Bears clamp down on Lady Kings

Juneau-Douglas' first-half defensive pressure leads to 10-point victory

Posted: Sunday, February 22, 2009

Juneau-Douglas High School used a stifling first-half defense to beat Ketchikan on Saturday and earn a 2-0 sweep at home. JDHS defeated Ketchikan by a final score of 60-50.

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Marissa Brakes / For The Juneau Empire
Marissa Brakes / For The Juneau Empire

JDHS held Ketchikan's lead scorer Laci Effenberger to three points in the first half. Effenberger scored 24 point in Friday's game, which was much closer, but the Bears put the defensive clamps down Saturday.

JDHS had 11 steals for the game and held Ketchikan to 30 percent shooting during the first half. Sarah Tarver, Brittani Fenumiai and Kari Brakes had three steals apiece, which led to fast break opportunities. JDHS continued to own the boards in the first half, out-rebounding Ketchikan 20-13. During Friday's game, JDHS out-reboudned Ketchikan 39-25.

Bears head coach Lesslie Knight said her team watched the tape of Ketchikan's lead scorers from Friday's game when two opposing players scored 36 of Ketchikan's 49 points. The Bears focused on shutting down Laci Effenberger, and the strategy worked.

"We did what we needed to contain Edwardson and Effenberger," Knight said. "All the kids came in and watched tape on how Effenberger dribbles and shoots."

On the offensive side, Juneau-Douglas continued to get reliable production from Fenumiai and Taylor Larson, who led the Bears with 16 points each. Fenumiai and Larson combined for a potent inside-outside offensive attack with most of Larson's points coming when she posted up. Larson was very efficient from the post and connected on seven out of eight shots for the night. Fenumiai was two for three from behind the three-point arc and scored the rest of her baskets off slashing drives to the hoop.

At half-time, Juneau-Douglas took a comfortable 14-point lead into the locker room, and Ketchikan was not able to get back into the game. Although Fenumiai and Taylor did most of the scoring, the real story of the game was the stifling defense that the Bears applied. Every JDHS player showed hustle on the floor.

Ketchikan mounted a fourth-quarter comeback and outscored the Bears 21-18, but the Bears half-time lead proved too much to come back from. Effenberger had 12 points in the second half, and Crystal Blair had 17 points for Ketchikan. Ketchikan's other shooting guard, Alexis Edwardson, who scored 12 points on Friday, was held to seven points Saturday.

The night started out with a gesture of friendship from JDHS to Ketchikan. The tradition is for senior players to get flowers from their parents during the last home game of the season. With no seniors this year, JDHS honored the tradition by giving flowers to two Ketchikan seniors. However, once the whistle blew, the gesture of good will did not extend to the court. The Bears' defense allowed few uncontested shots and made Ketchikan work for every basket.

Friday, Feb. 20

JDHS 55, KETCHIKAN 49

Juneau-Douglas High School used a deep bench and combined team effort to grind out a 55-49 win on their home court over Ketchikan Friday. It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, but it was a win at home for JDHS against their rival.

The first quarter was frantic as both teams charged up and down the court and JDHS players dove for loose balls. Ketchikan's star point guard Laci Effenberger was impressive as she used her cross-over dribble to effortlessly glide past Juneau defenders and score lay-ups. When she wasn't scoring she was stealing the ball or dishing off to open teammates. Effenberger led all scorers with 24 points on the game. The second leading scorer for Ketchikan was Alexis Edwardson who scored 12 points. Those two players combined for 36 points of Ketchikan's offensive attack.

Both teams played aggressive defense in the first half. Ketchikan turned the ball over nine times and Juneau eight times. Most of those turnovers were a result of aggressive defense by both teams.

At half-time the score was 25-22 and Ketchikan had a slim 3 point lead. The difference in the first half was that Ketchikan shot 47 percent and the Bears shot a dismal 28 percent. Despite the poor shooting, Juneau out-rebounded Ketchikan by a count of 21 to 16.

In the third quarter JDHS tied the game up several times, but Ketchikan stubbornly held on to the lead. It wasn't until the final seconds of the third quarter that the Bears were able to claw out a one point lead off a free throw by junior guard Mahlet Tingley. She led the way in free shows for JDHS, shooting 75 percent on 9 of 12 free throw attempts.

Juneau had a balanced offensive attack. Juneau's sophomore post Taylor Larson scored 12 points, Brittany Fenumiai scored 11 points, and Annette Highley scored 8 points. A total of nine players scored for Juneau. While there are no stats kept for hustle, Juneau players dove for loose balls all night.

Juneau's game strategy was to attack the basket and which resulted in numerous free throw attempts. Juneau had 27 free throw attempts and made 14 of them. In contrast, Ketchikan only had 2 free throw attempts the entire game.

Ketchikan Head coach Mark Woodward said that free throws made the difference in the game. "They had 14 points from the line and we had one," Woodward said.

Ketchikan relied more heavily on three pointers with 19 attempts compared to only two attempts by Juneau. JDHS survived a three-point barrage by Laci Effenberger who connected on four out of six three-pointers in the second half.

Woodward said his players enjoyed the rowdy atmosphere in the JDHS gym and complimented the JDHS team. "Juneau came out there and came after us tonight. They seemed like they had a little edge on us."

When asked if Juneau's deep bench made a difference in the game, Woodward replied, "Juneau has the deepest bench in the state hands down. Coach Knight has them all running her system."

Coach Knight said that JDHS wanted to get Ketchikan in foul trouble and take advantage of their shallow bench. Knight said her team had out-rebounded Ketchikan and shot better in the second half. JDHS was shooting average .70 percent in the second half, and they out-rebounded Ketchikan 39-25 on the game.

Friday's game was just a preview of more action to come for these teams as they will battle again for the region championship March 4-7. Ketchikan will have the home court advantage and swept Juneau at home earlier this year. It's a hard test for a young and talented JDHS team. Junior forward Emily Johnson summarized Friday's victory, "It was a big win but region's is the next step and we still have to win that."



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