After soundly defeating Huna ANS 85-44 Thursday night in the winners' bracket game, Angoon Kwaan has solidified itself as the top women's contender for the coveted Juneau Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament championship title.
Angoon's victory gave it a berth in Saturday's 4 p.m. Women's Bracket championship game, while Huna ANS has to take on Kake KWBA at 4 p.m. today to determine Angoon's opponent.
"This is probably the most complete game we've played," said Angoon's Meagan Gleason, a former Juneau-Douglas High School and Davidson College standout guard. "What's so exciting about it is that we've never played together until our first game and to put together a game like this was pretty exciting."
Angoon came out with an intensity that Huna couldn't seem to match, controlling the pace of the game from the beginning at both ends of the court. Angoon went on a 26-3 run in the first 10 minutes of the contest, nearly shutting down Huna's offense completely.
"When you have really good defense, that's the way your offense comes together," said Angoon's Sarah Demmert, who scored 10 points. "Since we had good defense everything else fell into place. I think that's what did it for us."
Demmert, Amber Jamestown and Angela Kearns outsized much of the Huna team underneath the basket, controlling the paint with their defensive prowess.
"We kept our intensity up, we didn't let it go, and everyone was confident in themselves," said Demmert.
"We went into this game knowing we could do it," said Kearns. "We had the intensity up and we thought they were going to be a good match up so that's what we headed out there for."
Huna did warm up at the end of the first half, going on an 11-0 run when Krissy Bean made two free-throw shots at 9:16. Marie Collins followed with some strong offensive play, but Huna couldn't keep the wind out of Angoon's sails.
Angoon ended the half with an 11-2 run, going into the break with a solid 43-19 lead.
"I don't think we were the team that we were yesterday," said Huna's Yolanda Snively, who only scored three points after scoring 22 against Yakutat ANS on Tuesday. "I think that once we pick ourselves up I think we're going to do better."
Angoon entered the second half just as intense as the first half, out-running and out-shooting Huna convincingly. Led by Gleason's sharp passing and quick feet, Angoon began the second half with an 11-0 run that wasn't broken until Huna's Kim Lindoff muscled in a shot at 15:49, bringing the score to 56-21.
"We didn't predict the results that we got, that's for sure," said Snively. "But we knew that Angoon is tough and we didn't underestimate them because they have awesome shooters."
Angoon's Carmen Estrada had the hot-hand in the second half, scoring 11 of her 13 points in the final period. Hitting a 3-pointer at 13:44, Estrada all but put the nail in the coffin with her crisp passing and tight defense.
Huna had one last burst of energy brought about by a Lindoff 3-pointer at 6:19, but Angoon had already raced out to a 75-35 lead and showed no hints of slowing down before Saturday's championship game.
"I'm hoping we get some what of a crowd because these girls work really hard and it's fun to have the cheering and the bodies in here," said Gleason. "I think we're all looking forward to it."
Angoon showed balance with five players in double-digit scoring, including Gleason with 17 points, Estrada's 13, Jamestown's 12, and 10 each from Demmert and Melanie Long.
Collins scored 14 points for Huna, Bean scored eight, and Stacie Skaflestad added six.
Kake KWBA 69, Metlakatla Women 46
Kake KWBA beat the Metlakatla Women in Thursday's losers' bracket game, eliminating Metlakatla from the tournament. Dawn Jackson led all scorers with 24 point game performance for Kake.
Jonna Adams scored 14 points for Kake, while Karlee Smith and Sarah James each scored 10.
Vanessa Anniskett led Metlakatla with 16 points, Angela LeClair scored nine, and Amy McLeod added seven.
Eric Morrison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.