senior Mark Davis drove for a layup, cutting the Viking lead to three, and Carson Crager nailed a wide-open three-point shot, later cutting the lead to one.

With just under four minutes in the half, Petersburg called a timeout to regroup but it didn't help. The Vikings turned over the ball for the sixth time in the second quarter.

Haines converted after Crager drove and scored. And on Haines' next possession, Crager rebounded a missed three-point shot and scored, giving the Glacier Bears a one-point lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, Haines kept the pressure on as Jayden Hotch scored the first points of the second half, increasing the Glacier Bears' lead. Petersburg turned the ball over again and Hotch again scored after a successful drive, giving Haines a 24-19 lead.

Haines kept Petersburg from scoring during the first half of the third quarter until Viking Jared Volk finally broke the cold spell. That didn't stop Crager from scoring another layup, his ninth point of the game. Petersburg head coach Rick Brock called another timeout to try to rally his team. The break helped. Petersburg mounted pressure and Haines' players began to stumble and turn over the ball. Petersburg led by one as the quarter ended.

In the final eight minutes of the game that would place the winner in the regional championship match against the Metlakatla Chiefs, the Vikings pillaged. They continued to score while Haines' players couldn't get their shots to drop. With three minutes left, the Vikings led 44-30.

The Glacier Bears began to claw their way back as Crager and Davis came alive offensively and helped shrink Petersburg's lead to four with 25 seconds left. The Bears forced fouls to regain possession, but the Vikings converted at the line, winning 51-46.

Crager, with 23 points and eight rebounds, was awarded Player of the Game. Davis scored 10 points and shot six for six from the freethrow line. Hotch scored nine and Gillham scored four.

The Metlakatla Chiefs won the tournament 43-40.

The Glacier Bears ended their season with a 5-2 record and several games canceled because of COVID-19. Virus cases forced the cancellation of several games and forced the Wrangell Wolves from participating in the tournament.

It was the last high school basketball games for seniors Davis, Crager and Hotch.

"It was a really good group and a really easy team to coach for a first season," said first year head coach Tyler Swinton. "I couldn't be more proud of what they were able to do and how much better they were able to get. It was very little individual basketball. It was lots of teamwork."

Swinton said his players had a tough time making shots during the tournament game, but said he was proud of their ability to fight back from an early slump at the tournament where crowds were absent from the stands.

"Before the games I told the guys we needed to bring the temp and bring the energy," Swinton said. "The gym was completely empty. You could hear the announcer across the gym broadcasting the game. I think Petersburg beat us to the punch early. We got down a decent margin but put on some pressure. I was proud they were able to fight hard."

Hired for one year, Swinton said he'll likely apply again next year.


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