Juneau-Douglas High School all-state selection Gabi Fenumiai had 12 points in the first half for the Crimson Bears and the Kodiak Lady Bears’ Hannah Wandersee 10 as the two carried their respective teams in a battle for fourth place the 2013 ASAA state 4A Girl’s Basketball Tournament in Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena on Saturday.
Wandersee won the scoring edge Kodiak won the game but it was not without a solid effort across the roster by JDHS.
“Gabi was in a zone today and that was crucial for us,” JDHS coach Dee Boster said. “Kaitlin is really playing with some spark and I hope she takes that to next season and Marissa played a typical solid game on both ends of the floor.”
Fenumiai was hard to contain inside. She was 4-4 from the charity stripe in the first half when the defense could do nothing but foul her. Just two other Crimson Bears found the net in the first half with Kymberlee Kelly getting a follow up and Kayla Balovich a free throw.
Kodiak led 22-15 at the half.
Fenumiai pulled down three straight offensive rebounds to start the second half and that resulted in Kelly getting the first score of the third quarter.
Fenumiai would score at the buzzer ending the quarter for her 16-point of the night but Kodiak held momentum.
Kaitlin Fagerstrom hit two free throw to start the final quarter and cut the Kodiak lead to 34-29.
Wandersee followed that with her 16th point to push the margin back to eight. Wandersee rebounded on the defensive end of the next possession and was rewarded with two more points out of the Lady Bears offense.
The Crimson Bears began to push the ball tempo to cut into the nine-point deficit. Wandersee began to take control for Kodiak, blocking two shots and scoring to push the lead to 40-29.
The Crimson Bears could not close the margin and lost 45-32.
“It was a tough game,” Boster said. “It is what it is, we worked our butts off but it just didn’t go our way. We were not able to capitalize on our opportunities and they made some crucial shots at crucial times. It is a bummer we lost but I cannot be unhappy because of our effort.”
Fenumiai finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, Kelly added seven points (5 RB), Balovich six points (3 RB), Fagerstrom two points and 10 rebounds with 1 steal, Tori Fogg one point (1 RB 1 ST). Marissa Brakes had six assists (2 RB), Emily Winters and TJ Garcia one steal each.
JDHS hit 10-13 at the free throw line while Kodiak went 4-8.
Wandersee led Kodiak with a game-high 20 points (10 RB), Jerica Nelson added nine, Sarah Ng (11 RB) and Carissa Canen five apiece, Megan Pyles four (7 RB), and Holly Patterson two.
On Friday the Crimson Bears’ girls topped West 57-46 to earn play for Saturday.
Fagerstrom and Fenumiai again displayed championship performances.
Fagerstrom scored eight points in the opening stanza, 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,” 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.
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.
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 (Thursday) 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.
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. 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. Brakes put in another top performance with 12 points, four assists and three steals. Kelly added four points, Balovich four points and three rebounds, Winters two points with two rebounds and one steal, and 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.
Stated Boster, “Obviously anyone who comes to state wants to play for first but fourth is better than nothing and we are okay with that.”
JDHS’ TJae Garcia and Ari Gross were selected to the All Good Sports Team. Gabi Fenumiai was chosen to the 4A girl’s all-state tournament team.