West woke up just in time, using a 9-3 surge late in the fourth quarter to hold off a hard-charging Juneau-Douglas squad and win the first-round game 68-61 in front of the entire West High student body.
Key points from Traivar Jackson, Omar Adegbola, Blake Muehlenkamp and Anthony Snow fueled that game-saving run that carried the Eagles into the Classic semifinals for the sixth straight season.
Together, they helped West push its lead from 54-52 to 63-55 in a two-minute span. Adegbola hit two free throws, Jackson scored on a drive, Snow hit a 3-pointer and Muehlenkamp converted a reverse layup.
Before that, however, Juneau carried all of the momentum after cutting a 14-point deficit down to two points with four minutes to play.
Juneau’s Cooper Kriegmont led the way, scoring a game-high 25 points and hitting 10-of-11 free throws.
The 6-foot-1 junior scored all 12 of his team’s points at one point, willing his team with his hustle and muscle.
But West stepped up with it mattered most, getting buckets from a number of guys at crunch time to pull away.
Jackson paced the Eagles in scoring with 17 points, including two key free throws with 37 seconds left and a thunderous dunk at the end to serve as the perfect exclamation point.
Juneau 15 11 15 20 – 61
West 16 20 20 12 – 68
Juneau – Elizard 5, McCurley 4, Bryant 0, McCormick 6, Sleppy 0, Nichols 15, Kriegmont 25, Watson 6, Slaver 0, Costello 0.
West – Zamora 6, Jackson 17, Muehlenkamp 9, Sahr 6, Fick 0, Nou 2, Pickett 0, Wilson 2, Bement 5, Adegola 14, Snow 7.