ANCHORAGE -- The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team's season ended Friday morning as the Bartlett Golden Bears handed the Crimson Bears a 58-47 loss in the consolation round of the Class 4A Alaska State Basketball Championships.
For 26 minutes, the Crimson Bears girls were the better team on the main court of Sullivan Arena. But the Golden Bears poured it on in the final six minutes, outscoring Juneau 20-10 in that stretch.
With the win, Bartlett advances to Saturday's fourth-place game against Kenai which defeated North Pole 47-31 in the other girls 4A consolation game today.
"The girls played real hard," Juneau assistant coach Jer Hamey said. "Their confidence suffered from last night. But we had a great year. We're still Southeast champions and we have to put everything in perspective and realize we had a great season. I'm proud of the things they accomplished."
"I'm pretty disappointed at the way we ended our season," Juneau senior guard Kari Parr said. "But I think we played hard. I think we should have stepped up more. We didn't have the confidence and once we missed a couple shots, it was all down hill from there."
The Crimson Bears came out with the vigor they lacked in their 38-30 defeat to the hands of Chugiak the night before. In that game, the Bears' offense sputtered, scoring only 20 points until the last two minutes of the game.
Juneau's 13 points in the first quarter against Bartlett were more than they scored in the entire first half on Thursday, and the Crimson Bears showed why they were ranked third in the state nearly the entire season. The Bears led 24-23 at halftime and 31-30 at the end of the third quarter.
But Bartlett's late charge, led by Candi Squartsoff who scored eight of her game-leading 20 points in the fourth quarter, was too much for Juneau to handle. Squartsoff nailed five treys in the game. Her teammate, Letricia Castillo, was 7-for-8 from the foul line in the fourth quarter as Juneau tried to foul to get back into the game.
"We didn't seem to have an answer for Squartsoff, she just absolutely tore it up," Juneau head coach Jim Hamey said. "She didn't have any points the first time we played. She's an explosive scorer and we knew that. She's a little hot and cold and she was hot today and we couldn't stop her."
"Candi is a scorer, but she won't shoot half the time," Bartlett head coach Karin Turner-Wheeler said. "She was very impressive. What she did today and what she hasn't done all season was to attack the basket. She's an excellent 3-point shooter and it's kind of hard for a 3-point shooter to go to the basket and that's something she did today."
The Bears had defeated Bartlett 54-38 in January at East Anchorage's T-Bird Classic, but according to Jim Hamey, the Golden Bears were a different team from the last time they played them.
"They were much improved. They played much more under control," Jim Hamey said. "When we played them before, they took shots we thought weren't fundamentally sound. And the shots they took today were much better."
Both teams also had to contend with the unenviable task of playing the late Thursday games, then having to get up to play at 9:45 a.m. on Friday. Juneau finished its loss to Chugiak at approximately 9:30 p.m. and Bartlett lost to Wasilla 61-36 in a game that ended after 11 p.m.
"It's really tough to come back and play an early morning game," Jer Hamey said.
"The girls played good, especially after the beating we took yesterday," Bartlett's Turner-Wheeler said. "Half of them couldn't sleep last night. They were wired. Some of them didn't go to bed until after 2 o'clock. They came in here dragging this morning."
Amy Neussl led the Bears in scoring with 13 points and pulled in five rebounds, while Hilary Rehfeld scored 10 points to go along with a team-leading seven rebounds. Danielle Larson scored seven points and Kacie Murphy nailed a pair of 3-pointers to finish with six points.
"I did expect, and girls expected, to do better. But we really can't complain," Jim Hamey said. "We're happy to be here. We had a good season and I was happy we improved as much as we did there during the season. We did everything we could. These girls made the commitment and did a very nice job representing the school."
"I'm kind of sad we didn't do what I thought we could do," Juneau sophomore forward Letasha McKoy said. "But this was my first year here and I have two years left. I'm still excited even though we lost."
Castillo finished with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Latoya Watson contributed nine points and three rebounds for the Golden Bears. It was also the first time in Jim Hamey's tenure as head coach that Bartlett has defeated the Crimson Bears in girls basketball.
"I thought we played very well," Turner-Wheeler said. "I told the girls today, because we've never beat Juneau before, so we have to accomplish two things today. We have to win today to beat Juneau for the first time and also advance to play for fourth place."
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
GOLDEN BEARS 58, CRIMSON BEARS 47
Friday's girls Class 4A state tourney game
BARTLETT (58) -- Ashley Scroggins 0-0 0-0 0, Brihtani Lassiter 2-2 3-3 7, Letricia Castillo 5-12 8-11 18, Meghan Hunsaker 0-1 0-0 0, Nikki Moss 1-5 2-2 4, Shanise Driver 0-8 0-2 0, Jasmine Sumpter 0-0 0-2 0, Candi Squartsoff 7-15 1-2 20, Rhiana Gay 0-0 0-0 0, Latoya Watson 3-4 3-4 9, Sade' Topps 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-47 17-26 58.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (47) -- Kari Parr 2-3 0-0 4, Alida Bus 0-0 0-0 0, Suzanne Parr 0-1 0-0 0, Kendri Cesar 3-7 0-0 6, Anna Capacci 0-1 0-0 0, Heather Dillon 0-0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 4-11 3-4 13, Kacie Murphy 2-7 0-0 6, Hilary Rehfeld 3-6 1-2 7, Letasha McKoy 0-0 1-2 1, Jessica Hahnlen 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 17-43 9-12 47.
BARTLETT 9 14 9 26 -- 58
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 13 11 9 14 -- 47
3-point goals -- Bartlett 5-14 (Squartsoff 5-11, Castillo 0-1, Driver 0-2), Juneau-Douglas 4-11 (Neussl 2-5, Murphy 2-5, S. Parr 0-1). Rebounds -- Bartlett 24 (Castillo 7, Squartsoff 7), Juneau-Douglas 39 (Rehfeld 7, Neussl 5, K. Parr 5). Assists -- Bartlett 5 (Squartsoff 3), Juneau-Douglas 10 (S. Parr 4, Cesar 3, Rehfeld 2). Turnovers -- Bartlett 8 (Castillo 3), Juneau-Douglas 22 (S. Parr 7, K. Parr 4). Blocked shots -- Bartlett 2 (Squartsoff 2), Juneau-Douglas 0. Steals -- Bartlett 15 (Squartsoff 4, Driver 3, Castillo 3, Moss 2, Watson 2), Juneau-Douglas 4 (K. Parr 2, Larson 2). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Bartlett 12, Juneau-Douglas 18.