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Yakutat women win OT thriller

Posted: March 23, 2014 - 12:09am
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Yakutat's Lorena Williams, left, and Angoon's Carmaleeda Estrada battle for a rebound in the women's final at the Juneau Lions Club's 68th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Yakutat's Lorena Williams, left, and Angoon's Carmaleeda Estrada battle for a rebound in the women's final at the Juneau Lions Club's 68th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday.

Yakutat’s Justyne Wheeler and Rose Fraker hit four straight free throws to ice the Gold Medal Women’s championship against Angoon in an overtime thriller, 54-51.

Wheeler only scored four points in the game but they all came at the most opportune time, and Fraker hit the final two shots from beyond the arch late to force overtime.

“Our guards keeping their heads in the game was key,” Yakutat coach BJ Mallot said. “They got frustrated a few times. What a barn burner. We had some really good defense and steals. It was a team win. Everyone contributed.”

The Rose sisters came out of a minor shooting slump in the second half.

Trailing 42-36 with just 48 seconds remaining in the second half, Wheeler hit the first of two free throws as the Angoon faithful yelled as loud as they could to disrupt her concentration.

Wheeler netted the second shot as well.

Angoon’s Roxann Braley hit a set of free throws with 42 seconds remaining as the Yakutat fans returned the cheering favor.

Rose Fraker then buried a deep 3-pointer to bring Yakutat to within 44-41 with 25.4 seconds to play.

A steal by Yakutat resulted in a miss by Fraker and a rebound by Angoon’s Tasha McKoy. McKoy was fouled and missed both shots and Wheeler grabbed the rebound and called timeout.

Fraker came down court, dribbled over a screen and buried a long-range bomb that knotted the score at 44-44 with 6.2 seconds remaining.

Angoon’s Tasha McKoy drove to the basket and attempted a shot with one second remaining but Yakutat’s Wheeler blocked the effort and passed the ball to Fraker.

“I was thinking stay calm, stay collected, I want to win,” Rose Fraker said. “I know that I can do it, I have the experience. The toughest part about Angoon was Roxann Braley. Braley showed up tonight. They played really good team ball, they passed the ball around a lot.”

Yakutat got the jump in the extra four minutes and Nadine Fraker took a rebound pass from Wheeler and buried another deep bomb for a 47-44 advantage.

Lorena Williams had the toughest challenge, helping on defense and trying to contain the inside.

“When we played them the first time I kind of got a feel for it,” Williams said. “I just stayed in front of McKoy and knew my team had my back.”

Angoon’s Braley answered with her own deep swish to tie the score again.

Nadine Fraker, voted the Women’s Bracket Most Valuable Player, hit another triple to give Yakutat a 50-47 lead with 1:50 remaining.

That shot was answered by Angoon’s Carmaleeda Estrada to knot the score again.

With the crowd chanting “defense,” Angoon tied up the Yakutat possession and was rewarded with the basketball.

Angoon would miss twice inside but Yakutat couldn’t keep the ball.

Estrada was fouled and hit one of two free throws for a 51-50 advantage with 10.4 seconds left.

Rose Fraker then drove the baseline and was fouled on a shot, sinking both free throws for a 52-51 advantage.

McKoy missed a shot inside for Angoon and Shgen George missed the follow. Wheeler grabbed the rebound for Yakutat, was fouled, and iced the game with two free throws.

Braley’s last second shot missed the mark for the final score, 54-51, and sending the 68th annual Lion’s Club Gold Medal Tournament Women’s trophy back to Yakutat.

“It was a tough one, they played a great game though,” Braley said. “Their three-point shooters are the hardest part to handle.”

The game was tied at halftime 22-22 as both teams felt the offenses out.

Nadine Fraker hit three 3-point shots in the first half and six for the game, scoring a game-high 22 points.

Amanda Isrealsen’s deep shot in the first half also forced Angoon to come out to the perimeter and created driving opportunities for Yakutat.

That strategy worked for Angoon as well, as Braley hit from deep to open up the middle for McKoy.

Neither team could post a lead bigger than four points in the first half.

Angoon led 10-6 at the 14:30 mark and 16-12 at 7:53.

Nadine Fraker gave Yakutat the three-point lead with 4:59 remaining in the first half on her third deep triple.

Braley again tied the score for Angoon and Estrada gave them the 22-20 lead seconds later.

Rose Fraker hit a little runner to tie the game at 22-22.

Angoon’s Tasha McKoy had a look at the buzzer but Rose Fraker blocked the shot and put McKoy on the deck again.

“Their outside three-point shot and getting around their screens was key for the game,” Angoon coach Aaron Campbell said. “They set great screens and their shooters were on fire today. This is how it is with basketball. Today was a day when their outside shooters were on fire. We could taste it. But when you are playing a great team you cannot let your guard down for one minute. We are proud of our girls, they did a great job and we will be back next year to win it.”

Yakutat was led by Nadine Fraker’s 22 points, Rose Fraker added 11, Amanda Isrealsen 7, Lorena Williams 4, Justyne Wheeler 4, and Shanel Vale 2.

Yakutat hit 8-11 at the charity stripe; Angoon 13-22.

Roxann Braley scored 19 for Angoon, Tasha McKoy 13, Estrada 10, Shgen George 4, Amber Jamestown 3 and Kat Howard 2.

Angoon won 2 and lost 2 at the tournament. Yakutat won both their games.

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