Fresh off winning the top regular season tournament in Alaska this year, the 2010 Lady Lynx Prep Shootout, the Juneau-Douglas girls' basketball team is returning to action tonight at home against a young - but talented - Colony squad.
The Bears beat host Dimond 44-38 in the title game of the Lynx tourney on Saturday.
"It was really cool because we got to see some of the top teams in the state," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said of the tournament. "I think Dimond is a fairly strong team. Wasilla will come on strong in the end and they have a 6-foot-4 post (player). The only team we didn't see in Anchorage was West (Anchorage), and I think they're going to be a dominant force inside."
"It's a very good tournament," she continued. "We're 14-2, so we're pretty happy, and it was good preparation to play Ketchikan. Dimond beat Ketchikan and we beat Dimond, so that should help us confidence-wise."
Knight said the tournament was a preliminary look at several teams favored to make it to the state tournament, held March 15-17 in Anchorage, and she was happy to have junior forwards Sarah Tarver and Taylor Larson on the all-tournament team, and senior wing Brittany Fenumiai as the overall MVP, making her the "queen of the all-tournament."
"In the early games, we were able to run a lot of players in. I think that helped us keep fresh up to day four," she said. "On the fourth day, (Dimond was) a strong, fast, athletic team, so we only went about eight or nine deep. We didn't get everybody in, which was a bummer, but we were fresh by the end and that's going to help us going into regions."
The Bears will host Colony (11-4) tonight at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 5 p.m.
The Knights are led in scoring by junior point guard Kaitlyn Klapperich, who puts up 9.9 points a game, closely followed by sophmore guard Alyssa Hutchins' 9.6. Six-foot freshman forward Mary Klapperich scores 8.4 points a game, pulls down 4.9 boards and gets two steals on average.
JDHS junior point guard Karli Brakes will look to match up with Kaitlyn Klapperich in what should be a battle. Brakes said the Bears will need to defend the perimeter and pound it in the post on offense.
"They're a pretty aggressive team, kind of young, and they've got some good players and some quick shooters," Brakes said. "They don't have a really strong post game, but they have quick shooters on the perimeter. Kate is their point guard and she is really aggressive, and Mary is a good scorer."
Five-foot-10 junior forward Tess Forstner leads the Knights with six boards a game while averaging three steals and nearly seven points. The Knights average 31.5 points a game and shoot 34 percent from the field.
Colony does have good size with two girls at 6-foot and 6-foot-1, and three other girls at 5-foot-10. JDHS will be without the 5-foot-10 Tarver, who is attending a soccer college showcase tournament with the Alaska Northstars in Phoenix this weekend.
"So we'll be down a post player with Tarver gone and that will give some other kids a chance to step up, like Maria Weyhrauch and Hannah Swofford," Knight said. "We'll also use Annette Highley down in the post some. It will look a little different because Tarver provides a lot of rebounds and she's so quick. She's been getting a ton of steals and she's a tough defender."