A third-quarter run and clutch free-throw shooting led to a Capital City Classic championship for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team Friday.
The Crimson Bears' Talisa Rhea hit 4-of-5 free throws down the stretch as JDHS (3-0) earned a 47-40 win over Carson City, Nev.
Following a tightly contested first half, Juneau-Douglas broke the game open midway through the third quarter with a 9-0 run.
With the Bears trailing 22-21, JDHS senior Sophia Smith scored on consecutive occasions to give her team the lead.
Hannah Buck added a lay-up and a defensive rebound, Rhea dished out two assists while Jordan Harvey and Lexi Garvey scored during the 9-0 run, giving JDHS a 31-22 lead.
The run ignited the crowd and ultimately propelled the Bears to victory.
"We like to pick each other up," said Smith, who had seven points and three assists. "When one person scores, we all get excited. Like when Jordan scores off my assist, I get happy. I love it. We share the ball, we all make different shots and I think it's good team ball."
Smith's defense proved a catalyst for Juneau's run.
The senior did a solid job guarding Carson City's quick point guard Brandi Vega to help spark Juneau's transition game.
"One of the things we've known about Sophia since she was a freshman was that she's capable of playing great defense," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "She did an amazing job on defense today and that really contained their point guard, which prevented them from setting anything up."
Juneau-Douglas' ability to turn tough defense into points broke open the game following a difficult first half.
Carson City, buoyed defensively by 6-foot-2 center Nicole Scott, made scoring difficult in the first half for JDHS.
Juneau-Douglas held a 12-6 lead after eight minutes, but managed just five points in the second quarter as Scott bottled up the paint. Carson kept JDHS scoreless for the last 2:20 of the first half and cut Juneau's lead to 17-15 at halftime.
"There was a big intimidation factor with their post," Knight said. "She checked a few shots and we didn't finish inside. We were rushing our shots."
JDHS shot only 27.8 percent from the floor in the first half, but the Bears did show aggressiveness inside.
Scott found herself in foul trouble early, getting three fouls in the first half. The senior then picked up her fourth foul 43 seconds into the second half.
With Scott gone, the lane started to open for JDHS.
"We had to get their best player fouled out as soon as possible so we started driving and really penetrating and that caused her to foul," Smith said. "I think we did really well as a team.
Rhea, named Tournament MVP, led the Bears with 14 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Harvey contributed nine points, Garvey and Nicole Fenumiai scored seven points each and freshman Kayla Harrison added one point in the win.
Scott led Carson City with 12 points.
JDHS next plays at Sitka on Jan. 6-7.
Kilsyth, Aus. 56, Wasilla 52
Club Kilsyth finished the Capital City Classic on a high note by defeating Wasilla.
Kaysie Nobel scored 12 points to pace the Cobras (1-2).
Alysha Middlin had eight points, Nicolette Krusemann scored seven points, while Missy Batten, Laura Gebbing and Courtney Healy posted six points each in the win.
Paige Thorneycroft, Caitlin Streader, Lauren Thompson and Caitlin Mulhall also scored for Club Kilsyth.
For the Warriors, Jenna Johnson led the team with 13 points while Anne Wesser and Hillarie Putnam scored 10 points each in the loss.
Samantha Parsons, Ashley Semler and Shelby Fulton also scored for Wasilla.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com