An aggressive defense by the Juneau-Douglas High School girl’s basketball team thrust them past the Ketchikan Lady Kings 49-33 in the Region V tournament semifinals at Mt. Edgecumbe’s B. J. McGillis Memorial Gymnasium on Wednesday.
“We started out in kind of a combination full court press defense,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “We were dropping to a two-three zone and a man-to-man, we kind of changed it up a bit. We changed it up a lot actually.”
The Crimson Bears put the Lady Kings on the free throw line nine times in the first quarter but settled down in the second and third periods and limited Ketchikan to just four points in each period.
Junior Kaitlin Fagerstrom tallied five points in the opening stanza, including a deep three, the second of the period as senior Marissa Brakes hit one, and the Crimson Bears were up 13-12. Jayley Taylor hit all seven of her game points for the Lady Kings in the period.
“It wasn’t that we were lazy in the first quarter but we just did not rotate enough to stay on her,” Boster said. “We proved to be successful after we started finding our rotation back on defense.”
JDHS put the clamps on Taylor the rest of the game and limited the Ketchikan scoring in the second quarter to just four free throws. Junior Ari Gross hit five points in the period and senior Amberli Fitka a deep triple to help the Crimson Bears take a 25-16 half time advantage.
Senior Gabi Fenumiai scored 11 of her game high 18 points in the third quarter and the Crimson Bears were up by 18 points, 38-20 starting the final stanza.
“Defense wins games,” Boster said. “The name of the game is defense and free throws. And it was lucky we had the defense tonight because we were not hitting our free throws.”
The Crimson Bears were 13-25 at the charity stripe and the Lady Kings were 14-24.
Fenumiai was in foul trouble early and sat out most of the second quarter and parts of the third and fourth quarter before fouling out with 1:50 remaining in the game.
The Lady Kings had started to pick up their own man-to-man and zone defensive pressure in the final period.
“We had some trouble with that a few times,” Boster said. “And then we decided we were going to win the game without really working and they hit some open shots on us and got momentum. It was a relief to get this opening win because regions are a whole new season and atmosphere. It was nice to get that win under our belt. I am very pleased with the win and how the kids played.”
Fenumiai scored 18 for JDHS and collected 12 rebounds, Fagerstrom seven, Brakes and Gross six apiece, Emily Winters four, Fitka and Kayla Balovich three each and Kymberlee Kelly two. Ketchikan was led by Bayley Lindgren’s eight points, Brooke Simmons and Taylor added seven each, Eliah Anderson five, Alexis Biggerstaff three, Charley Edwardson two, and Mikayla Brown-Harrison one.
The Lady Kings (1-1) will play TMHS (0-1) at 8 a.m. today in a loser-out game. Kayhi defeated TMHS 53-42 in Tuesday’s tourney opener. Today’s winner will advance to play JDHS (1-0) in the 4A Girl’s Championship game at 3 p.m. Friday.