A pack of quick, little Kings scorers scurried around the Crimson Bears to take a two-game lead in the Southeast Conference regular season standings. Sound familiar?
The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team (10-4 overall, 0-2 SEC) joined their male classmates in falling to Ketchikan (13-1 overall, 2-0 SEC) in both games of this season's road version of the regional rivalry.
The Crimson Bears started Saturday's 55-39 loss a little slow, falling behind 12-7 after the first quarter, and then fell into a full-on offensive slumber as they managed just four points in the second period and fell behind 25-11 at half-time.
"I still think 90 percent of the problem is us. It's not what they're doing," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "Turnovers were a factor again, and they weren't forcing them. We chose to drive up to our teammates and try to hand them the ball. We need to learn accountability and get our confidence to get to the basket."
Juneau-Douglas bounced back in the second half, outscoring the Lady Kings 16-15 in a wild third quarter behind point guard Karli Brakes. The JDHS sophomore hit a driving lay-up, a deep three-pointer and converted a free throw for all six of her points in the stanza.
"Karli became more of an offensive threat for us tonight. She's small and she got banged up pretty good (Friday) night going inside, but she got right back in there," Knight said. "I think it's going to be important that we keep her contributing offensively as well as defensively."
Unfortunately, the JDHS defense loosened again in the fourth as Ketchikan ran away with the win.
Sophomore forward Taylor Larson led the way for JDHS in the game with 14 points, most of which were scored off her whopping seven offensive rebounds. Larson finished with nine boards in the game.
Junior Brittany Fenumiai matched Larson's nine rebounds, and chipped in four points of her own. Junior Annette Highley added seven points.
Crystal Blair led Ketchikan with 16 points, while point guard Laci Effenberger added 14, including four three-pointers.
"I told them tonight and even after last night - they need to make decisions on how hard they're willing to work," Knight said. "Changes have to occur or their season may end early."
The girls once again follow the boys' tracks a week later, leaving on their own lengthy trip up north next week. The Bears play at Wasilla on Wednesday, at Service on Thursday, at West on Friday and at Colony on Saturday.
"It's always good to play against different players and teams, and Colony is one of top teams in the state," Knight said. "It'll give us an opportunity to straighten some things out."
JDHS 7 4 16 12 - 39
KayHi 12 13 15 15 - 55
JDHS - Johnson 4, Dierick 2, Fenumiai 4, Brakes 6, Highley 7, Larson 14, Swofford 2.
KayHi - Patton 2, Effenberger 14, Edwardson 12, Ortiz 1, Covault 1, Reno 9, Blair 16.
Ketchikan 64, JDHS 53
Four of Ketchikan's starting five scored nine points or more and the Crimson Bears were unsuccessful in exploiting their rivals' shorter bench.
"We obviously know that Ketchikan is a tough team and they have five very solid players. The big thing is we want to get into their bench," Knight said. "We didn't do it last night. We didn't get to the line enough and nobody was in foul trouble."
JDHS fell behind 15-12 after the first period and 32-22 at half-time, falling short of a comeback in an evenly-played second half.
Ketchikan was able to flip the Bears' gameplan, getting to the line 21 times on the night and converting 18 of those attempts. The Lady Kings also hit on 55 percent of their field goals.
"If one team gets 21 free throws and shoots 85 percent, that's the difference in the game," Knight said. "We're both fast teams that can drive and shoot, but we need to do a better job of communicating and rotating on defense."
Junior Emily Johnson led the Juneau-Douglas scoring effort with 12 points on the night.
"Emily had an outstanding game on offense and defense," Knight said. "She hit all five of her shots, both of her free throws and it was in the flow of the game. She was willing to take those shots and drives and played hard."
The Bears were hampered by 22 turnovers in the game, but Knight felt that the majority of the mistakes were self-inflicted.
"They did press us, but it's a simple break down the middle. We tried driving up the sides. It was just poor decision making," Knight said.
As expected, Ketchikan brought a full house to both games and Knight felt there was even extra pressure from her team's current SEC win streak.
"It's seven years that we've won in regionals. Ketchikan's been number two for so long that there's no pressure being number two. There's a lot being number one."
JDHS played both games without sophomore post Sarah Tarver, who was away on a family outing.
"Not having her in our lineup makes a big difference since she's such a big defensive player," Knight said. "She's got long arms and she can cover some serious ground."
JDHS 12 10 14 17 - 53
KayHi 15 17 15 17 - 64
JDHS - Johnson 12, Henderson 8, Dierick 2, Tingley 4, Fenumiai 8, Highley 7, Larson 8, Swofford 4.
KayHi - Patton 6, Effenberger 18, Edwardson 16, Reno 9, Blair 15.
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