Thunder Mountain High School freshman Ashley Young was rewarded on Saturday for her hard work on the hard wood over the weekend during the Lady T-Bird Classic at East Anchorage.
Young was selected to the 2012 Lady T-Bird all-tournament team for a spirited effort that included scoring eight points against North Pole, 15 against Bartlett and nine against Ketchikan. Young was also noted for defensive and rebounding activities in each game, but she was far from having the lone effort as the Falcons put together their best three games of the season and placed sixth.
“We all worked very hard and came together more as a team each game,” Shayla Reeves said. “We had good talking, good hustle and an overall good game against Bartlett. However, I feel it’s not even comparable to the game against Ketchikan. Our team came together more than I’ve ever seen before and we wholeheartedly applied ourselves in the game and worked hard on and off the court and encouraged everyone. I’ve never been more proud of my team than I am after this weekend.”
The Falcons opened the tourney with a tough 49-42 loss to North Pole but turned the tables on Bartlett the next night.
Junior Janelle Staveland got the Falcons moving with a deep trey and scored five of her 14 points in the first period. The Falcons led 9-6 starting the second quarter and held onto a one-point advantage at the half, 16-15.
Young exploded for seven points in the third period and Cheyenne Ekis and Kinsey Marshall found the bottom of the net to keep TMHS up 27-26 entering the final stanza.
Staveland, Young and Shale Kibby contributed 15 points in the final period and the Falcons suffocating defense limited the Golden Bears to just six, for a 42-32 win.
Kibby added six points for the Falcons, Shayla Reeves three, Ekis and Marshall two apiece.
TMHS hit 12-21 from the charity stripe while Bartlett went 11-24. Olivia Calloway led the Golden Bears with 12 points, Kelly Rypkema added nine, Sharea Holley six and Destiny Little five.
“I think we worked hard throughout the entire game and you win some you lose some,” Marshall said. “We’ll take these games as a learning opportunity and will be able to make changes and come back stronger the next time we play. I am very proud of my teammates.”
The Falcons next met Ketchikan in the fifth/sixth place game. The Lady Kings opened the tourney with a 56-46 loss to Soldotna and beat Grace Christian 45-41.
“Ketchikan played a good hard game and we sure as heck did too,” Cheyenne Ekis said. “Our team came out strong and it showed on the court.”
It was the first meeting of the season for the conference foes and Ketchikan jumped out by scoring 14 points in each of the first two periods. Reeves, Staveland, Kibby and Young kept the Falcons close at 28-14 starting the third quarter.
The Falcons picked up their three-quarter pressure and frustrated the Lady Kings into five turnovers that they converted to trail only 33-27 at the periods end.
Michaela Demmert went off for nine of her team-high 12 points in the final stanza but both teams struggled to shut down the other’s hoop and Ketchikan got the win 49-43 and fifth place.
“As being a past player for TMHS, I have had to play against Ketchikan a lot,” Staveland said. “Today’s game really showed me that if we all work hard good things will happen. We might have lost the game but no one can say we didn’t give it our all.”
Staveland and Young added nine points in the game, Reeves four, Kibby three, Ekis, Emily Winters, and Eyerus Tingley two each.
TMHS hit just 7-18 at the line, Ketchikan was 12-25. Jayley Taylor scored a game high 18 points, Shiree Sells added 10, Hannah Carson nine, Bayley Lindgren seven, Inga Christensen four, and Melissa Elliott one.
Taylor joined Young on the all tourney team as did Soldotna’s Kaillee Skjold, North Pole’s Raegan Smothers and Josie Broderick, Seward’s Meg Berry, Bartlett’s Destiny Little, Grace Christian’s Rachel Birky and East’s Togafiti Manu. East’s Taria Page was MVP.
TMHS’ Staveland was just a vote away from the tourney team as she led the Falcons in scoring two of the three games. Demmert won the three-point competition, hitting 13 shots from beyond the arch in one minute.
Soldotna’s Skjold won the free throw competition with a perfect 20-20 and the Stars also had the highest team GPA at 3.95.
East won the championship 65-55 over North Pole, Soldotna beat Seward 52-38 in the third/fourth place game, and Bartlett stopped Grace 23-21 in the seventh/eighth place match up.
The Falcons boys play at home tonight against Petersburg. The Falcons girls next play at home Thursday against Mt. Edgecumbe. The TMHS JV boys and girls play at home against Thorne Bay varsity on Wednesday.
Said Falcons’ forward Emily Winters, “I think we have our heads in the game. We used this tourney to learn and get better. We were loud and encouraged each other every game. I have never been more proud to be a Falcon.”