Juneau-Douglas girls basketball head coach Jim Hamey doesn't have too many good things to say about the recent play of his team.
Hamey is trying to find an answer to why a team he expected to be an offensive force is struggling to put up 50 points a game.
The weapons are there with Micheal Kohan (9 points a game, 5.8 rebounds), Courtney Mason (10 pts, 3.5 assists) and with the emergence of Hilary Rehfeld (19.8 pts, 7 reb) as an offensive threat, the Crimson Bears should have no trouble putting points on the scoreboard.
But the Bears' (3-1) last two games have Hamey and fans wondering which direction his team is heading. This weekend's double-header with the Service Cougars could quite possibly determine whether the Crimson Bears are pretenders or contenders.
"I've always had good defensive teams and I was a little excited about having a more offensive team than in the past," Hamey said.
Juneau lost to Gig Harbor (Wash.) 54-61 in the last game of the Capital City Classic on Dec. 30 and most recently defeated Dimond 47-39 in overtime on Jan. 4.
"I have high expectations for this team," coach Hamey said. "But we need to look at where we are and what we need to do to get where we want to go."
Although coach Hamey won't offer any names, he is not happy with the performance of some of his players.
"We have some players who have not stepped up," Hamey said. "We have some girls who can play but they didn't show it in the last game."
Co-captain point guard Mason shares coach Hamey's frustration with the teams offensive woes.
"I don't think we were ready to play. It didn't feel like a real game," Mason said, referring to the Dimond game being held on a Thursday night. "We're getting back into it and we have to do it together as a team."
In response to his teams lackluster performances, Hamey will make some changes to his starting lineup. Kohan, Mason and Rehfeld will continue to anchor the Bears, but Amy Neussl will be replaced by Danielle Larson at forward and Kendri Cesar will replace Kari Parr at guard.
The Larson move is not too surprising considering her veracious play under the basket against Dimond. But replacing Parr, a junior, with Cesar, a freshman, could raise some eyebrows.
"I'm sure this move will have some people up in arms, but I don't care," Hamey said.
Although Hamey will shuffle his starting lineup, he says the others will see plenty of playing time as he intends go 10 deep against Service.
The Service Cougars (2-1) have not played since Dec. 20 when they lost to Sitka and feature two very talented players.
Six-foot junior Marcie Alzheimer starts at forward and 6-1 senior Katie Gilbert, who has accepted a scholarship to play basketball at the University of Idaho, will stand tall in the middle and put Rehfeld to the test.
"Service has reasonable athletes and are real comparable to Dimond," Hamey said of Service's team. "They have an excellent coach in Phil Jordan whom I've know for a long time. He's very good."
Jordan should be quite familiar with Southeast basketball. He coached Mount Edgecumbe ending in the early '80's, and he led the Service boys to the Class 4A state title in 1991 and the Bartlett boys to the Class 4A state title in 1995.
In addition to his coaching accomplishments, he also came to Juneau last summer to help Juneau boy's coach George Houston with Houston's Hoop Camp.
"We're looking forward to playing in Juneau. They are always a very fundamental and very prepared team," Jordan said. "You have to do it right or pay the price when you play them."
Jordan also had good things to say about the Crimson Bears' coaching.
"I have a great amount for respect for coach Hamey," Jordan said. "We've taken the same route to success and his players always seem to understand the game of basketball. They do the right things to win and his record speaks for itself."
The Juneau girls were ranked eighth in the Class 4A in the first Alaska State Hoops Poll released today. East Anchorage achieved the state's No. 1 ranking by claiming all eight first-place votes. Southeast rivals Sitka and Ketchikan were ranked fifth and sixth respectively.
"I don't feel like we are in the top echelon in the state right now," Hamey said of his team. "We have to step up and play like we can."
Jeff Kasper can be reached at email@example.com
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