In developing a new squad, you have to first establish belief. The Thunder Mountain High School girls team did just that Friday against the visiting West Valley Wolfpack, defending their way to a confidence-building win, their first of the season.
Thunder Mountain persevered 37-28.
“This is huge for this team,” TMHS coach Chandler Christensen said. “Them getting to taste this first win is just going to propel them further.”
The girls held a 28-14 lead heading into the final period. Unaccustomed to being out front by double-digits, Thunder Mountain had to act decisively in the final frame, according to junior Cyrene Uddipa, TMHS’ eldest varsity player.
“Slowing down the offense, making sure we’re passing the ball around and we’re not in a hurry and keeping our confidence up,” were the keys to closing out the win, Uddipa said.
Thunder Mountain enjoyed good production from their three top offensive threats in Uddipa (8 points), Charlee Lewis (11) and Nina Fenumiai (9), but according to Christensen, their team defense brought home the W.
“Our defense won the day for us, hands down,” Christensen said. “I knew that this team had the defensive intensity that I wanted. They had it in them, and I finally got to see it for a full game.”
The Wolfpack were led in defeat by Ellen Silva with 10 and Gillian Winkleman with seven.
After going down 7-8 in the first, Thunder Mountain took the game over in the second and third periods, outscoring West Valley 21-6 to head into fourth with double their opponents point total (28-14).
Seven points from Lewis and five points from Nina Fenumiai in the second and third quarters kept the lead for the Falcons.
Coverage of Thunder Mountain’s Saturday-night game can be found online at juneauempire.com and in Tuesday’s paper. The girls next travel to Sitka for games on Jan. 13 and 14.
FALCONS 37, WOLFPACK 28
Thunder Mountain 7 11 10 9 —37
West Valley 8 2 4 14 —28
Thunder Mountain (37) — Lewis 11, N. Fenumiai 9, Uddipa 8, Jenkins-Hayes 3, Johnson 2, Hauck 2, T. Fenumiai 2
West Valley (28) — Silva 10, Winkleman 7, Dick 4, Pendergrass 3, Weckwerth 2, Reid 2
Free throws — Thunder Mountain 9-21, West Valley 6-15
Team fouls — Thunder Mountain 14, West Valley 19
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