Boasting height, fleet feet and a deep bench, the Lathrop High School girls basketball squad overwhelmed Juneau-Douglas on the Crimson Bears' homecoming weekend.
The tenacious Malemutes forced turnovers, prevented shots and kept the Crimson Bears off their game for a 39-25 victory on Friday.
A regrouped Juneau squad brought more spirit into Saturday's rematch, but Lathrop's strong inside game and free-throw shooting down the stretch secured a 58-43 Malemute win and a sweep of the weekend series at JDHS.
"Lathrop is one of the toughest teams in the state," Juneau coach Lesslie Knight said after Saturday's game. "They have some fast, big, athletic girls."
Coming off a disastrous game Friday, the Crimson Bears (6-5 overall) looked to liven things up on Saturday night.
"Our motto this game was 'we're going to go crazy' - crazy on offense, crazy on defense," said senior Tasha McKoy, who scored 11 points and grabbed five rebounds Saturday.
Freshman Talisa Rhea provided much of that spark for Juneau early in the game, drawing a charge by Lathrop senior center Sade Powell two minutes into the game.
Rhea scored Juneau's first four points - back-to-back lay-ins on passes fed up the lane - to give Juneau its only lead of the series at 4-2 with five minutes to play in the first. But 10 seconds later, Lathrop junior center Alana Clooten completed a three-point play to give the Malemutes a lead they would not relinquish.
Junior Mary Rehfeld - the focus of heavy defensive pressure all weekend - nonetheless managed to hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter, the last of which narrowed Lathrop's lead to 23-17 with 30 seconds to play. McKoy was fouled at the buzzer and sank a free throw to make it 23-18 Lathrop at the half.
Lathrop's Sheena Brown came off the bench and drove through Juneau's defense for two easy lay-ins just before halftime - to the chagrin of Knight.
"Many of (Lathrop's) players penetrated and scored lay-ups," Knight said, adding that the Crimson Bears will be spending a lot of time in practice this week on sliding into the lane on defense to cut off those drives.
In the third quarter, senior Heather Dillon fed Rhea for a 3-pointer from the right corner to make it 25-23 Lathrop, but the Malemutes jumped ahead 36-29 by the end of the quarter and converted most of their free throws down the stretch.
Lathrop senior Kari Reabold scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter - all on free throws. Clooten finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Malemutes, who are ranked second in the state and improved to 12-1.
Rhea led Juneau with 16 points while Rehfeld scored nine, all on 3-pointers.
In Friday's game, Lathrop's defense forced Juneau turnovers on four of Juneau's first six possessions, and the Crimson Bears managed just one free throw in the opening quarter. The Crimson Bears struggled to get off shots, and those they made were not falling.
Reabold, meanwhile, scored seven points in the first as Lathrop jumped out to a 12-1 lead. It was 20-6 Malemutes at the half.
Rhea hit a 3-pointer to make it an eight-point game, 27-19, with 3:35 to go in the fourth quarter, but the Malemutes hit 10 of 12 free throws in the fourth to stay in front.
Knight said the Crimson Bears did not do enough ball fakes in Friday's game, but rather tried to force passes through a sea of Malemute defenders.
"You can't throw through 5-10, athletic girls," she said. "You have to ball-fake and go around them."
Reabold led Lathrop with 16 points Friday, while McKoy had 10 for Juneau.
Juneau senior Alida Bus said after Saturday's game that the series showed the Crimson Bears weaknesses they must work to improve.
"It told us we need to push ourselves that much harder in practice," Bus said. "We played a lot better tonight, but we still have a lot to work on."
Juneau opens the Region V season by hosting the Sitka Wolves this Friday and Saturday. Varsity games are at 8 p.m. each night in the JDHS main gym, with junior varsity games at 6:15 p.m. and C team games at 4:30 p.m.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.
MALEMUTES 58, CRIMSON BEARS 43
Saturday's girls boxscore from JDHS
LATHROP (58) - Kari Reabold 4 11-13 19, Erika Stevens 2 1-2 5, Kelly Donavan 0 0-0 0, Jocelyn Shumate 1 1-2 3, Alana Clooten 6 3-7 15, Sheena Brown 3 2-3 8, Sade Powell 3 2-3 8. Totals: 19 20-30 58.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (43) - Alida Bus 0 0-0 0, Nicole Lupro 0 0-0 0, Kendri Cesar 1 0-0 2, Jordan Johnston 0 2-4 2, Heather Dillon 1 0-0 3, Mary Rehfeld 3 0-0 9, Talisa Rhea 7 1-1 16, Jordan Harvey 0 0-0 0, Tasha McKoy 4 3-9 11. Totals: 16 6-14 43.
LATHROP 11 12 13 22 - 58
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 7 11 11 14 - 43
3-point goals - Lathrop 0, Juneau-Douglas 5 (Rehfeld 3, Dillon 1, Rhea 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Lathrop 14, Juneau-Douglas 21.
MALEMUTES 39, CRIMSON BEARS 25
Friday's girls boxscore from JDHS
LATHROP (39) - Kari Reabold 6 3-4 16, Erika Stevens 0 5-6 5, Kelly Donavan 0 2-2 2, Jocelyn Shumate 2 0-0 4, Alana Clooten 2 3-4 7, Sheena Brown 1 0-0 3, Sade Powell 1 0-2 2. Totals: 12 13-18 39.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (25) - Alida Bus 0 0-0 0, Nicole Lupro 1 0-0 2, Kendri Cesar 1 0-0 3, Jordan Johnston 0 0-0 0, Heather Dillon 1 0-0 2, Mary Rehfeld 2 0-0 5, Talisa Rhea 1 0-0 3, Jordan Harvey 0 0-0 0, Tasha McKoy 4 2-6 10. Totals: 10 2-6 25.
LATHROP 12 8 5 14 - 39
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 1 5 8 11 - 25
3-point goals - Lathrop 2 (Reabold 1, Brown 1), Juneau-Douglas 3 (Cesar 1, Rehfeld 1, Rhea 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Lathrop 11, Juneau-Douglas 17.