In a basketball battle pitting Sitka against Sitka, defense carried the day.
Sitka Cellar Team held Sitka BDK scoreless for more than nine minutes in the second half Thursday, as the Cellar squad won 48-42 in Women's Bracket play at the 59th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
"The first half we were not rebounding," Cellar's Yolanda Snively said. "In the last 10 minutes we got our rebounding together, and pressed more. ...
"The thing we have going for us is defense. ... That's the thing that can pull us through."
Sitka Cellar Team stayed alive with its victory in the losers' bracket game, while Sitka BDK was eliminated from the tournament with its loss.
Today's Women's Bracket action will begin with Prince of Wales facing Juneau Imperial in a winners' bracket semifinal at 1 p.m. The winner of that game advances to the championship game at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The loser of the Prince of Wales-Juneau Imperial game will fall into a losers' bracket semifinal at 4 p.m. today against Sitka Cellar Team. The winner of that game will take the other berth in Saturday's final.
On Thursday, BDK took a 12-10 lead with 9:24 left in the first half, but Cellar's Yolanda Snively answered 48 seconds later with a 3-pointer to put her team ahead 13-12. The two teams stayed close the rest of the half, with Cellar holding a 22-21 lead at the break.
There were three lead changes and four ties through the first 6:30 of the second half, before BDK went on a five-point run to take a 34-29 lead with 11:32 lead with 11:32 left in the game. Then things went cold for BDK, as they were held scoreless for the next 9:07 while the Cellar Team jumped ahead.
Sarah Barry fed a baseline pass to Stephanie Green under the basket, and Green converted to put Cellar up 35-34 with 9:37 to play. Cellar's Barb Webb added a bucket 27 seconds later to increase her team's advantage to 37-34.
That's the way it stayed for the next 5:08, as each team struggled with missed free throws and turnovers. Barry finally broke the scoring drought by sinking a pair of free throws with 4:01 left to put Cellar ahead 39-34, and Snively added a bucket to increase the lead to seven with 3:15 left.
BDK got back on the board on a basket by Kendri Cesar with 2:25 remaining to cut Cellar's lead to five, 41-36. But BDK was unable to draw closer than three points the rest of the way as the Cellar Team hit enough free throws down the stretch to stay ahead.
Barry scored 12 points to lead the Sitka Cellar Team, while Webb added nine and Snively chipped in eight points. Cesar scored a game-high 17 points to lead Sitka BDK, and Breanne Erickson added eight.
The Juneau Empire sports desk can be reached at email@example.com.
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