The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears girl’s basketball team overcame a slow first quarter to topple East Anchorage 60-51 in the final game for both teams in the Capital City Classic on Saturday night.
JDHS senior Esra Siddeek went 11-14 at the charity stripe and tallied a game-high 18 points for the Crimson Bears and classmate Gabi Fenumiai scored 14 against a formidable front line for the Thunderbirds.
“Our aggressiveness was key,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “I thought we were a little soft last night and it hurt us. With East being so aggressive we just had to step up.”
The most aggressive player on the court was arguably junior Kymberlee Kelly.
Kelly pulled down a team-high 13 rebounds.
“If you get a rebound you can go back up and get fouled or make a shot,” Kelly said. “It is a huge part of the game. The teams are really good and really big in the tournament so we had to fight hard inside. My mindset is to get rebounds.”
A sluggish scoring first quarter by both teams led to many opportunities on the boards as East took a 9-5 advantage into the second stanza. JDHS hit 10-12 at the line in the first half with Siddeek getting seven points in the second quarter and Emily Winter four to spread out the East defense and take a 25-20 halftime advantage.
The Thunderbirds relied on the inside presence of Taria Page (12 points) and Togafiti Manu (7 points) and the outside play of Vaasaumamao Pedro (5 points) and Jasmine Richard (6 points).
“It was pretty physical,” Manu said. “This is going to help us get better though.”
The four would foul out of the game in the fourth quarter.
East’s Dajah Motuga scored six of her team-high 14 points in the third quarter to keep the T-Birds within six, 35-29 heading into the final stanza.
The fourth quarter was a scoring binge as Siddeek drained a three to open play for JDHS and Page began an assault inside for East.
Kayla Balovich added six rebounds, two on one play that drew the fifth foul on Page with just over three minutes remaining. Kelly rebounded on the next possession and passed to Siddeek who was drew Pedro’s fifth foul at the three-minute mark. Siddeek scored four straight free throws to push JDHS ahead 54-40.
Balovich had East’s Richard sent to the bench with 32 seconds remaining. Marissa Brakes ended the game with two free throws, capping off her five-point quarter.
“It was a great effort by everybody,” Boster said. “It was a great way to end the tournament.”
Amberli Fitka added six points for JDHS, Kelly five, Winters and Ari Gross four, Balovich three and Kaitlin Fagerstrom one. JDHS hit 26-41 from the charity stripe, East went 9-22. Shanterria Gillion added five points for East and Felica Manu two. The Crimson Bears had just 13 turnovers in the game while East gave up the ball 29 times.
JDHS finished with two wins and one loss in the tourney, East went 0-3. Sitka also finished 2-1 and ACS was a perfect 3-0.