JDHS girls topple Sitka, take conference lead

Posted: Sunday, February 10, 2008

One rough shooting night couldn't deter the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team from securing a series sweep of Sitka on Saturday.

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Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

The Crimson Bears (11-7, 5-1 Southeast) slogged through 30.8 percent shooting from the field to beat the Wolves 43-37 on Saturday. On Friday, JDHS pounded Sitka 56-26. The Bears took the Southeast Conference lead with the wins.

Juneau-Douglas used everyone on its roster Saturday as each member of the team played at least eight minutes. With coach Lesslie Knight liberally substituting, however, JDHS struggled to execute its offense.

"There was no rhythm at all," Knight said. "I can say that's partly because we were running in so many kids that we never really found our rhythm."

The Crimson Bears failed to make a shot from the field in the first and fourth quarters. Just because the shots weren't falling, however, didn't mean JDHS didn't play aggressively.

The Bears drove hard to the hoop, especially in the second half, in an effort to get to the line. JDHS made 18 of 25 free throws in the win.

"We wanted a lot more driving to the basket," point guard Karli Brakes said. "Our free throws were going well in the first half so we wanted more of those."

JDHS connected on 10 of 17 free-throw attempts after halftime.

While the frequent substitution helped lead to 20 JDHS turnovers, many of which were self-inflicted, it did give one newcomer a chance to shine.

Freshman Olivia Henderson gave JDHS a spark off the bench Saturday in her varsity debut.

Henderson had a key three-point play in the third quarter as she drew a foul while making a layup and hit the ensuing free throw to put JDHS up 32-21. The freshman guard ended with seven points, made all five of her free throws and added a steal in eight minutes of work.

"Our coaches were just telling us to take a lot of shots and drive so I took opportunities to score," she said.

Up 18-15 at halftime, Juneau-Douglas asserted itself in the third quarter.

Brittany Fenumiai scored four of her game-high nine points in the third quarter as JDHS took a 36-27 lead. Fenumiai had a solid all-around game, adding five rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots on Saturday.

Sitka (8-10, 0-4) cut the lead to five in the fourth quarter but couldn't overcome Juneau's defense.

Despite the loss, Wolves coach Rich Krupa felt good about his young team's effort.

"They're improving each game," he said. "The big thing is we're doing the little things. We're setting big screens, being more aggressive. They just need to shoot the ball."

Sitka started Saturday's game strong but couldn't convert its opportunities. The Wolves grabbed five offensive rebounds in the first two minutes but couldn't translate them into points. Neither team made a shot from the floor as JDHS led 6-2.

The Wolves rallied from a nine-point deficit in the second quarter but Fenumiai's baseline jumper with 13 seconds left gave JDHS an 18-15 halftime lead.

Prior to Saturday's game, Juneau-Douglas honored its lone senior, Nicole Fenumiai, in the Bears' final home game of the year.

Fenumiai, a four-year varsity player and member of the 2005 state championship team, had two points and three rebounds in the win.

On Friday, JDHS wasted little time asserting itself in a 30-point win.

The Crimson Bears jumped to a 26-12 halftime lead and coasted to victory.

Nicole Fenumiai led all scorers with 11 points. She also had five boards in the win.

Annette Highley made all four of her shots and had a grand total of nine points while Mahlet Tingley had four points and five steals.

JDHS also make eight of nine free throws in the win.

Sitka struggled from the floor, making just five of 11 shots in the first half. The Wolves shot just 31.2 percent in the loss.

JDHS forced the Wolves into 24 turnovers and out-rebounded Sitka 32-21 in the win.

Juneau-Douglas heads north next for three important games. The Bears will play Palmer on Thursday, defending Class 4A champs Wasilla on Friday and Service on Saturday.

• Contact sports editor Tim Nichols at 523-2228 or sports@juneauempire.com.

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