Crimson Bears' girls defend den against Falcons

JDHS sweeps TMHS 54-37 and 60-39
Juneau-Douglas High School's Gabi Fenumiai protects a rebound from Thunder Mountain defenders Shayla Reeves, Ashley Young, and Ava Tompkins during the Crimson Bears 60-39 win on Saturday night at JDHS.

The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears girl’s basketball team took the first all-city series of the season, topping valley neighbor Thunder Mountain 54-37 on Friday and 60-39 on Saturday in their home gym.


“We learned that we still have a lot to approve on,” Thunder Mountain coach Tanya Nizich said. “A lot of just the basics that we will have to tackle every day in practice. It was a tough, physical series. I think both teams like the little extra physical games, I think it fires both teams up pretty good.”

JDHS took a slim 11-8 lead into the second quarter as both teams had four players score.

“We came out to play tonight,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “And everyone contributed, which is huge. We need that.”

The Crimson Bears took a 23-15 lead into halftime as senior center Gabi Fenumiai scored six of her team-high 14 points.

JDHS upped the intensity starting the third period as Fenumiai found baskets inside and junior Kymberlee Kelly and seniors Emily Winters and Marissa Brakes controlled the outside.

“I was impressed with how we handled their full court press,” TMHS’ Nizich said. “The times that we got into trouble were just throwing bad passes, not in the trap or getting stolen. We just need to be a bit more aggressive in putting up our shots.”

Falcons’ senior Jonelle Staveland hit a deep three to start a TMHS run in the fourth quarter but the Crimson Bears answered by going 9-14 from the charity stripe in the period (14-27 in the game).

Nizich complimented freshman Ava Tompkins for being able to play with high energy through the weekend.

“Playing both jv and varsity, she had some stellar games,” Nizich said. “To be able to keep her intensity level up for that long in a night is commendable.”

Kelly scored 12 points for JDHS, junior Kayla Balovich had her best game of the season with 11 points and seven rebounds, Brakes added 10 points, junior Ari Gross five, junior Kaitlin Fagerstrom three, Winters and sophomore Rachelle Roldan two each and junior Tori Fogg one. The Crimson Bears shot 42 percent from the field in the first half and 52 in the second half. The Falcons hit under 30 percent for the game from the field and hit 5-13 from the free throw line.

Staveland scored a game-high 15 points for the Falcons, sophomore Ashley Young seven, Tompkins and senior Shayla Reeves four each, sophomores Sarah Morris and Siosi Tupo three apiece, sophomore Cheyenne Ekis two and junior Michaela Demmert one.

On Friday the Crimson Bears used their swarming defense to open a 15-5 first quarter advantage.

“Overall we were fine,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “Before the game we talked about our intensity level and the one thing each individual player can control throughout the game it is their effort. If we give 100 percent, even if the score doesn’t go our way we can walk off the court and have pride in what they did.”

JDHS’ Kelly continues to give her all-around effort and leads the team in rebounds, grabbing four in the first quarter Friday and nine for the game.

“It is pretty funny that this kid, who is one of the smaller kids out there body-size wise, is out there out rebounding the other team,” Boster commented.

Balovich also grabbed three in the period as the duo had to replace Fenumiai who was plagued by foul trouble.

TMHS’ Reeves scored all four of her game points in the period to keep the Falcons in the book but a rough field goal percentage would hinder their effort in the game.

Falcons’ frosh Tompkins got four points in the second period and Staveland and Tupo were perfect at the free throw line to counter the Crimson Bears balance attack. JDHS led 24-13 at the break.

Once again the Falcons struggled with a third quarter and the Crimson Bears used the inside work of Kelly, Fagerstrom and Gross to drop 19 points on TMHS and take a 43-23 lead into the final period.

The Falcons twice made runs to close within 10 points as Tompkins hit from inside and Staveland and Morris from outside. The second run came with four minutes remaining in the game but the Crimson Bears kept up a full court press to seal the win.

“We still haven’t gotten into a complete habit of playing four solid quarters,” Boster said. “I did not want the kids to think since we were up by 15 points we were going to win. There was a lot of time left in the game and anything can happen. It was a great team effort.”

Kelly led JDHS with 13 points and five steals, Fenumiai added nine points, Fagerstrom eight points (4 RB), Brakes eight points and a game-high 10 assists, Amberli Fitka six points, Winters and Gross four apiece, and Balovich two.

The Crimson Bears also committed 27 turnovers and hit 10-18 at the charity stripe. The Falcons went 10-20 from the free throw line and turned the ball over 32 times.

Morris, Staveland and Tompkins each scored eight points for the Falcons, Reeves four, Demmert and Young three apiece, Tupo two and Ekis one.

The Falcons host Ketchikan on Friday and Saturday.


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