It wasn’t close and it wasn’t a win for the Thunder Mountain girls cagers but the Falcons did not back down from the state’s top-ranked Wasilla Warriors on Thursday night at the Thunderdome.
“They are a great team and they are fun to watch,” TMHS coach Tanya Nizich said of the Wasilla girls. “It was fun to watch us working so hard. Our team never stopped and never gave up. Going into the game it didn’t phase us that they are at the top of the state.”
The Warriors trapped full court, half court and just about anywhere else a team could apply pressure in a 71-34 win that was not as lopsided as the score reflected.
The Warriors Alyssa Hutchins was a handful from the outside; scoring eight of her game-high 25 points in the first quarter and 10 more in the second as Wasilla took a 19-6 start of the second quarter and turned it into a 35-16 halftime advantage.
The Falcons’ Jonelle Staveland hit two shots from beyond the arch to account for all of Thunder Mountain’s first quarter points, while Michaela Demmert Ashley Young and Kinsey Marshall found the net in the second period.
“We just wanted to come out and work on playing a ballgame,” Nizich said. “We worked hard and did a good job. Wasilla is a great team. It was a privilege today for our girls to be able to play a top team like that.”
The Falcons did not looked rattled by the Warrior defensive pressure but Wasilla was a bigger and faster opponent. While both teams played aggressive throughout the night, it was a controlled aggression that looked more athletic than the Falcons have played all season.
The Falcons had a season low in fouls, committing just eight on the night, and the Warriors hacked just 12.
Thunder Mountain hit 5-9 from the charity stripe and Wasilla went 6-8.
Staveland led Thunder Mountain with 13 points, Demmert added six, Shale Kibby and Young four each, Shayla Reeves three, and Emily Winters and Marshall two apiece.
Alexis Moe added 13 points for the Warriors, Kyla Dinkel 10, Alysha Devine seven, Machia Toews and Angel Garcia five apiece, Cassidy Edwards four and Savanna Burke two.
“I think practice to practice and game to game we are showing huge improvement,” Nizich said. “That is exciting to see.”
The Thunder Mountain girls play at Ketchikan tonight and Saturday. Wasilla moves down the road to play the Juneau-Douglas girls tonight and Saturday with the Crimson Bears boys hosting the Ketchikan Kings in the same venue.