It was something old, something new on offense for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team in its homecoming sweep of Ketchikan this weekend.
On Friday night, Crimson Bear senior stalwarts Danielle Larson and Amy Neussl combined for 40 points as Juneau beat Kayhi, 57-34. When the Kings held Neussl in check on Saturday, Crimson Bear supporting players Alida Bus (10 points), Kendri Cesar (7 points) and Letasha McKoy (7 points) stepped up to help give Juneau a 50-37 victory.
"With Amy not hitting, the positive is that other kids picked up the scoring," Juneau coach Lesslie Knight said after Saturday's game. "We still hit 50. It was nice to have more even scoring."
The two victories - in Juneau's first games against Southeast opponents this season - vaulted Juneau (9-5 overall, 2-0 region) into first place in Region V-Class 4A, while Ketchikan (10-5 overall, 1-3 region) dropped its third straight.
In both games, Juneau jumped out to a commanding lead at halftime, then slowed down but fended off rally efforts by Kayhi and its star senior, Anne Elliott.
On Saturday, the Crimson Bears nearly held the Kings without a field goal in the first quarter, but junior Aleesha Hayward scored in the final 10 seconds. Meanwhile, Cesar scored five points and Larson and McKoy chipped in four apiece to give Juneau a 16-3 lead after one.
Elliott's four points in the second quarter completed Ketchikan's scoring for the half, and Juneau scored nine to take a 25-7 lead at the break.
Kayhi began to chip away at the lead in the second half as Juneau's offense went cold. Elliott scored seven in both the third and fourth quarters as the Kings narrowed Juneau's lead to 12 points in the fourth. But the Crimson Bears' early lead was too much to overcome even if the team hit a cold streak.
Larson's 17 points led Juneau, with help from the offensive output of Bus, Cesar and McKoy. Elliott wound up with a game-high 18 point for Ketchikan.
"The first half, the girls looked really good," Knight said of her team. "But then we went five or six minutes without scoring. We just went flat."
But when Juneau's offense was running well, they were able to accomplish their goal of using more planned plays in the game.
"We really executed our plays a lot better, and that opened up our offense a lot more," Cesar said.
On Friday, Juneau used a 27-point second quarter to pull away from Ketchikan. Larson scored 20 points in the first half - most of them on inside layups after a teammate fed the ball in to her.
"They were very comfortable, very relaxed," Knight said after Friday's game. "They did an excellent job early on getting the ball inside, and Danielle finished well. ...
"We were running plays and getting wide open people because of our patience."
Both teams got off to a rocky start, with numerous turnovers on both sides in the first quarter. Ketchikan took a 6-5 lead - its last of the game - with just over two minutes left in the period as Juneau turned the ball over three straight times.
But the Crimson Bears came back to score the last six points in the first quarter, with Larson putting in a last-second rebound of her own missed shot to give Juneau an 11-6 lead.
After Juneau's big second quarter, Ketchikan never threatened. Larson ended up with 23 points, and Neussl scored 17 - including three 3-pointers. Elliott scored 17 points to lead the Kings.
The Crimson Bears knew what to expect from Elliott going into the weekend, and had hoped to keep her scoring below 10 points. While they did not succeed, Knight said she was pleased with some of the team's defensive play - particularly from Cesar.
"Kendri did an excellent job defensively," Knight said. "She's so valuable as a ball-handler in our offense, but her defense is just as important."
The weekend sweep answers one-half of Juneau's Region V questions. The Crimson Bears will answer the rest next weekend, as they host the Sitka Wolves for games on Friday and Saturday at the Juneau-Douglas High School main gymnasium.
"Sitka also beat (Ketchikan), so we have no clue what to expect," Cesar said. "We're not going to let up."
Bus said the Crimson Bears will keep working on their own game and let their opponents try to stop them.
"We're pretty focused and pretty confident that we're a good team this year," she said.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 57, KINGS 34
Friday's girls boxscore from Juneau-Douglas High School
KETCHIKAN (34) - Raquelle Pahang 1 2-2 4, Katrina Pattison 0 0-0 0, Aleesha Hayward 1 0-0 2, Anne Elliott 4 9-10 17, Terra Delong 1 0-0 2, Maria Swaim 0 0-0 0, Whitney Hofstedt 0 2-2 2, Katie Geldaker 1 2-4 4, Lindy Henrick 1 1-2 3. Totals: 9 16-20 34.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (57) - Alida Bus 3 0-0 6, Julie Heard 0 0-0 0, Kendri Cesar 1 0-0 2, Bianca Carpeneti 0 0-0 0, Heather Dillon 0 0-0 0, Mary Rehfeld 0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 7 0-0 17, Danielle Larson 9 5-8 23, Letasha McKoy 4 0-2 8, Ashley Larson 0 1-2 1. Totals: 24 6-12 57.
KETCHIKAN 6 9 8 11 - 34
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 27 12 7 - 57
3-point goals - Ketchikan 0, Juneau-Douglas 3 (Neussl 3). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Ketchikan 12, Juneau-Douglas 15.
CRIMSON BEARS 50, KINGS 37
Saturday's girls boxscore from Juneau-Douglas High School
KETCHIKAN (37) - Raquelle Pahang 0 0-0 0, Katrina Pattison 0 0-0 0, Aleesha Hayward 2 2-3 7, Anne Elliott 4 9-11 18, Terra Delong 3 0-2 6, Maria Swaim 1 1-2 3, Whitney Hofstedt 0 0-0 0, Katie Geldaker 0 0-0 0, Lindy Henrick 0 3-4 3. Totals: 10 15-22 37.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (50) - Alida Bus 2 6-8 10, Julie Heard 0 0-0 0, Kendri Cesar 3 0-0 7, Bianca Carpeneti 0 0-0 0, Heather Dillon 1 0-1 2, Mary Rehfeld 0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 3 0-0 7, Jordan Johnston 0 0-0 0, Kate Potter 0 0-0 0, Danielle Larson 6 5-6 17, Letasha McKoy 2 3-4 7, Sophia Smith 0 0-0 0. Totals: 17 14-18 50.
KETCHIKAN 3 7 9 21 - 37
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 16 9 11 14 - 50
3-point goals - Ketchikan 2 (Hayward, Elliott), Juneau-Douglas 2 (Cesar, Neussl). Fouled out - Pattison, Hofstedt. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Ketchikan 16, Juneau-Douglas 17.