Chugiak guard Greg Ghramm splits the defense of West's Dominique Queen, left, and Devon Bookert during the Eagles' 78-62 Cook Inlet Conference win at West High on Jan. 11.
STAR PHOTO by Matt Tunseth
If the senior-laden Chugiak boys want to join the ranks of Alaska's elite boys basketball teams, they'll have to play a lot better than they did in a 78-62 loss at West on Jan. 11.
"We didn't defend very well, we didn't take care of the ball very well, we didn't box out very well," said coach Orin Wear after his team's double-digit loss to the defending state champions.
Wear said he didn't feel like his squad was mentally prepared to face off against the first-place Eagles.
"We were scared, and I don't know why," he said.
Devon Bookert has had the entire conference scared silly this season, and this game was no exception. The Eagles' star senior scored 14 of his game-high 31 points in the fourth quarter to help West remain unbeaten in CIC play.
"I admire (former West) coach (Chuck) White because he was able to sub everybody out of the game," said first-year West coach Brad Lauwers. "We haven't found a way to sub Devon out yet."
Colby Mitchell led Chugiak (5-4 overall, 1-2 CIC) with 21 points, but the rest of the Chugiak starting five combined for just 18. Kevin Jensen came off the bench to score eight points for the Mustangs, while Greg Ghramm who scored 24 points in his previous outing was held to just seven points and struggled with foul trouble throughout the game. Steven Puterbaugh added six points for Chugiak, Joe Trull and Ben Perrell added five each, Nic Harris and Dylan Fullmer had four and Logan Johnston scored two.
Though Wear wasn't pleased with his team's effort, Chugiak wasn't entirely hopeless against the high-flying Eagles. The game was tied 14-14 after the first quarter, as Chugiak got four points each from Ghramm and Mitchell to hang close.
"It was back and forth," Lauwers said.
Ghramm picked up his third foul midway through the second quarter, and West took advantage by building its lead to double digits midway through the period. But Chugiak closed the gap to six points at the half behind the strong inside play of Mitchell and Puterbaugh, who combined for all 13 of the team's points in the frame.
Chugiak never managed to get any closer, as West continued to use pressure defense and Bookert's hot shooting to ice the game.
"We just didn't take care of the ball," Wear said.
Despite the lopsided finish, Lauwers said he believes the Mustangs deserve to be ranked among the CIC's top teams.
"I thought we did things that bothered them, but they did things that bothered us," Lauwers said.
Eagle River no match for Service High
Dominic Young led all scorers with 15 points, but it wasn't enough to help Eagle River get in the win column as Service posted a Cook Inlet Conference victory at home on Jan. 11.
The loss dropped the Wolves to 0-5 overall and 0-3 in the CIC.
Contact Matt Tunseth at firstname.lastname@example.org or 694-2727, Ext. 215.