The defending girls’ basketball 4A state champion Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears face Wasilla today in the second round of the Gold Tournament at the 13th Annual Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout.
JDHS defeated Wasilla in last year’s state championship game, but the Warriors exacted a measure of revenge with a 48-38 home win over the Crimson Bears on Jan. 6. Wasilla is currently No. 1 in the latest Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Poll, while Juneau-Douglas is No. 2.
“We’re excited for it. We definitely want revenge, that’s for sure,” senior forward Sarah Tarver said. “We need to rebound better and make our lay-ups, just play a whole game. I know we can do it. We just need to pick it up.”
Wasilla advanced after a scare from West Valley on Thursday. The Warriors held on for a two-point, 50-48 win over the Wolfpack.
“I think Wasilla had a really, really tough game against West Valley (Thursday),” JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. “It was back and forth the entire time and the exact same thing happened last year and Wasilla ran out of gas on Day 3. We’re hoping that happens again, and we want to avenge our loss. We’re excited for the opportunity to play them again.”
The Bears and the Warriors match up at 6:15 p.m. in what could potentially be another preview of this year’s state championship game.
JDHS earned another crack at Wasilla on Thursday with a 64-24 drubbing of Kenai in the Gold Tournament’s opening round.
Tarver took advantage of a height mismatch to score a career high 19 points along with six rebounds and three steals en route to Player of the Game honors.
“My team passed me the ball and all I had to do was make lay-ups,” Tarver said. “They matched up with Maria (Weyhrauch) and Taylor (Larson) so I had a shorter person guarding me, so that helped.”
Juneau-Douglas scored 33 points off 31 turnovers and ran away early, leading 19-8 after the first quarter and 32-13 at the half.
“We still have some things to iron out so we walk away from each of these games, whether they’re blowouts or not, with things to work on,” Knight said. “I thought Kenai was a better team than we played (Wednesday in Nome) but they just didn’t look like it. We killed them with full-court pressure and we killed them in the half-court. Again, we’re getting a ton of fast breaks and scoring fast-break points.”
JDHS also got 18 points off its bench, led by nine from sophomore Esra Siddeek. Seniors Nani Ostrom and Karli Brakes added eight points each and Brakes had five assists and seven steals. Hannah Swofford led the team with seven rebounds.