In a battle of Alaska's top-ranked girls basketball teams, host Dimond defeated Juneau-Douglas 59-43 on Wednesday.
The Lynx, ranked second in the latest Alaska Prep Sportswriters poll, led after every period to end the Crimson Bears' seven-game winning streak. JDHS (17-3) came into Wednesday's contest ranked first in the state sportswriters poll.
"We failed to block out," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "They had many second attempts and putbacks. From the bench it was very frustrating because what we talked about before the game was that the most important thing was to find them and block them out. We failed to do that."
Leading the way for Dimond (16-3) was the play of sister forwards Savannah and Shaina Afoa. The 6-foot-2 siblings combined for 25 points and 23 rebounds. Savannah Afoa scored eight points while Shaina had 17 points.
For the game, Dimond out-rebounded Juneau-Douglas 44-33.
"I told our posts it was up to them to help control this game and keep those big girls off the boards," Knight said. "We failed to do that."
Talisa Rhea led JDHS with 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Lexi Garvey had 12 points and was 2-for-2 from beyond the 3-point arc. Nicole Fenumiai contributed seven points and six rebounds in the loss.
Offensively, however, Knight said the team struggled to find a rhythm against Dimond's defense. JDHS shot just 28.6 percent from the floor.
"They play a sagging man-to-man which doesn't help us for screening," Knight said. "We rely pretty heavily on our screens to make things happen. I told our girls we have to shoot from the outside. ... We recognized the defense but we were unwilling to shoot. When we did shoot, we didn't get many second shots."
Dimond jumped to a 16-13 lead after the first quarter and extended it to 27-20 at halftime.
The Lynx then put the game away in the second half, outscoring the defending state champs 32-23 in the final 16 minutes of play.
Despite the loss, JDHS got the top-flight competition Knight wanted when she added the game midway through the season.
"It's absolutely great for us," Knight said. "It's always humbling when you get beat and it keeps you in check. I'm OK with the loss."
JDHS travels to Fairbanks for its final two regular season games. The Crimson Bears face North Pole on Friday and Lathrop on Saturday.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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