Crimson Bears' girls top West 57-46 at state basketball tournament

JDHS will face Kodiak in 4th-place game on Saturday

Juneau-Douglas High School junior Kaitlin Fagerstrom and senior Gabi Fenumiai continued their championship performance at the 2013 state basketball championships on Friday. Fagerstrom scored eight points in the opening stanza against West Anchorage as JDHS battled in their second game of the 4A girl's bracket at Anchorage's Sullivan Arena, and Fenumiai put up a game-high 23 points as JDHS (17-12) advanced with a 57-46 win.


"Kaitlin just had that extra spark," JDHS coach Dee Boster said. "I don't know where she got it, even yesterday's game was impressive. Just a huge spark of desire. She really made things happen offensively and defensively. It was really nice to see."

Fenumiai got off to a slow start against Wasilla on Thursday but was more aggressive against West.

"We told her she had two more games left in her senior year and she may as well make the most of them," Boster said. "She definitely did that today. She was under control and it was fun to see."

The West Eagles (16-10) went on a 14-4 run to win the first quarter with a rotation that included a number of freshmen, which bodes well for the team's next season.

JDHS' Kymberlee Kelly scored two baskets in a row to open the second quarter and picked the West pockets for a steal and pass to Fagerstrom for a basket and a 20-17 lead.

West stayed in the game by crashing the boards and pressing foul court, forcing a steal and then a pass out of bounds.

JDHS also applied full court pressure and Kelly picked up five steals in the game, while Fagerstrom had a game-high nine rebounds.

Marissa Brakes gave the Bears a one-point lead on a free throw but Eliste Aguilar canned a shot to tie the score with two minutes remaining and both teams stayed at 21 apiece into the half. Both teams had 11 turnovers apiece in the first half.

Boster stated the team talked about three things before the game: running on the Eagles, being patient on offense, and rebounds.

"We watched them against Colony yesterday and they were tired early," Boster said. "We were patient in the second half against Wasilla, not the first. Against West we matched them on the boards and that was huge, that was where Kaitlin was huge for us."

JDHS struggled in the opening moments of the third quarter as West pressured to a 29-21 advantage as the Crimson Bears gave up the ball five times.

Gabi Fenumiai finally ended the drought with two free throws.

The Crimson Bears kept going inside and Fenumiai helped close the score to 29-28 with two minutes remaining in the third.

JDHS switched to a zone defense to limit the inside West game and Brakes canned a deep triple on the other end to give the Crimson Bears a 31-29 advantage.

The Crimson Bears started the fourth quarter leading 33-31.

Bookert canned a triple to give West the advantage 34-33.

The Crimson Bears went on a 10-0 run to open the biggest lead of the game, 43-34, with 5:45 remaining. Fenumiai made it a 10-point margin on a free throw.

West continued to battle, scoring twice on follow up shots inside.

Fenumiai was too much down the stretch, hitting eight points in the period and pulling down four rebounds. Kayla Balovich gave the Crimson Bears their biggest lead of the game at 53-41 with just over a minute left.

Break-a-way baskets by both West and JDHS, with Fenumiai lumbering for an easy lay up game the Crimson Bears a 55-43 lead. JDHS won by 11 points, 57-46.

"Obviously it is fun to win," Boster said. "The kids were really fun to watch play and they said it was a fun game to play because they played so well. They played as a team and that was great."


JDHS had a number of game highs. Gabi Fenumiai led all players with 23 points, Kaitlin Fagerstrom led with nine rebounds and five assists, and Kymberlee Kelly led with five steals. Senior Marissa Brakes put in another top performance with 12 points, four assists and three steals. Kelly added four points, Kayla Balovich four points and three rebounds, senior Emily Winters two points with two rebounds and one steal, and junior Ari Gross three rebounds.

West was led by Chanel Bookert's 18 points and six rebounds, Chamira Cockerham added 10 points and seven boards, Marshala Eady seven points, Alistie Aguilar five, Shiccia Harris Grant and Theyoung Pauy three apiece.

JDHS hit 18-25 at the charity stripe, West went 6-9.

JDHS (17-12) will play Kodiak in the fourth place game on Saturday at the University of Alaska Anchorage gymnasium.

West had beaten JDHS early in the season by nine points, as did Kodiak. If JDHS concentrates on a running but patient offense and going to the boards they will bring home a trophy.

"We are playing for fourth place and that is pretty cool," Boster said. "Obviously anyone who comes to state wants to play for first but fourth is better than nothing and we are okay with that. Hopefully we can come in tomorrow without that third game let down and get in to them a little bit." 


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