Sunday Unkind to Southeast selection, Crimson Bears State Draw a tough test

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JDHS sophomore Alwen Carrillo (3) defends Anchorage South All-State senior guard Zach Williamson (2) during a game earlier this season at JDHS. (Klas Stolpe/KINY)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – Southeast Region V was not liked by the March Madness Alaska Basketball Tournament selection on Sunday, losing general tournament offers and seeing the Southeast champions draw difficult seeds.

The 3A Sitka Lady Wolves, who are part of the new Eastern Conference (although their regional tournament was held in Sitka) are 24-1 and seeded fourth behind Barrow, their only loss. And they had reversed with the Lady Whalers. The possibility of a Sitka / Monroe match in the semi-finals seems guaranteed but a day early. They haven’t faced each other this season.

The old saying about beating the best to be the best rings true for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys. The Crimson Bears won the Region V championship, but that had little bearing on the selection criteria for wins against tournament opponents. The Dimond and Palmer boys received general offers and were seeded above JDHS, who dropped to the No. 8 seed and will face the Bettye Davis East Anchorage Thunderbirds on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Alaska Airlines Center from Anchorage. East is undefeated in Alaska the past three seasons.

“I had thought we were playing against the East and that’s how we were preparing,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “So it doesn’t change anything for us. It’s hard to disagree with that based on the record. I know we played a lot of the top teams in the state, a lot of state qualifiers and everything, but our record wasn’t the best against them. It’s like that. Dimond came in with the at-large and they are the No. 2 seed.”

Casperson and the Crimson Bears have had to defeat top tournament teams before at state championships.

“I thought we had to face them at some point if we were going to have a chance,” Casperson said. “I guess a point comes in the first round. It doesn’t change what we do. Like I said, we planned to play in the East and that’s how it worked out. I guess if we prepared for the East and attracted someone else, that would also help us prepare for them too.

The 4A West Valley boys are 24-0, but they’re on the east side of the bracket and could say they should play No. 7 seed Palmer in the bottom half. But Palmer and JDHS are the only tournament-related teams they have beaten.

It could be argued that the JDHS girls should be in the state tournament with an ar-large offer; at least the people of the capital hoped they would. The Crimson Bears closed the season with steady improvement and held one of the best overall records in the state, but their wins were against a variety of opponents. In reality, however, their record against the tournament’s seeded teams was not high enough.

“They basically pitted your record against the other teams that were in the state tournament,” said JDHS girls’ coach Steve Potter. “I knew Colony would come in. Playing Ketchikan as many times as we have and fighting, there was no way we were going to overcome six losses against Ketchikan.”

And it wasn’t just the general offers. The Ketchikan Lady Kings were seeded fifth in the tournament after finishing the season ranked third in state polls. What has happened since the last state poll and seeding is that the Lady Kings have added two more wins to their record. Unfortunately, the victories came against opponents from the Southeast. Another misfortune was that the Dimond Lady Lynx upset Bartlett in their regional tournament and thus removed JDHS from contention and lowered Kayhi in the standings.

Dimond and Colony got the girls’ offers overall and earned it, but a first-round Kayhi/Colony matchup looks tough. The top-seeded Christian Anchorage Girls have beaten the No. 2 Wasilla Girls by 40 points this season and are the class of the tournament. Ketchikan beat tournament starters Dimond, Bartlett and Lathrop but lost by two points to Colony and by nine points to Wasilla. Colony is a team to be feared in the tournament.

“I thought we really improved as a team overall,” Potter said. “At the start of the year it was Trinity (Jackson) and Skylar (Tuckwood) and everyone was just trying to keep up. But I thought we got to the point where we were maybe nine people contributing to every And even if we had to go further, it’s not like the other team was going to run away because we had to play someone lower.

The Boys’ Eastern Conference 3A winner Houston got the No. 1 seed but will play against the team they beat to that title, the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves. Usually, a game against an opponent from your own conference would not take place until the next round. Once again wins and losses against state tournament teams were the criteria and Mt. Edgecumbe lost to Houston, Grace and Homer. The Braves beat Barrow.

The 4A boys seeds are:

No.1 – Bettye Davis East Anchor.

No. 2 – Diamond.

No. 3 – Kodiak.

No.4 – West Valley.

No.5 – Colony.

No.6 – South anchorage.

No. 7 – Palm tree.

No. 8 – Juneau-Douglas.

Wednesday opening of the 4A boys matches:

09:30 No.6 South against No.3 Kodiak.

11:00 No.8 JDHS vs. No.1 East.

6:15 p.m. No.5 Colony vs. No.4 West Valley.

7:45 p.m. No.7 Palmer vs. No.2 Dimond.

The seeded 4A girls are:

Anchorage Christian School #1.

No. 2 Wasilla.

No.3 West anchorage.

No.4 Colony.

No.5 Ketchikan.

No.6 Dimond.

No. 7 Bartlett.

No. 8 Lathrop.

On Wednesday, the 4A girls’ opening matches are:

08:00 No.8 Lathrop vs. No.1 ACS.

3:15 p.m. No.6 Dimond vs. No.3 West.

4:45 p.m. No.5 Ketchikan vs. No.4 Colony.

6:15 p.m. No.7 Bartlett vs. No.2 Wasilla.

The seeded 3A girls are:

No.1 – Monroe Catholic.

No.2 – Grace Christian.

No.3 – Wheelbarrow.

No. 4 – Sitka.

No. 5 – Kenai.

No. 6 – Redington.

No. 7 – Bethel.

No. 8 – Valdez.

Wednesday opening of the 3A girls games:

8 a.m. – No.5 Kenai vs. No.4 Sitka

12:30 p.m. – No.8 Valdez vs. No.1 Monroe.

4.45pm – No.6 Redington v No.3 Barrow.

7:45 p.m. – No.7 Bethel vs. No.2 Grace.

The 3A boys seeds are:

No. 1 – Houston.

No.2 – Grace Christian.

No. 3 – Valdez.

No. 4 – Nome-Beltz.

No. 5 – Hutchison.

No. 6 – Homer.

No.7 – Wheelbarrow.

No.8 – Mount Edgecumbe.

Wednesday opening of the 3A boys matches:

09:30 No.5 Hutchison v No4 Nome.

11:00 a.m. No.6 Homer vs. No.3 Valdez.

12:30 p.m. No.8 MEHS vs. No.1 Houston.

3:15 p.m. No.7 Barrow vs. No.2 Grace.

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