A strong fourth-quarter effort by host East Anchorage couldn't derail the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team Saturday in the Lady T-Bird Classic consolation round.
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The Crimson Bears (9-2, 2-0 Southeast) carried a 39-20 lead into the final eight minutes and held on for a 48-37 victory.
"We came out and stayed focused and controlled the first half," JDHS coach Leslie Knight said. "Into the third quarter, we maintained. But in the fourth quarter we had some serious slippage in terms of blocking out. The last minute they got some very important offensive boards. We lost a little of our lead but we were able to take better care of the ball and not turn it over as much."
The Thunderbirds struggled to score against Juneau's defense throughout most of the game. JDHS held East to only nine points in the first half as it built a 15-point halftime lead.
Juneau extended its lead to 39-20 after three quarters. East chipped away in the fourth but the Crimson Bears persevered through the surge to win.
Talisa Rhea led JDHS with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Juneau showed its offensive diversity in Saturday's win as six different players scored.
Andrea Doerflinger poured in seven points, Hannah Buck and Veronica Lietz scored six points each, Corey Mulder had five while Kayla Harrison and Nicole Fenumiai chipped in three points each.
"Hopefully that helps give confidence to other people," Knight said of the balanced scoring. "Today I think Talisa did a great job of involving her teammates. She hit Hannah Buck twice and she finished both times. We're growing."
Fenumiai was named the game's MVP after helping limit East's star forward, Jazzy Gaddy, to nine points and 10 rebounds.
Saturday's win came off the heals of a gut-wrenching 63-56 defeat to Chugiak on Friday.
Juneau-Douglas blew a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter as the Mustangs outscored the Crimson Bears 32-14 in the final eight minutes.
"Every turnover we had, they converted," Knight said. "We like to hold a team to 32 points, just not in one quarter."
Friday's loss overshadowed a terrific performance from Rhea. The two-time state player of the year was named the game's MVP with her 30-point effort. Harrison added nine points in the win.
On Thursday, Lietz earned MVP honors in a 69-40 rout of South Anchorage. The senior had 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the win.
JDHS travels to Ketchikan next for two conference games on Jan. 19-20.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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