The Soldotna boys basketball team defeated Juneau-Douglas 72-60 in the first round of the Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament on Thursday at Soldotna High School.
The Stars were the only area squad to pick up a first-round win. Ketchikan defeated Kenai 59-26 and Colony defeated Nikiski 72-45, with Damien Fulp leading Colony with 23 points and Seth Carstens pouring in 27 for the Bulldogs. In other action, Bethel topped Mt. Edgecumbe 54-46.
Juneau had a long day of travel to get to the night game on time, and there were times during the day where there were questions if the Crimson Bears would make it for the 8:45 p.m. tip. When Juneau got there, Soldotna was able to take control of the game in the first quarter. The Stars stretched out the lead in the third quarter before Juneau mounted a late comeback in the fourth quarter.
Daniel McElroy paced the Stars with 16 points, while Austin Kruse had 12 points and Nathan Spence had 11 points.
In the semifinals of the tournament today, Ketchikan and Colony play at 6:30 p.m., and SoHi and Bethel play at 8:15 p.m.
In the fifth-place bracket, Kenai and Nikiski play at 5:15 p.m., while Mt. Edgecumbe and Juneau play at 4:45 p.m.
Saturday, the title game is at 4:15 p.m., the third-place game is at 2:30 p.m., the fifth-place game is at 12:45 p.m. and the seventh-place game is at 11 a.m.