JDHS girl's heat up Fairbanks road trip

Crimson Bears beat Lathrop and North Pole; fall to state No. 3 West Valley
West Valley junior Caitlyn Brice escapes past Juneau-Douglas junior Marissa Brakes, left, and sophomore Kayla Balovich for the hoop at West Valley on Friday.

The Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears girl’s basketball team played three game in there days on a road swing through Fairbanks this week. After beating Lathrop on Thursday 58-55, the Crimson Bears fell to West Valley on Friday 39-31 and then beat North Pole 44-35 on Saturday.


Against West Valley, the number three-ranked team in the state, the Crimson Bears jumped out to 15-9 lead against the Wolfpack in Fairbanks, only to have their old nemesis slowly work back into the ball game.

“We just can’t get over the hump with this West Valley team,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “We stayed with them through three quarters, but for some reason the fourth quarter just haunts us.”

A lackluster second quarter in which JDHS scored just three points allowed the Wolfpack to chase down the Crimson Bears and take a 21-18 lead into the half.

JDHS pulled within two, 27-25, starting the final period of play. Once again the Crimson Bears could only score one field goal in the last eight minutes of play, and went 4-7 at the free throw line in the period. JDHS was 8-16 at the charity stripe for the game, the Wolfpack hit 7-11.

Esra Siddeek led the Crimson Bears with nine points, Sierra Tagaban and Gabi Fenumiai added five apiece, Kymberlee Kelly four, Marissa Brakes and Nicole George three each, and Kayla Balovich two.

Hannah Mattson led West Valley with 14 points, Caityn Brice added 11, Marina Washburn six, Callie Franz four, Sara Hajdukavich and Jill Phillips two apiece.

“We need to learn to score without our two top scorers,” Boster said. “We are slowly starting to do that. Seven out of our nine players put some points on the board.”

On Saturday the Crimson Bears finally put an entire game together, resulting in a 44-35 win over North Pole and a season-low eight turnovers.

JDHS and North Pole were tied after one period at 10 as Sierra Tagaban nailed a deep three and Gabi Fenumiai scored a couple baskets inside. Fenumiai and Siddeek controlled the offensive nets in the second period to give the Crimson Bears a 22-21 halftime advantage. Marissa Brakes hit her only points, a triple from deep beyond the arch, in the third period but had 10 assists in the game.

“We are really happy with how we did,” Brakes said. “Usually we come out really strong in the first three quarters and then the whole fourth quarter we play like we are losing by 10 points. We calmed down in the fourth quarter and played collectively and did really well. All together we did really well on this trip We are really excited about regions.”

JDHS led 35-28 heading into the final period. The scrappy Patriots put their southeastern visitors on the free throw line throughout the game and the Crimson Bears could only convert 6-17. North Pole hit 10-15.

Siddeek led JDHS with 16 points, Fenumiai added 12 points and 11 rebounds, Tagaban seven points, Nicole George four points and nine rebounds, Brakes three points and Kymberlee Kelly two. North Pole’s Raegan Smothers scored 12 points, Josie Broderick added eight, Willow Stewart six, Erica Croxen five, Sheridan Culver and Ashlynn Mulcave two apiece.

“It was great to end the trip with a win,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “We played consistent all game long and didn’t let the fourth quarter get to us. We played four good quarters today. It was nice to complete the road trip with a complete game under our belt.”

The JDHS girls and boys host Thunder Mountain on Friday and travel to the Thunderdome on Saturday. Each home game will be that teams senior appreciation night.


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