After squandering fastbreak opportunities with missed layups early on, the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team found an offensive rhythm in the fourth quarter to upend Thunder Mountain 53-33 Friday night at JDHS.
The conference victory extended the Crimson Bears’ (10-15, 5-2 SEC) win streak to six games with one game remaining before the start of the Region V tournament.
Juneau-Douglas’ Sadie Tuckwood scored 16 points in the win, while Caitlin Pusich scored 15. Freshmen Kiana Potter and Jenae Pusich added seven points apiece.
Thunder Mountain’s Nina Fenumiai scored a game-high 20 points while also making numerous rebounds and blocks.
“I felt like I did good on rebounds and (if) Cassie’s in the game, I don’t really good really get rebounds because she’s so good at that,” Fenumiai said.
After going down by four points, the Crimson Bears closed the first half on an 8-0 run and led 23-18 at halftime.
Fenumiai made two free throws early in the third quarter to cut the Crimson Bears’ advantage to 25-22. After a JDHS miss, Fenumiai connected with Kira Frommherz, who gained inside position on her defender and went in for the open layup.
The game remained a one-point affair for several minutes as each team threw errant passes.
A Potter midrange jumper put JDHS back up by three points with two minutes left in the quarter. Tuckwood and Pusich would score on the ensuing plays and the Crimson Bears were up 31-26 at the end of third quarter.
It turned out the Crimson Bears were just warming up — the home team outscored their crosstown rivals 22-7 in the fourth quarter.
“It’s the second half that kills us,” Fenumiai said. “So we just have to keep our spirits high because, if not, we’ll fade real quick.”
JDHS and TMHS are locked into the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds respectively in the Region V tournament and will play each other Tuesday night.
The Crimson Bears played without senior forward Cassie Dzinich, who tore her ACL last weekend in Soldotna, for the second game in a row.
JDHS is now 2-0 without Dzinich, who along with Caitlin Pusich was the team’s go-to scorer. The Crimson Bears pummeled Kenai 63-32 in their first game without Dzinich, a performance that even surprised coach Lesslie Knight.
“Our kids played really, really well and spread the floor and got steal after steal after steal,” Knight said.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com.