High school basketball games aren't normally played on Sunday.
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team made sure the rare weekend game proved a very special occasion by knocking off Colony 44-42 in double overtime. The game made up Friday's canceled contest.
"It was refreshing to see how wise and what a good job the young ones - the freshmen and sophomores - did," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "I'm glad we've got a young team that's fearless and willing to take on the big guys."
While freshman Karli Brakes helped put JDHS (8-5) over the hump in the second OT, senior Nicole Fenumiai exhibited poise and leadership by winning the game at the line.
Fenumiai ripped a defensive rebound and was fouled with 4.4 seconds left in the game. The senior calmly drained both free throws to ice a big win over the second-ranked team in the Alaska Sportswriters Prep Basketball Poll.
"I shoot free throws all the time and it's probably one of my better attributes to the team," Fenumiai said. "Knowing that I had confidence in myself and I thought my team had confidence in me helped."
While Fenumiai sealed the win, Brakes epitomized the kind of spark and energy needed to upend the Knights.
Brakes' second OT didn't start perfectly, though, as she missed two free throws. Colony (7-2) then scored four straight points to take a 41-37 lead.
The freshman shrugged off the misfortune with a jump shot off Annette Highley's assist. The 5-foot-3 Brakes then tied the game with a daring baseline drive over Colony's much taller players.
"My team supported me a lot," she said. "They told me to let it go so I just kept going for the team."
Brakes finished with 10 points and two steals in the win.
"What a spark plug," Knight said of Brakes. "She helps us defensively and offensively. She gets a ton of steals. She's just feisty. She never runs out of energy."
While both teams struggled to score throughout the contest, Juneau-Douglas was able to match Colony's intensity. The Crimson Bears fought through Colony's press and created some turnovers of their own with full-court pressure.
Juneau committed 28 turnovers to Colony's 27, but weren't overwhelmed by the Knights' pestering trap.
"We came out scared (Saturday) and we proved not just to Colony but everyone here that we're not afraid to play and we can go harder," Fenumiai said. "Go harder or don't go at all."
Neither team led by more than five points during a back-and forth-regulation.
JDHS had a chance to win in regulation. The bears held the ball the final 1:30 of the fourth quarter but couldn't get off a winning shot.
In the first overtime, each team managed just two points as JDHS again couldn't get off a quality shot to end the game.
Those missed opportunities proved moot, however, as the Bears got it done in the second overtime.
JDHS also got it done from the free throw line, making 20 of 30 shots opposed to 11 of 17 for Colony.
"We got to the free throw line in both halves," Knight said, "and spent a lot of time on the free throw line in the second half and it made a difference in the game."
JDHS will host Ketchikan on Feb. 1-2.
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