The Juneau-Douglas High School girls varsity basketball team is sitting pretty midway through their four-game road trip to the Anchorage area.
The Crimson Bears (12-4 overall, 0-2 Southeast Conference) paired an 81-26 shellacking of Service on Thursday night with Wednesday's 47-37 victory on Wasilla's home court.
JDHS quickly jumped out to a commanding lead against Service, surrendering single-digit scoring in each of the first two quarters for a second-straight game. The Bears led 47-10 by halftime, and coach Lesslie Knight would have emptied her bench if that wasn't her usual game plan.
"We did really good in our man-to-man press and kept talking and just communicating better with each other on defense," junior forward Brittany Fenumiai said. "We led the whole game and we didn't force anything. Everybody was just flowing tonight."
Fenumiai finished with 17 points as the game's high scorer and was followed by laundry list of teammates in double figures. Junior Kristen Dierck chipped in 15 points of her own, and Annette Highley, Hannah Swofford and Taylor Larsen joined their teammates in scoring more than 10 points apiece.
Junior point guard Mahlete Tingley sat much of the game after picking up three early fouls, but was impressed by the team effort.
"Kristen made a lot of good shots, and she hit a deep three-pointer before half that really helped our confidence," Tingley said. "Karli was great on defense, Brittany shot well and everyone did their part and did a good job."
Brakes led the defensive charge with three steals in the first half.
The Crimson Bears return to action tonight at West Anchorage and end their whirlwind tour at the defending state champions from Colony on Saturday night.
"Everybody got a lot of playing time and we're building our confidence back," Knight said. "After our beatings in Ketchikan, it's important to get our heads back up and realize we're still a good, talented team."
JDHS 47, Wasilla 37
The Crimson Bears surrendered just five points in the first quarter, six in the second and ran away late against the team that knocked them from the state tournament a year ago.
Fenumiai led the defensive onslaught, drawing a pair of charging fouls on the Warriors' all-state guard Jenna Johnson in the first half and forcing the Wasilla star to the bench. Johnson returned to score six of her 12 points in the third quarter as the Warriors outscored JDHS 20-7 to pull within 35-31 entering the fourth. Foul trouble and swarming defense held Johnson scoreless in the fourth, however, and the Bears outscored the hosts 12-6 to cruise to the win.
"Basketball's a very uptempo game and it's always back and forth," Fenumiai said. "I think it actually helps us if we don't play as well as we can and we can play better from there on out."
Fenumiai led the way for Juneau-Douglas with 15 points and was the only Bear in double figures. Dierck and Larson chipped in six points apiece, while sophomore Olivia Henderson added five.
The dominant defensive effort Wednesday night stemmed simply from executing what the team had only talked about in the past, according to Tingley.
"We always want to come out and harrass teams and cause turnovers. We don't talk about specifics," Tingley said. "We always talk about just playing hard, but we actually did it. We got them in foul trouble and did everything we could to get out on the break and score. We're looking forward to the rest of these games this week."
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