It is obvious both the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears and the Colony Knights will be playing in the Saturday night title game at the state basketball championships in Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena. That will come next season however, as their matchup on Saturday was in the third/fifth-place game of the 2012 tournament.
“It is just another rung on the ladder,” Colony coach Jeff Bowker said. “We are all back next year, they are all back next year, Soldotna is all back next year. You look at the state tournament next year and it is just like this one.”
The Crimson Bears (14-11), will graduate Nicole George and Sierra Tagaban, and the Knights (15-9), will lose Leroya Simmons and Saige Stefanski. They battled in a morning clash that ended both seasons on a positive note even though JDHS lost 47-28.
“There is no reason for us to hang our heads,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “The girls are beating themselves up right now. They didn’t play well today but that is okay, we still ended up with good results at the end. I am proud of the way we came to play this whole tournament.”
Marissa Brakes continued her stellar season by knocking down the first points of the game on a deep trifecta and after Colony scored back-to-back baskets Esra Siddeek hit another triple for a 6-4 lead. Gabi Fenumiai continued her strong inside presence with three straight trips to the foul line to keep the Crimson Bears within one starting the second period at 10-9.
After a basket to open the second period by Colony it was Fenumiai and Kaitlin Fagerstrom that provided the scoring to put the Crimson Bears back on top and began a tight back-and-forth first half with five lead changes and two ties.
The Knights used a 12-2 third quarter to get control of the game as the Crimson Bears shot just 10 percent in the second half. JDHS would find their touch again in the final period and play Colony even to the finish.
“We worked hard all season long,” Boster said. “They didn’t quit in this game and that was important. It was a bummer we lost the final game with our two seniors but at the same time we had a great year. We can only get better and I think we will. They will get over this loss and move on. There is no reason to overanalyze in the off season and next year will come along quicker than we think.”
Fenumiai led the Crimson Bears with 11 points, Brakes scored nine and had four assists, Fagerstrom and Siddeek scored three apiece and Ari Gross two. JDHS hit 14-24 at the charity stripe, Colony was 5-10. Mary Klapperich and Izzy Tweed led the Knights with 12 points apiece, Faith Farris added seven, Jerica Nelson six, Stefanski four, Simmons, Hunter Payne and Jennifer Solano two each. JDHS totaled 28 rebounds and Colony 26 and both teams were just above the 10-turnover mark. The Crimson Bears scored nine points off of miscues by Colony, while the Knights tallied 13 points on JDHS violations.
“When we play Juneau we feel like we are playing ourselves,” Knights coach Bowker said. “They are a mirror image of us. They are young, they will all be back. Dee I will see you in Juneau next year, we will be coming down for two more games. Juneau is a very talented team and Dee has done a terrific job, a fantastic job, with that group.”
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