Juneau-Douglas got off to a slow start but Thunder Mountain wilted under the Crimson Bears’ relentless pressure defense as JDHS rolled to a 76-21 Southeast Conference win Tuesday night over the visiting Falcons.
The Crimson Bears scored 64 points off 39 TMHS turnovers, blowing the game open with a 27-10 second-quarter barrage that turned an eight-point lead into a 41-16 cushion at the half.
Thunder Mountain worked to clog the interior with a zone defense in the early going and it worked as JDHS struggled to get good shots and failed to rebound, JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. The two teams went into the intermission with 15 boards apiece.
“We need our post players crashing the glass and getting boards,” she said. “This was good for us. We didn’t execute against the zone very well and our 3, 4 and 5 are not crashing, and they need to be. We want our shooters to be able to spot up ready to shoot and they were lining up with the defense instead of getting to open spots, so it was a good opportunity to work on some things.”
Making matters worse, JDHS shot 0-for-8 in the first half from the perimeter.
So JDHS went to what comes naturally in its defense-first mindset: pressure the ball, get steals, get lay-ups.
JDHS closed with a 6-1 spurt to lead 14-6 after one quarter of play, with senior forward Sarah Tarver breaking free for a lay-up to close the scoring in the first eight minutes.
And then the wheels fell off for the Falcons.
Juneau-Douglas scored the first 13 points of the second quarter behind the Crimson Bears’ signature pressure defense, and that was all she wrote.
A Maria Weyhrauch steal led to a free throw for senior Taylor Larson, who then scored a lay-up off a steal and another lay-up off a Marissa Brakes steal.
Weyhrauch made a couple of free throws, Hannah Swofford scored inside, Nani Ostrom scored in the lane after another Brakes steal, and then Ostrom tipped the ball away to Larson, who ran the floor for another lay-up and a 27-6 JDHS lead.
Fisher finally stopped the run with a banker at the 3:19-mark, and the Falcons cut into the deficit with a 9-2 spurt. Swofford scored for JDHS and then Fisher hit a baseline jumper.
Micheala Demmert sank a 3-pointer and Fisher knifed into the lane to make it 29-15, JDHS, but the Bears picked up the pace defensively again, getting three straight lay-ups, two coming off steals.
The Bears closed the half with six straight points, including two straight steals and lay-ups for Tarver, and then a lay-up for sophomore wing Esra Siddeek to close the half.
Senior point guard Karli Brakes buried the Bears’ first triple of the game to start the second half, and JDHS scored the first 10 points of the third quarter to extend its lead. Another 10-0 run propelled the Bears to a 63-21 advantage heading into the fourth, and JDHS emptied its bench.
TMHS coach Tanya Nizich said she was pleased with the way the Falcons executed their game plan on the defensive end, and it was what they gave up in transition that made the score so lopsided.
“I was very pleased with the things that I asked them to do,” she said. “The things that hurt us and separated the score so much was the fact that we turned the ball over with our passing. I can’t complain one bit about how we played defense when they got into their offensive sets.”
Tarver had the game highs in points and rebounds, scoring 18 and pulling down six for the Bears. She also had seven steals, tying Karli Brakes for game-high honors.
Weyhrauch scored 12 points, Larson 11, and Siddeek and Swofford had 10 each. Marissa Brakes had seven assists in 15 minutes of action.
Fisher led the Falcons with nine points and six boards.
The Crimson Bears (10-1, 3-0) are back on the court with a 6:30 p.m. home matchup Thursday against Lathrop.
The Falcons fell to 5-6, 0-1 on the year, and are at East Anchorage for a tournament Jan. 20-22.
The JV Bears also rolled big, winning 63-16 behind a game-high 14 points from Siddeek. T.J. Garcia scored 10 points, and Gabi Fenumiai and Monica Ashenfelter added nine each. Demmert and Shayla Reeves each scored four points for the Falcons.
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