Juneau Custom Electric allowed Metlakatla Git' Taquan to hang around until the last 10 minutes of the game before running away with an 82-58 victory Tuesday in the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament women's bracket championship semifinals.
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Tanya Nizich scored seemingly at will from 15 feet and beyond. She scored six 3-pointers and tallied a game-high 32 points, using her long-range shooting to exploit Metlakatla's soft zone coverage.
"In the second half, yeah, we got good looks at the basket and shots were falling, so...might as well just keep it going," Nizich said.
Talia Marsden, Metlakatla's hot hand on Monday, finished with 14 points.
In the first five minutes, Juneau jumped out to a 12-6 lead as Kara Lockhart, Deb Barry, and Nizich revved up the Juneau's jump-shooting by converting loose balls into crisp passes and fast breaks.
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Metlakatla pulled within one point, 15-14, as Sally King and Cassie Refour battled with Juneau in the low post to fend off the opponent's height advantage.
Metlakatla went on an offensive spurt to overcome an early 11-point deficit and trailed 32-28. The drive came from several 3-point shots from Ashley Hayward, who scored a team-high 17 points, and Neely Humpherville, who finished with 15.
Juneau's cold streak lasted the last six minutes of the half as players hit only one field goal during the stretch.
"I think our legs were a little tired from (Monday) and we left a lot of shots short," Juneau head coach Jer Hamey said.
Hayward and Humpherville continued their hot shooting to open the second half as Metlakatla took the lead 36-31 with 15 minutes to play.
Juneau countered with guard Kendra Cesar, who came off the bench to tighten up the team's full-court defense and turn turnovers into scoring opportunities. Juneau streaked ahead to a 49-41 lead.
"We were kind of confused as far as what defense we were running, and then we started to get into the groove, and started to commit to our traps and our press, and that seemed to work out in our favor," Cesar said.
As the second half wore on, Juneau's back court pressure drained Metlakatla's energy.
"We broke down their offense a lot because they weren't able to get down the court comfortably so it allowed us to really get ourselves into the offensive game," Lockhart said.
Juneau extended its lead to 15 points with eight minutes left as Josie Ramirez and Barry knocked down shots.
"In the second half, I think we tried to extend out and try to make it more of a full-court game because we got a lot of girls in real good shape right now, and we wanted to take advantage of that," Hamey said.
Juneau Custom Electric will rest until Saturday's championship game. Meanwhile, Metlakatla will play either Sitka or Petersburg at 6 p.m. Friday.
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