The Juneau-Douglas High School girl’s basketball team will have their hands full as they host the Colony Knights on Friday and Saturday for the annual Crimson Bears’ Homecoming series.
“We have been studying game film from last year to see what we did positively,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “And maybe not so positively.
Last season JDHS (7-6 overall, 3-1 conference) met the Knights four times. They split a January series at JD with the Crimson Bears losing 46-42 and winning 37-31; JDHS won a February game at Anchorage 60-54; and the final clash came at the state tournament third-place game where the Knights won deridingly 47-28.
The Knights return top scorers Mary Klapperich and Izzy Tweed. Jerica Nelson moved to undefeated Kodiak this season.
“Unless they have a sleeper those are their two primary players,” Boster said. “But just like us, people only look at Gabi (Fenumiai) and Esra (Siddeek), and we have proven the past two weeks that we have other people that can be threats. We are not taking Colony lightly by any means.”
JDHS is currently ranked 6th in the most recent state 4A girl’s basketball WPI standing, Colony is 5th.
“The rankings don’t matter in as far as how a team is playing,” Boster said. “Ketchikan was a perfect example. We went out and scored over 60 points the first night, and then just 27 the second.”
The Crimson Bears won the first night at Kayhi 68-34 and lost the second 32-27.
“We might be ranked sixth but if we don’t give 100 percent effort than the results are going to be the second Ketchikan night,” Boster said. “We can still lose games that potentially we should not lose.”
JDHS has been inconsistent in the level of intensity they bring to the court game in and game out.
“Our newfound philosophy is if there is one thing anybody can control it is how much they work hard,” Boster said. “That simply proves to be more successful than only putting in half effort.”
The Crimson Bears will be without Siddeek due to injury. Kaitlin Fagerstrom, Kymberlee Kelly and Kayla Balovich have been called upon to fill the scoring void.
Boster stated she will try using the talented junior Fagerstrom as a spark off the bench instead of starting, and will put senior Amberli Fitka in a guard position to maximize team speed from the beginning.
The hustle of Kelly, Fagerstrom and Marissa Brakes will be key in slowing down Klapperich and Tweed outside, while Fenumiai, Ari Gross and Balovich will battle Klapperich inside.
Crimson Bears’ sophomore Rachelle Roldan, junior Tori Fogg and senior T-Jae Garcia also had experience against Colony last season and will be expected to contribute on the floor.
Colony is expected to play a man-to-man defense. On offense, Klapperich can shoot from three or post up.
“We are going to have to match up,” Boster said. “Who ever guards her will have to be able to keep her off the boards.”
Game times are 6:15 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with the JDHS versus TMHS following at 8 p.m. both nights.
Following are recent state rankings using a WPI, or strength of schedule style, format: 1st Wasilla, 2nd Kodiak, 3rd West, 4th Dimond, 5th Colony, 6th Juneau-Douglas, 7th Lathrop, 8th South, 9th Palmer, 10th Ketchikan, 11th Bartlett, 12th Soldotna, 13th West Valley, 14th Thunder Mountain, 15th Chugiak, 16th East, 17th North Pole, 18th Kenai, 19th Service, 20th Eagle River.