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Bears look to finish strong

JDHS girls visit Sitka in final regular-season series for teams

Posted: Friday, March 02, 2007

The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team's younger players may get a chance to show their stuff this weekend at Sitka.

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The top-ranked Crimson Bears (17-3, 6-0 Southeast) face the Wolves (4-15, 0-6) at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday. This series concludes the regular season for both teams.

"Truthfully, the most important thing is to get our younger players some experience and to be able to work them in so we have more depth on our bench," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "Win or lose this weekend, we're preparing for regions next week."

Three players expected to see some more playing time are Annette Highley, Kristen Pratt and Emily Johnson. The trio spent the majority of the season playing on the junior varsity.

Throughout the season, Knight carried an eight-player roster on the varsity. If Highley, Pratt and Johnson could provide some quality minutes off the bench, it could give the Crimson Bears added depth for the playoff run.

Knight also said she expects her starters to log minutes as well.

"We've been off a weekend so our starters need some action so I'm not holding them back," Knight said. "The need to play. They'll be mixed in with some of our less experienced varsity players."

JDHS girls basketball

Southeast Conference

Who: No. 1 JDHS (17-3, 6-0) vs. Sitka (4-15, 0-6).

When: 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday.

Where: Sitka High School.

What's at stake? Not much. JDHS already wrapped up a first-round bye for next weekend's Southeast Conference tournament.

JDHS defeated the Wolves (4-15, 0-6) handily on Jan. 5-6.

Sitka nearly pulled off an upset of Ketchikan last weekend, falling 52-51 on Feb. 23. Kelsey Johnson poured in 23 points and Michaela Coleman scored 12 in the narrow defeat. Ketchikan rebounded on Feb. 24 to win handily.

While this weekend concludes the regular season, it holds no bearing on the upcoming Southeast Region tournament.

The Crimson Bears wrapped up a first-round bye on Feb. 16 with a 57-43 victory over Ketchikan. The Kings will face the Wolves in Thursday's first-round game with the winner facing JDHS on Friday at Mount Edgecumbe High School.

"We're hoping to get some time on the Edgecumbe court and get a scrimmage against the Edgecumbe team to get a feel for the atmosphere," Knight said.

• Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at sports@juneauempire.com.



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