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Lynden Transport of Juneau came out running the court Monday evening, beating Kake LAB 84-53 in the first round of women's Gold Medal action at the Juneau-Douglas High School main gym.
"We like to run, so whenever we can get out and run, that's what we want to do," said Heather Clark who led Lynden with 19 points. "We're a runnin' team."
The game began fairly even, with each team trading the lead for the first 10 minutes. A bank-shot by Rena Balzer at 9:34 gave Lynden a 13-12 lead, which they would retain for the remainder of the game. Lynden went on an 11-0 run that ended when Kake's leading scorer - Jonna Adams, with 30 points - went strong to the hoop with a lay-in at 6:08 to bring the score to 22-14 Lynden.
"We couldn't get going there for a while," Adams said.
Lynden controlled the tempo of the game, executing precision passing and dominating with their defense.
"I thought we came out a little bit nervous at first, but I think we started rolling once we started playing some good defense," said Kara Lindley, who scored 17 points for Lynden. "(We) got some steals and got a good lead and then kind of calmed down and got into our offense a little bit more."
Clark and Sarah Barry got into their offensive games in the closing minutes of the first half, leading Lynden on a 15-4 run. Clark scored the final points of the first half with a field goal near the free-throw line with seven seconds left to bring the score to 37-18.
"They did very good," Adams said of Lynden's play. "They moved the ball and they controlled the court."
Lyden maintained its offensive might at the beginning of the second half, opening with a 7-0 run.
Kake put their first points of the second half on the board at 16:45 with a 3-pointer by Adams to make it 43-21, the first of her string of second-half 3-pointers. Adams scored five 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and she scored 26 of her 30 points in the second half.
"They had some great shooters," Lindley said of Kake. "They got a lot of 3s and I thought they played hard and were a good opponent."
"We have a team full of 3-point shooters," Adams said. "Unfortunately they weren't able to get on tonight. Hopefully they'll be on tomorrow."
Clark, Lindley, Tami Watts and Kacy Lockhart all had strong second halves for Lynden, scoring a combined 36 points. With 6:44 left in the game, Clark layed in a shot off a pass from Lindley to extend the lead to 30, bringing the score to 72-42.
With a little more than 2 minutes left, Lockhart stole the ball and passed it on to Deb Barry for a lay-in at 1:56 for the icing on the Kake, bringing the score to 83-49. Kake would score two more points, and Lynden made one last free throw, bringing the final score to 84-53.
Clark led Lynden with 19 points, Lindley scored 17, Lockhart and Watts each scored 12, and Balzer and Sarah Barry each added 10.
Adams led Kake with 30 points, Donna Kadake added nine, all on 3-pointers, and Shawna Orazio scored five.
Lynden Transport's next challenge will be playing four-time defending champion Klawock-Prince of Wales at 6:30 tonight at the JDHS main gym. Lynden beat Klawock last year 64-60 - the only loss in Klawock's four years of Gold Medal play - only to fall victim to Klawock in last year's championship match 68-63.
"We left a little bit of unfinished business last year, so we're looking to redeem ourselves this year," Clark said.
Yakutat 64, Ketchikan 53
Jasmine James led all scorers with 16 points as Yakutat ANS beat Ketchikan Indian Community Monday's other opening-round game in the women's bracket.
Rochelle Lekanoff scored 15, Stephanie Johnson scored 10, and Melanie Long added eight points for Yakutat.
Leilani Finau and Karen Lane each scored 14 points to lead Ketchikan, while Bridget Martin scored 10 and Lori Hudson added seven.
Eric Morrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.