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Chalk up another tourney title for the defending state champs.
Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Poll No. 2 Juneau-Douglas won its sixth straight tournament Sunday with a 46-30 win over No. 4 Colony in the Gold Tournament of the 13th Annual Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout in Anchorage.
The Crimson Bears held the Knights scoreless in the first quarter in building a 10-0 lead, which was 23-11 at the half, and JDHS cruised to the finish.
Senior forward Taylor Larson was named tournament MVP for her efforts. Seniors Sarah Tarver and Nani Ostrom joined her on the All-Tournament Team, and Karli Brakes won the tournament’s Havoc Award for getting the most steals.
“We played really well as a team and there wasn’t just one All-Star in the game,” said Larson, who scored 12 points along with five boards. “Every one contributed their piece in the win.”
The tournament featured the top eight teams in the intial WPI, released Feb. 1, and Larson said it was a good tournament that really tested JDHS, especially Friday’s knockdown-drag out battle with No. 1 WPI Wasilla.
“I think it was a good
opportunity for us to get some good competition,” she said. “Each game gave us something that we had to push and fight for.
“It wasn’t easy. The top players in the state were here and it really helped us play as a team and fight for what we wanted.”
JDHS was third in the initial WPI, and Dimond was second. Dimond lost to No. 4 Colony, but then upended Wasilla 50-41 in the third-place game Saturday.
The Knights earned their shot at the Shootout title after holding host Dimond scoreless in the fourth quarter and rallying for an unlikely 40-37 win Friday. The third-ranked Lynx squandered a 35-13 lead with 3:30 left in the third quarter.
JDHS has now won the Capital City Classic and Lady Lynx Prep Shootout two years in a row, and is the defending Southeast Conference and 4A state tournament champions.
Championships aside, JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said the Bears aren’t perfect and still have things to improve upon.
“I think Colony, Wasilla and Dimond are exactly where everybody should be in the rankings and we were able to play against some tough competition at this late point of the season,” she said. “It also gave us some things we still need to work on. Even though we won, I still walked away from the situation harping on us talking and communicating on defense, and blocking out. They outrebounded us and that can’t happen. In close games, rebounds make a difference.”
Juneau-Douglas improved to 18-1 on the year with four conference games to play. The Bears are at Ketchikan Feb. 18-19.
No. 2 Bears edge No. 1 Warriors
There may be a new No. 1 in town.
No. 2 Juneau-Douglas held off top-ranked Wasilla 48-45 in the Gold Tournament semifinals on Friday, avenging a Jan. 6 loss to the Warriors in another rematch of last year’s 4A state championship game, and a potential preview of this year’s title game.
Each team now has just one loss this season, with the season series knotted at 1-1.
JDHS led 41-35 heading into the fourth quarter only to see Wasilla close the gap with a 10-7 advantage over the final eight minutes, but the Bears held on after Alexis Imoe missed three game-tying 3-point attempts over the final 30 seconds.
Seniors Taylor Larson and Nani Ostrom led the way, combining for 29 of the Bears’ 48 points. Larson scored 15 points on 7-for-11 shooting from the field and pulled down nine rebounds. Ostrom scored 14 points on 5-for-9 shooting, including 4 of 4 free throws.
JDHS turned it over an uncharacteristic 21 times times and barely outscored Wasilla 17-16 in points off turnovers, a statistic the Bears usually dominate.
The teams were nearly dead even in most statistical categories, though Wasilla outscored Juneau-Douglas 9-0 from behind the arc while the Bears got 10 second-chance points to the Warriors’ two.
JDHS held 6-foot-5 senior senior Kelsey Cottle to just three points on 1-for-9 shooting, though she did get seven rebounds and blocked six shots.
“Wasilla’s tough. They’ve got outside shooters and the 6-5 post, so they have the inside-out game going for them,” Knight said. “Whenever you have a presence like that inside the paint, kids are leery of going inside, but our kids did a really good job of taking it inside whether she was in or not.” Sarah Tarver scored six points, pulled down six boards and got three steals before fouling out. Karli Brakes got four steals, and Hannah Swofford grabbed six boards to help the Bears’ casuse.
Alyssa Hutchins scored 14 points to lead Wasilla.