The Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team fell 49-47 to the Kayhi Lady Kings on Saturday at the Thunder Dome, one night after taking a 46-41 win.
“Those games are tough games,” Thunder Mountain coach Tanya Nizich said. “We made it tough on ourselves by blowing a 13-point lead.”
The Falcons led 13-10 after one quarter as they worked the ball inside to Ashley Young or floated players to the perimeter.
Cheyenne Ekis and Michaela Demmert were key in the second quarter, hitting deep triples and pressuring the Lady Kings up the court to take a 27-17 halftime advantage.
“Cheyenne wanted it,” Nizich said. “Of all the games in all the years that I have seen her, this weekend she showed how hard she hustled. People that don’t score as much, that do little things that don’t get recognized, Cheyenne is that player for this team.”
Ketchikan all-conference guard Jayley Taylor was unstoppable in the second half, hitting 20 of her game-high 28 points and pulling five rebounds.
Ava Tompkins, Ashley Young, Siosi Tupou and Ekis each had a bucket in the third period but were outscored 15-10 as Kayhi pulled within five points at 35-32.
The Kings tallied 17 points in the final quarter, while the Falcons again scored 10 but missed two free throws in the final minutes of the game.
“We made it difficult,” Nizich said. “Coming down to the last couple plays we were in that position when we shouldn’t have been.”
TMHS went 6-19 at the charity stripe; Kayhi shot 15-25.
TMHS: Ava Tompkins- 15 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 turnovers, 6-9 field goals, 3-9 free throws; Ashley Young- 8 pts, 4 rbs, 1 ast, 3-7 fg, 1-3 ft; Alondra Echiverri- 4 pts, 1 rb, 1 ast, 2-2 fg; Cheyenne Ekis- 8 pts, 6 rbs, 3 ast, 3-6 fgs, 2-5 three-pt; Siosi Tupou- 7 pts, 2 rbs, 2 ast, 3-5 fgs, 1-1 three-pts, 0-2 ft; Michaela Demmert- 3 pts, 1 rb, 1-2 fgs, 1-1 three-pt.
Kayhi: Jayley Taylor- 28 pts, 5 rbs, 2 ast, 3 steals, 8-11 fgs 12-15 ft; Courtney Kemble- 4 pts, 7 rbs, 2-2 fgs; Eliah Anderson 3 pts, 4 rbs, 1 ast, 1 st, 1-1 fgs, 1-2 ft; Felica Ruaro- 7 pts, 1 st, 3-3 fgs, 1-1 three-pt; Alexis Biggerstaff- 2pts, 2 rbs, 0-1 fgs, 2-5 ft; AJ Dela Cruz- 3 pts, 1-4 fgs, 1-2 three-pt.
“This says that the Southeast Conference is going to be a battle,” Nizich said. “We haven’t even taken a look at JDHS for conference play yet. I think Regionals is going to be very tough for everybody.”
TMHS 46, KAYHI 41
The Falcons girls opened an 8-3 lead behind Young and Tompkins and held on to an 8-6 first quarter lead.
Tompkins would tally 22 points on the night and Young 18; but no other Falcons player hit more than one basket in the game.
“It is always scary having two top scorers like that and still getting everybody else involved,” TMHS coach Nizich said. “But it worked out for us tonight.”
Young owned the second quarter, scoring all of the team’s six points, but the Lady Kings’ Alexis Biggerstaff tallied seven herself and Ketchikan took an 18-14 advantage into the half.
Tompkins tallied 10 points and Young four, and freshman Siniva Maka her only two game points in the third quarter to keep the Falcons within three at 31-28 with eight minutes to play.
After a Kayhi basket by Taylor to start the final quarter, Tompkins and Young slowly began to work the key.
Tompkins netted two free throws, a steal for a basket and Young scored on two put backs for a 36-35 lead with 5:20 remaining.
Brooke Simmons gave the lead back to Kayhi and Taylor widened it with a steal and a basket.
Young tallied again to close the gap to one at 39-38 and the Lady Kings’ Eliah Anderson put in another deuce for the 41-38 advantage with 1:14 remaining.
A big block by freshman Alondra Echiverri gained ball possession for the Falcons and the underclassman was rewarded for her defense with a rotation to the arch where she hit her only basket, a 3-pointer, for a 42-41 lead with 49 seconds remaining.
On Kayhi’s next possession Falcons’ junior Cheyenne Ekis stole a pass and was fouled on a break-a-way layup. Ekis would hit her only two points from the charity stripe for a 44-41 lead.
“I knew we needed to get the ball to win,” Ekis said. “It felt good. I was reading it up the court and that was my intention, to steal it and go and hopefully get the shot. Those were the biggest free throws of my career so far.”
After a Kayhi miss, Tompkins was fouled on the rebound with 15 seconds remaining and canned both shots for the final 46-41 margin.
“I just wanted to win,” Tompkins said. “That was all that was going through my mind.”
TMHS went 6-13 at the charity stripe; Kayhi 6-12.
Biggerstaff led the Lady Kings with 15 points, Eliah Anderson 11, Brooke Simmons five, Jayley Taylor four, Felicia Ruaro three, Alexis Crellin two and Courtney Kemble one.
“Overall I saw all of the players tonight hungry to get a win,” Nizich said. “That was exciting because they were not going to stop for anything short of that. For our team it gives us confidence going into the rest of the games this season, no matter what happens down the road.”