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ANCHORAGE - Thursday's Class 4A girls basketball state quarterfinal game at Service High School certainly wasn't the prettiest game ever played, but Juneau-Douglas High School will gladly take the result.
The Crimson Bears received big shots from Kayla Harrison and Mahlet Tingley to overcome West Valley 50-41 in the quarterfinals.
"It was nice to pull out a win when we did not play well," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "We were standing on offense and defensively we didn't block out. Those are the areas that we control and can fix."
West Valley, playing in its first state tournament since 1995, trailed by 12 in the third quarter but rallied back to nearly take over the game.
Holding a narrow 36-35 lead, as Kayla Harrison hit a clutch 3-point to quell West Valley's momentum.
"That 3 was huge," Juneau's Talisa Rhea said. "Right when they were making that run she hit that 3 and that gave us more confidence, relaxed everyone, calmed their crowd down."
West Valley (19-6) cut the lead to one again, but Andrea Doerflinger converted an offensive rebound to put JDHS ahead 41-38. Rhea then stole the ensuing inbounds pass, dished to Nicole Fenumiai who was fouled while hitting a lay-up. The play ignited Juneau's bench and put the game away.
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"That quick steal Talisa made was kind of a backbreaker for us," West Valley coach Steve Caciari said. "I thought we built momentum after that 10-point (deficit). You're trying to get back in it, the flow of the game is going your way and then, boom, she makes a steal."
JDHS also did a better job of protecting the ball in the second half. After committing 13 turnovers in the first half, the Crimson Bears had just six after halftime.
While Rhea struggled in the first half with foul trouble, her teammates stepped up with big shots.
Tingley drained a big 3-pointer in the first quarter and added four more points in the first half. Also, Emily Johnson came off the bench and coolly knocked down a jumper to keep JDHS close while Veronica Lietz played physical defensive against West Valley's larger forwards.
Neither team led by more than six points as JDHS took a 23-18 halftime lead.
The Crimson Bears opened the third quarter on a 6-0 run and surged to a 12-point lead before Katie Oates' ended the quarter with five straight points to cut Juneau's lead to 36-29.
"I think we'll be more comfortable now that we got the first one out of the way," Tingley said.
Harrison led JDHS (22-3) with a game-high 14 points, earning player of the game honors in the process. Rhea had nine points, four rebounds and five assists while Tingley scored seven points in the win.
JDHS will face East Anchorage at 3:30 p.m. today in the Sullivan Arena in the semifinal round.
JDHS 50, West Valley 41
JDHS - 9 14 13 14 - 50
WVHS - 9 9 11 12 - 41
JDHS (50) - Johnson 1-1 0-0 2; Rhea 1-6 6-6 9; Tingley 2-5 2-2 7; Harrison 4-7 4-8 14; Lietz 0-6 0-0 0; Mulder 2-5 2-4 6; Buck 0-2 0-0 0; N. Fenumiai 4-8 0-1 8; Doerflinger 2-2 0-0 4.
WVHS (41) - Callahan 0-2 0-0 0; Wisel 5-6 3-5 13; Mattson 1-3 3-5 5; Webber 0-0 0-0 0; Blackburn 3-7 2-2 8; Oates 3-5 2-2 9; Barton 0-0 0-0 0; Qualye 2-7 2-2 6; Slater 0-0 0-0 0.
3-point shots - JDHS 4-7 (Harrison 2, Rhea, Tingley); West Valley 1-3 (Oates).
Rebounds - JDHS 27 (Rhea, Lietz 4); West Valley 23 (Quayle 8).
Assists - JDHS 9 (Rhea 5); West Valley 3 (Callahan 2).
Free throws - JDHS 14-21; West Valley 12-16.
Fouled out - JDHS 1 (N. Fenumiai); West Valley none.
Fouls - JDHS 16, West Valley 16.