Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball coach Jim Hamey has been coaching Crimson Bears boys or girls teams for nearly 35 years, but when he looks at other coaches around the state, one coach Hamey holds in high regard is Colony girls coach Don Witzel.
On Thursday, though, Hamey's Crimson Bears schooled Witzel's Knights as unranked Juneau claimed a 47-36 victory over No. 3 Colony in the first round of the East Anchorage T-Bird Classic.
"It's not an accident they've got so many people playing college basketball," Hamey said of Colony, which has won three Class 4A state titles since 1995. "He's a great instructor and it's always a great challenge to play one of his teams."
Juneau (8-2 overall) jumped out to an 11-4 lead behind a balanced attack that saw five players score in the first quarter. Five players also scored in the second period, giving Juneau a 21-15 lead at halftime. Juneau led 32-24 after the third quarter, then survived a brief run by the Knights before closing out the victory.
"A lot of people contributed and did some nice things for us," Hamey said of his Crimson Bears, who had eight of their nine players score in the game. "Everyone chipped in. Colony is always well-coached, but they had a lot of shots go in and out today. We did a nice job of boxing out for the rebounds."
Senior center Hilary Rehfeld scored 13 points to lead the Crimson Bears, even though Hamey said she was feeling a little sick and didn't play as many minutes as she normally would. Power forward Danielle Larson added nine points and point guard Kendri Cesar chipped in eight for Juneau.
"Danielle went to the basket hard and she made some nice plays," Hamey said. "This was only the second team to play us man-to-man in 10 games, so it was a little bit of an adventure. This was one of the first teams that pressed us and - even though it won't be like what we'll see tomorrow (tonight against two-time defending state champion East) - it was good to have a chance to see it when you haven't done much against a press outside of practice. I was happy with how we handled it."
Hamey singled out the play of the Parr twins, senior guards Kari and Suzanne, who helped keep Colony from having any players reach double-figure scoring. The Knights (4-1 overall) were led by nine points from Kelly Quinn and eight points from fCarly Thaggard.
Juneau plays the tournament host Thunderbirds (8-2) at 8 tonight in a game that could decide the championship of the round-robin tournament. East, which has yet to lose to an Alaska team and is ranked second in the state, beat Bartlett 91-43 in Thursday's other first-round girls game.
Two years ago, Juneau was an underdog against East in this same tournament but the Crimson Bears managed to upset the T-Birds 56-52. Hamey thought that was East's last loss in Alaska, but East lost a game to Chugiak later in the season.
"I've made no secret how we beat them," Hamey said. "You have to control the tempo not play a slowdown game, but don't let them run you into the ground. You can't take any breaks on defense against a team like East, so you need to take them when you're on offense."
Juneau is 2-0 on its four-game road trip, following a 58-38 victory over Dimond on Wednesday in a non-tourney game. The Crimson Bears will conclude the road trip with a 2 p.m. tournament game on Saturday against Bartlett. The Juneau games are being broadcast on KJNO, AM-630.
CRIMSON BEARS 47, KNIGHTS 36
Thursday's game from East Anchorage High School
COLONY (36) -- Dominique Colberg 1 2-2 4, Katie Williams 2 0-0 5, Kelly Quinn 3 3-3 9, McKenzy Menard 2 0-0 4, Carly Thaggard 3 2-2 8, Cindy Beckman 1 0-0 2, Siena Locke 0 0-0 0, Margaret Morris 0 0-0 0, Kristina Klapperich 1 2-4 4, Lindsey Heiserman 0 0-0 0, Jessica Dault 0 0-0 0. Totals: 13 9-11 36.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (47) -- Kari Parr 1 3-3 5, Suzanne Parr 1 2-2 4, Kendri Cesar 4 0-1 8, Anna Capacci 0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 2 0-0 4, Hilary Rehfeld 6 1-3 13, Danielle Larson 4 1-3 9, Letasha McKoy 1 0-0 2, Jessica Hahnlen 1 0-0 2. Totals: 20 7-12 47.
COLONY 4 11 9 12 -- 36
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 10 11 15 -- 47
3-point goals -- Colony 1 (Williams 1), Juneau-Douglas 0. Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Colony 13, Juneau-Douglas 9.