High school basketball games last 32 minutes, but sometimes it only takes a few seconds to change the course of a game.
Friday night, it took less than a minute late in the fourth quarter for the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bear girls to turn a close game with defending state champion Palmer into a 35-25 victory at Juneau-Douglas High School.
On Saturday, the Moose used a brief run early in the second quarter to break open the rematch, building a 15-point lead before Juneau closed to within one point late in the 47-44 Palmer victory.
``We got the tempo in our favor,'' Palmer coach Lyle Busbey said. ``We got some quick shots, and they had their second team in and they couldn't handle our press. We made a nice little run. It was nice to bounce back after yesterday.''
``We went through a period where we just didn't play very well,'' Juneau coach Jim Hamey said. ``We didn't have any emotion and we just didn't execute very well. We've got a heck of a lot of work to do, offensively and defensively, if we want to be able to compete with the best teams.''
In Saturday's game, the teams played to a 10-10 tie at the end of the first quarter. But Tami Callison, who scored Palmer's last four points of the first quarter, scored 11 of her team's next 13 points as the Moose (4-1) jumped out to a 27-16 halftime lead. Callison, Palmer's point guard, exploited Juneau's second-string players, who opened the second quarter for the Crimson Bears (6-2).
Wrestling match: Palmer's Katie Williams, left, and Juneau's Liz Haas battle for the ball during Friday's game at the high school.
MICHAEL PENN / THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
``Yesterday we were kind of timid, but today we played like we had nothing to lose,'' said Callison, who finished with a game-high 24 points. ``We play Colony next week, so this is just building up for that.''
``Our people coming off the bench have to perform. Our young kids need to pick it up,'' Hamey said. ``Our problem is making decisions. We did not, at times, shoot the open shot. Our offense just has not been consistent and we've been up and down on turnovers. It's all over for us if we make a lot of turnovers.''
After falling behind by 15 points early in the third quarter, 31-16, Juneau started to chip its way back into the game. Anya Carlson-Van Dort, who didn't score in the first half, scored on a put-back. Then Tanya Nizich, who also didn't score in the first half, was fouled as she scored on a breakaway and made the free throw to close the margin to 10 points. A minute later Yvonne Harris, who led Juneau with 13 points, was fouled as she scored on an assist from Krystle Llanto and completed the three-point play to make it a seven-point margin, 31-24 Palmer.
It was 39-30 entering the fourth quarter, when Juneau switched to a full-court press and made its last big run. The Crimson Bears began to realize that Carlson-Van Dort, Juneau's 6-foot-2 center, had a mismatch down low since Palmer's 6-2 center Lisa Thomas had picked up her fourth foul late in the third quarter and went to the bench. The Crimson Bears found Carlson-Van Dort underneath for a couple of quick buckets, taking advantage of her four- to six-inch height advantage over the various Palmer defenders. Harris added a bucket after a steal by Llanto, and it was 39-36 with 4:50 left in the game.
Callison made a free throw and Kallie Pasquale added a jumper to push the lead back up to six, 42-36 with 4:29 left. But Carlson-Van Dort scored underneath and Nizich, who finished with 11 points, added a 3-pointer to close the margin to one, 42-41 with 3:46 to go. Callison found a wide-open lane to the basket underneath to make it 44-41 with 3:18 left.
Palmer's Kristina Lee missed the front ends of a pair of one-andone free throws, keeping Juneau within one 3-pointer of the lead, but Katie Williams hit a free throw with 34.5 seconds left and Callison made a pair with 16.8 seconds to go for a six-point margin, 47-41. Nizich hit a 3-pointer with 4.1 seconds left to make it 47-44, but Juneau couldn't steal the inbounds pass and time ran out on the Crimson Bears.
``We were kind of sweating it,'' Callison said. ``But we stayed calm. We have a pretty deep bench. Since we won state, teams come a lot harder at us. We play them (Juneau) once more at the East tournament (the East Anchorage Thunderbird Classic in late-January). It'll be a good game. It'll be fun.''
``They were hitting Anya, but we switched to a tandem (defense),'' Busbey said. ``We had someone on her front (Williams) and her back (Sara Bergeron). We were really missing Diana West (who sat on the bench both games with a sprained ankle). She shreds man-to-man defenses.''
Besides Callison's 24 points, Palmer got nine points from Williams and eight from Pasquale but no more than two from anybody else. Harris scored 13 and Nizich had 11 to lead Juneau, with Carlson-Van Dort adding eight points, three blocked shots and eight rebounds (no other Crimson Bears had more than three boards). Nizich had four assists, while Harris and Nizich made three steals each.
In Friday's game, Juneau came out flat and trailed 6-1 at the end of the first quarter, but found its rhythm in the second quarter to take a 19-12 lead at halftime. Palmer closed the margin to 24-23 Juneau at the end of the third quarter, where the score stayed until midway through the final quarter when Carlson-Van Dort hit a pair of free throws and Harris added another to make it 27-23 with 3:07 left.
With 1:55 left, Callison went to the line to shoot the front end of a one-and-one, but her shot rolled around the rim then fell off the side and Erin Mesdag grabbed the rebound and fed Harris for a breakaway lay-up. Palmer came back down the court, but Mesdag made a steal under the basket and fed it to Liz Haas who was fouled and made one of her free throws with 1:26 left. Mesdag grabbed a rebound after a Palmer miss and fed Nizich on another breakaway, and Nizich not only made her layup but Katie Williams was called for an intentional foul and Nizich made both free throws for a 34-23 Juneau lead with 1:09 left. Nizich then blocked Lee, and Harris was fouled at the other end, making one free throw for a 35-23 lead. Palmer didn't score in the fourth quarter until Williams made a layup when 18.4 seconds were left in the game, for the final 35-25 margin.
``I thought is was an -and-one (a basket and one foul shot). I was going straight for the basket when she got me from behind,'' Nizich said. ``That got us going right there.''
``All I was thinking was don't let her get to the basket,'' Williams said. ``I meant to foul her, but before the shot. They played hard. We've got another chance tomorrow (Saturday). We haven't played since Dec. 18.''
Juneau only made 22 percent of its shots (9-for-41 from the field) Friday, but the Crimson Bear defense carried the day. Palmer only scored in double figures for one quarter, the third with 11 points, and Thomas led the team with just seven points. Juneau got 11 points and four steals from Nizich, 10 points and three steals from Harris, nine points and eight rebounds from Carlson-Van Dort, six rebounds from Mesdag and three assists from Krystle Llanto.
``This was a pretty big win, over the defending state champions,'' Mesdag said, holding a box of Kleenex in one hand and a large ball of wadded-up used tissues in the other from a cold that kept her out of practice two days this week. ``Our defensive intensity was really strong. We have to go in there with no expectations and take what the game gives us.''
``Definitely we weren't getting things done on offense, but we played good defense,'' CarlsonVan Dort said, adding that she enjoyed the chance to bang around underneath the basket with Thomas. ``Erin's pass to Tanya was really big for us. It got us going.''
Busbey said he was happy his team was able to stay in the game, even though it struggled on offense Friday.
``At one point there late in the fourth quarter it was still a onepoint game,'' Busbey said. ``I told my team that one 15- to 20-second span made all the difference. We were just fortunate to be in the game, the way we were shooting.''
Juneau will host Sitka for a pair of games this Friday and Saturday, opening the Region V-Class 4A schedule for both teams.
MOOSE 47CRIMSON BEARS 44
Saturday night's game at Juneau-Douglas High School
Tami Callison 8 7-8 24, Allison Kendall 0 0-0 0, Kristina Lee 0 2-4 2, Kallie Pasquale 4 0-0 8, Katie Williams 4 1-2 9, Sara Bergeron 0 0-0 0, Tara Hillis 1 0-1 2, Tara Bynum 0 0-0 0, Lisa Thomas 1 0-1 2. Totals: 18 10-16 47.
Krystle Llanto 1 0-0 2, Michael Kohan 0 0-0 0, Courtney Mason 1 0-0 2, Tanya Nizich 4 1-1 11, Anna Capacci 0 0-0 0, Anya Carlson-Van Dort 4 0-0 8, Liz Haas 2 0-0 4, Suzanne Parr 0 0-0 0, Hilary Rehfield 1 0-0 2, Yvonne Harris 5 3-3 13, Kari Parr 0 0-1 0, Erin Mesdag 0 2-2 2, Katie Staton 0 0-0 0. 18 6-7 44.
PALMER10 17 12 8 - 47JUNEAU-DOUGLAS10 6 14 14 - 44
3-point goals - Palmer 1 (Callison 1), Juneau-Douglas 2 (Nizich 2).Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Palmer 14, Juneau-Douglas 18.
CRIMSON BEARS 35MOOSE 25
Friday night's game at Juneau-Douglas High School
Tami Callison 2 2-3 6, Allison Kendall 0 0-0 0, Kristina Lee 1 0-0 2, Kallie Pasquale 1 0-0 2, Katie Williams 3 0-1 6, Sara Bergeron 0 0-0 0, Tara Hillis 1 0-0 2, Tara Bynum 0 0-0 0, Lisa Thomas 3 1-4 7. Totals: 11 3-8 25.
Krystle Llanto 0 0-0 0, Michael Kohan 0 0-0 0, Courtney Mason 0 0-0 0, Tanya Nizich 3 4-4 11, Anna Capacci 0 0-0 0, Anya Carlson-Van Dort 3 3-6 9, Liz Haas 0 1-2 1, Suzanne Parr 0 0-0 0, Hilary Rehfield 0 0-0 0, Yvonne Harris 3 4-6 10, Kari Parr 0 0-0 0, Erin Mesdag 0 4-4 4, Katie Staton 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9 16-22 35.
PALMER 6 6 11 2 - 25JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 1 18 5 11 - 35
3-point goals - Palmer 0, Juneau-Douglas 1 (Nizich 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Palmer 21, Juneau-Douglas 13.