Even when they play bad, they are good. That is the mark of the state’s top ranked Wasilla Warriors. The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears girls are not far behind.
In a weekend series loss to Wasilla by scores of 37-26 and 54-34, JDHS showed it has the ability to contend with teams that boast, arguably, more talent across the roster.
“I am pleased with how we played on Friday night,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “We played hard as a team for three-and-a-third quarters, and then we ran out of gas.”
Unfortunately for the Crimson Bears on Friday the tank started to go empty when they trailed by four, 25-21, at the start of the fourth quarter. The Warriors went on a 6-0 run as Pherrauri Brumbaugh hit two straight inside buckets and Alexis Imoe one from distance to open a 10-point spread.
The Crimson Bears began to foul and the games final points for Wasilla came from the charity stripe.
“It happens,” Boster said. “Different players played very well when we needed them. There was a non-stop effort from every one of our players who stepped on the floor. Sometimes players just get tired.”
Wasilla seemed to have a hard time adjusting to the atmosphere at the JDHS gym and played out-of-sync in a mix of Crimson Bears defensive pressure and a boisterous crowd.
“Juneau always has a very vocal supporting crowd,” Wasilla coach Jeannie Hebert-Truax said. “We let it get to us. And we were pretty tired. We expended a lot of energy against Thunder Mountain (a 71-34 Warriors win) on Thursday and I ran the girls this morning for a disciplinary issue.”
Leading 8-5 starting the second period the Warriors could not shake the persistent Crimson Bears. Esra Siddeek hit six of her game-high 16 points in the quarter to keep JDHS within four points at the break, 16-12.
Siddeek drained a long three and Sierra Tagaban and Marissa Brakes provided enough scoring support in the third period for the Crimson Bears to match the output of Wasilla’s leading scorers Imoe (13 game points) and Alyssa Hutchins (11), as both teams tallied nine points. Wasilla only reached double figure scoring in the final period, and JDHS never scored more than nine.
Each team had just five players score in the game. Tagaban and Brakes added four points apiece in the scorebook for JDHS, and Gabi Fenumiai and Nicole George one each. Wasilla’s Kyla Dinkel added six points, Brumbaugh four, and Alysha Devine three. JDHS hit 7-13 at the charity stripe, Wasilla went 14-18.
It was a different Crimson Bears team that took the court on Saturday.
“Yesterday they left it all out on the court,” Boster said. “They worked their butts off and didn’t give up. Tonight, quite frankly in the second half, the level of effort just wasn’t there.”
Brakes had the hardest task in the state, guarding Warriors 5-foot10 guard Alyssa Hutchins.
“Coach wanted me to be in her face,” Brakes said. “Alyssa is a good friend and the best player in the state, so it is an honor to try and defend her. I just tried to stay in her shorts the whole night.”
Even with help defense Hutchins went off for 28 points and the Warriors jumped out to an 18-3 first quarter advantage. JDHS scored 20 in the second period to trail at the half 32-23 but the Warriors defense held the Crimson Bears scoreless in the third period. Wasilla went into the final period leading 42-23.
Fenumiai led JDHS with nine points, Siddeek added eight, Tagaban seven, Brakes five, Fogg and George two each and Garcia one.
Wasilla did not have another player in double figures. Devine scored eight, Imoe six, Garcia five, Brumbaugh, Garcia and Burke two each, and Edwards one.
JDHS was 4-14 at the line, Wasilla went 3-10. The Crimson Bears had 24 turnovers, up from 14 on Friday.
“It was frustrating as a coach,” Boster said. “Tonight we didn’t come out and do the job we needed to do. Wasilla can be beat.”
The Crimson Bears could face Wasilla again at the state tournament. First, however, they need to get past the Lady Kings at the region championships in Ketchikan, and a rapidly improving Thunder Mountain squad as well.
JDHS was without the post play of Ari Gross who sprained an ankle Thursday in practice, and Kaitlin Fagerstrom is still hampered by a bone bruise.