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Despite a slow start, the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team improved its overall record to 8-1 with a 44-36 victory over Chugiak on Wednesday night at Chugiak High School.
Chugiak (3-4) jumped out to an early 10-2 lead after the first quarter behind the stellar play of senior Krystal Seward who scored the Mustangs' first 10 points.
"It was a pretty slow start," Juneau girls basketball coach Jim Hamey said. "Chugiak did a good job of coming out ready to play. Seward was hard to stop. She came down early in the game and popped two three-pointers -- bang, bang, right off the dribble."
The Mustangs extended their lead to 12-2 in the second quarter before the Crimson Bears (8-1 overall, 2-0 Region V-Class 4A) started to get back into the game.
A 3-pointer by Courtney Mason and two quick baskets by Amy Neussl brought the Bears within five points of the Mustangs late in the second quarter and Juneau only trailed 20-17 at the half.
"They spread out the floor and ran some good picks in the first half," Hamey said. "They had a slow and deliberate offense and we made poor decisions defensively as well as on the offensive side. We weren't ready and we didn't execute well. We were just standing there and reacting instead of forcing the play. "
The Crimson Bears came alive in the second half, holding the Mustangs to just five third-quarter points behind good defensive efforts from Mason and the Parr twins -- Kari and Suzanne.
"We got going eventually," Hamey said. "As poorly as we were playing, we still managed to keep it close. The guards got us going there after a fashion, but it took some time. Kari Parr did a really nice job defensively and played as hard as anyone."
Juneau took a 30-25 lead into the fourth quarter and simply pulled away from the Mustangs until the final buzzer.
Free throws were a factor in the game as Juneau limited Chugiak to just five trips to the foul line, making four, while Juneau hit 14 of 22 shots.
"We were at the line a whole lot more than Chugiak," Hamey said. "The free throws made a big difference in the game."
The Bears were led in scoring by Michael Kohan and Hilary Rehfeld with nine points each, while Neussl added eight. Mason finished the game with six and Kari Parr knocked in five points to round out Juneau's high scorers.
"Everybody did contribute. Courtney did some good things and Hilary had a spark in the second half," Hamey said. "Amy Neussl played some good defense and did a lot better job of moving her feet."
For Chugiak, it was all Seward as she scored 24 of the team's 36 points. Erica Putnam scored six, Tania Deisher chipped in four points for the Mustangs, who only had four players put points on the board.
The Bears continue their current road trip today with a game against Wasilla at 2 p.m. in the first of three games at the Thunderbird Classic basketball tournament at East Anchorage High School. The Bears will take on the Golden Bears of Bartlett 4 p.m. on Friday and will finish the tournament at 6 p.m. Saturday against East Anchorage. All games will be broadcast by KJNO, AM-630.
"Hopefully this will be a wake up call for the team," Hamey said. "We'll have to play a lot better against Wasilla if we want to win. I know it seems like I'm being a little hard on a team that's 8-1 but we've been playing inexperienced, young teams with poor records and now we're starting to get into the heavy hitters of our schedule."
Crimson Bears 44, Mustangs 36
Wednesday's girls boxscore from Chugiak High School
Juneau-Douglas (44) -- Kari Parr 1 3-8 5, Suzanne Parr 1 0-0 3, Michael Kohan 3 3-4 9, Courtney Mason 1 3-4 3, Kendri Cesar 1 0-0 2, Anna Capacci 0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 3 2-2 8, Kacie Murphy 1 0-0 2, Hilary Rehfeld 3 3-4 9, Danielle Larson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 12 14-22 44.
Chugiak (36) -- Jackie Knight 0 0-0 0, Laura Hedum 0 0-0 0, Jenn Wasson 0 0-0 0, Annie Whitters 0 0-0 0, Elyse Hartman 0 2-2 2, Krystal Seward 8 2-2 24, Tania Deisher 2 0-0 4, Courtney Waters 0 0-0 0, Ashley Adams 0 0-0 0, Erica Putnam 3 0-1 6. Totals: 13 4-5 36.
Juneau-Douglas 2 15 13 14 -- 44
Chugiak 10 10 5 11 -- 36
3-point goals -- Juneau-Douglas 2 (S. Parr 1, Mason 1), Chugiak 2 (Seward 2). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Juneau Douglas 12, Chugiak 19.