ANCHORAGE -- For more than 10 minutes, the Juneau-Douglas girls could do nothing right and it cost them the first-round game, 38-30, against Chugiak in the Class 4A Alaska State Basketball Championships Thursday at the Sullivan Arena.
Offensively, Juneau couldn't get anything going as it was held to seven, five and five points, respectively, in the first three quarters. Until two minutes were left in the game, the Bears had only 20 points on the scoreboard.
"I really have no idea why we played so poorly offensively," Juneau head coach Jim Hamey said. "Our decision making was really bad. Our fundamentals were bad. We shot poorly just a very disjointed effort. With all the games we played, I really don't have an answer."
"We just made a lot of mistakes," Hilary Rehfeld said. "I mean it wasn't like they had awesome defense or anything, we just didn't play up the pressure at all."
In the other girls 4A games, top-ranked East clobbered North Pole 83-38, Colony defeated Kenai 60-53 and Wasilla whipped Bartlett 61-36. East plays Colony at 3:45 p.m. and Wasilla faces Chugiak at 5:30 p.m. in the semifinals. Juneau tipped off against Bartlett at 9:45 a.m. today and North Pole played Kenai at 8 a.m. in the consolation games.
The Crimson Bears took an early 7-4 lead on a 3-pointer by Amy Neussl, but Chugiak ran the court well. Mustangs' sophomore Elyse Hartman lit up Juneau for six first-quarter points, mostly on fast-breaks, and Chugiak took a 8-7 lead after one period.
The Crimson Bears responded in the second quarter with a basket by Rehfeld and a 3-pointer by Kacie Murphy to give Juneau a 12-10 lead, but that's when the wheels fell off the Bears' bus. For the next 10 minutes and 20 seconds, the Bears scored no points. They had difficulty getting the ball inside to Rehfeld, shots missed badly and unforced errors were committed on a regular basis.
"We had a hard time reversing the ball and using our offense effectively," Hamey said. "We weren't moving the ball with any kind of cohesiveness or like a plan of attack. It was something different then we had done all year. It could have been any number of things. It wasn't a quarter or from time-to-time, the whole game was poorly done. And I'm responsible, I'm the one in charge. The girls did the best they could."
"Defensively, we've been pretty strong all year," Chugiak head coach Jon Schroeder said. "We've given up about 37 points a game. We knew we'd have to have a special effort to pull this one out and they did it. They really stepped defensively."
During the scoreless stretch, the Mustangs built a commanding 24-12 lead. However, the Crimson Bears made a defensive stance of their own, holding Chugiak scoreless for six minutes at the end of the third quarter through the beginning of the fourth as Juneau pulled to within 24-19 with over six minutes to go.
"They did a good job of slowing us down there for about eight minutes." Schroeder said. "We have been able to play with everyone in the state. About the only team that banked us hard was Colony. I knew we could beat Juneau, we just had to play a great game."
Then Chugiak center Erica Putnam took over and scored eight of her game-high 14 points, including six of seven free throws, in the final stretch. Putnam's teammate Jen Wassen stepped up with six points as the Mustangs fended off Juneau's final efforts to get back into the game.
Neussl hit two more 3-pointers in the final two minutes, but it was too little, too late.
"We gotta give credit to Chugiak, but that's not the team I've played with and made it to state," a dejected Neussl said. "I don't know if it was nerves or playing in a new place, but I know we can't blame it on that. We're better than that."
"We just weren't running our offense." Rehfeld said. "Everything was just really slow and we had so many mistakes. I mean it wasn't the crowd or the arena or anything, we just weren't ready to play."
The loss put Juneau in the consolation bracket against the Bartlett Golden Bears early this morning. The Crimson Bears defeated Bartlett 53-38 in January and today hoped to bounce back from Thursday's defeat.
"We've beaten Bartlett before," Hamey said. "Chugiak did OK, but it was nothing we haven't faced before. They did OK defensively. We just made poor decisions and didn't play to our capabilities. We're going to go home, get something to eat and get some rest and try to play our best tomorrow."
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MUSTANGS 38, CRIMSON BEARS 30
Thursday's girls Class 4A state tourney game
CHUGIAK (38) -- Courtney Waters 0-1 0-2 0, Amanda Sacks 1-2 0-0 2, Jackie Hight 0-0 0-0 0, Elyse Hartman 6-9 0-0 12, Laura Hedum 0-0 0-0 0, Jen Wasson 2-4 4-6 8, Tania Delsher 0-2 0-0 0, Heidi Bjornstad 0-2 0-0 0, Ashley Adams 1-2 0-0 2, Amber Starbard 0-1 0-0 0, Naomi Ducharme 0-0 0-0 0, Erica Putnam 4-7 6-7 14. Totals: 14-30 10-15 38.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (30) -- Kari Parr 0-2 0-2 0, Alida Bus 0-0 0-0 0, Suzanne Parr 0-0 0-2 0, Kendri Cesar 2-8 0-0 4, Anna Capacci 0-0 0-0 0, Heather Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 3-9 2-2 11, Kacie Murphy 2-5 1-3 6, Hilary Rehfeld 3-10 2-2 8, Danielle Larson 0-0 0-1 0, Letasha McKoy 0-2 1-2 1, Jessica Hahnlen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 10-36 6-14 30.
CHUGIAK 8 12 4 14 -- 38
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 7 5 5 13 -- 30
3-point goals -- Chugiak 0-2 (Waters 0-1, Bjornstad 0-1), Juneau-Douglas 4-8 (Neussl 3-4, Murphy 1-3, McKoy 0-1). Rebounds -- Chugiak 20 (Putnam 9), Juneau-Douglas 29 (Rehfeld 6, Cesar 5). Assists -- Chugiak 2 (Hartman 1, Ducharme 1), Juneau-Douglas 5 (K. Parr 2, Cesar 2, S. Parr 1). Turnovers -- Chugiak 11 (Putnam 3), Juneau-Douglas 13 (S. Parr 6, K. Parr 3). Blocked shots -- Chugiak 3 (Adams 3), Juneau-Douglas 0. Steals -- Chugiak 8 (Hartman 3, Putnam 3), Juneau-Douglas 7 (K. Parr 2, Cesar 2). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Chugiak 8, Juneau-Douglas 16.