ANCHORAGE - Lexi Garvey started Saturday's Class 4A girls basketball state title game with a touch of the flu and an injured ankle.
The Juneau junior hurt her right hand and fell hard on her back during the game. But through it all, she was feeling just fine.
Garvey sank four clutch 3-pointers and played tenacious defense to lead the Crimson Bears to a 53-48 win over the Service Cougars and the team's first state basketball championship since 1996.
"If we didn't have her (Lexi), we wouldn't have won the game," said Juneau senior Mary Rehfeld, who also scored 15 points in the game. "She guarded (Service star) Lillian (Bullock), and her shots were on and falling. She was pumped, and kept her head in the game."
All the Crimson Bears were pumped after the game, evidenced by the music interspersed with cheers blaring through the closed door of Locker Room 5 in the basement of Sullivan Arena. The Crimson Bears fell to Dimond in last season's title game, but went away with the top prize this year.
"I can't explain what's going through my head - there are no words to describe it," Rehfeld said. "It feels really, really exciting to finally get to the next step, as a senior."
"It was a hard road, but they came together at the end, and what more can you ask for?" Juneau coach Lesslie Knight said. "That's what you want, for the team to peak at the end."
Juneau defeated top-seeded Chugiak 47-32 in Friday's semifinal to reach the championship game.
On Saturday, Service led most of the first quarter, but with about 10 seconds left Garvey stole the ball from Bullock in a one-on-one, open-court matchup. Garvey missed the layup, but sophomore Talisa Rhea was there to put back the offensive rebound and give Juneau an 11-9 lead at the end of one.
Rehfeld - playing the game with a broken bone in her left foot - opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 3-pointer with 6:40 left in the period to put Juneau ahead 14-8. But the Crimson Bears went cold for the next 3 minutes, and Bullock scored six points in a 9-0 run to put the Cougars ahead 18-14.
Juneau trailed 22-18 when Garvey got hot from beyond the arc. She sank one 3-pointer with 2:09 left before halftime to cut Service's lead to 22-21. Garvey canned another 3 just 30 seconds later to give Juneau a 24-22 lead that it carried into halftime.
Juneau held a small lead through most of the third quarter until Service senior Sarah Jones hit a 3-pointer with 51 seconds left to put the Cougars ahead 34-33. Service led 36-33 entering the fourth quarter.
Rehfeld hit a 3-pointer with 7:11 left in the fourth to tie the game at 36-all, and freshman Nicole Fenumiai put Juneau ahead a half-minute later by hitting one of two free throws. Service went back up by three, but Rehfeld sank another 3-pointer with 4:41 left in the game to tie the score at 40-all.
With 3:52 left, Juneau senior Ashley Larson stole the ball under Service's basket. After several passes and about 10 seconds, Rhea found Larson with a pass under the basket. Larson hit a twisting layup and was fouled by Bullock, and Larson hit the free throw to put the Crimson Bears ahead 44-40.
Rhea scored six points down the stretch, including 4-for-4 free-throw shooting, to keep Juneau ahead. Bullock was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and made all three shots, but it didn't matter as they only cut Juneau's lead to its final five-point margin.
"Our first half, we were really scared," Garvey said. "(At halftime) we talked as a team, and figured it was our last time playing. We wanted to give it to the seniors this year."
Rhea added 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Juneau, which finished the season with a 21-6 record. The team had used used "21-6" as a motto the past few weeks. Rehfeld added 11 rebounds.
"My hats off to Juneau - they played a heck of a ballgame, and their experience showed in the fourth quarter," Service coach Curt Schmidt said. "And my hats off to Lexi Garvey - she picked a great time to have her best game of the season."
Bullock scored a game-high 28 points and had five steals for Service, while Jones added 16 points.
Service's season ended with a 22-6 record. A complete box score of Saturday's championship game will run in Monday's Empire.
FRIDAY'S GAME Juneau-Douglas girls 47, Chugiak girls 32
The Juneau girls basketball team cut the legs off a toy horse prior to Friday's Class 4A state tournament semifinal.
Then the Crimson Bears got on the court and took the legs out of the Chugiak Mustangs.
Staying true to coach Lesslie Knight's motivational device, fourth-seeded Juneau ran top-seeded Chugiak ragged and posted a commanding 47-32 win to reach Saturday's state title game.
"Our game plan was to run on them - push the ball, push the ball, push the ball," Juneau coach Lesslie Knight said. "We noticed in the earlier games that they didn't seem as conditioned. If we didn't get (a basket on a fast break), at least we've forced them to run up and down the court."
With the win, Juneau avenged two close losses to Chugiak during the regular season.
"For us to lose to them twice and then beat them in the semifinals, that's huge," Juneau junior Sophia Smith said. "We all played as a team, and that showed."
Chugiak took a 10-9 lead after the first quarter as star Kelsey Griffin scored eight points in the period. But Juneau charged ahead with the help of 3-point shooting, including a 3 by sophomore Talisa Rhea - assisted by Smith - with one second left in the half to put Juneau ahead 24-16.
Juneau built its lead to 10 points, 31-21, when senior Ashley Larson hit a basket midway through the third quarter. Rhea completed a three-point play with 46 seconds left in the period to put the Crimson Bears up 40-25, and the closest Chugiak came after that was the final 15-point margin.
Senior Mary Rehfeld scored 17 points to lead Juneau, and Rhea added 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Griffin scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Chugiak (24-4 overall).
Saturday's Class 4A boys title game between West Anchorage and Chugiak ended past deadline. For details on that game, all-tournament awards and more photos, look in the Empire throughout the week ahead.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at email@example.com.
CRIMSON BEARS 47, MUSTANGS 32
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (47) - Talisa Rhea 5-12 1-1 14, Lexi Garvey 2-8 1-1 5, Jordan Harvey 0-0 0-0 0, Kerstin Kimlinger 0-0 1-5 1, Sophia Smith 1-2 2-2 4, Mary Rehfeld 7-11 2-4 17, Kate Potter 1-5 0-0 2, Veronica Leitz 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Swofford 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Larson 2-4 0-0 4, Nicole Fenumiai 0-2 0-0 0, Andrea Doerflinger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 18-44 7-13 47.
CHUGIAK (32) - Heidi Brehmer 0-1 0-0 0, Erin Murphy 2-3 0-0 5, Ashley Finch 0-0 0-0 0, Danielle Campoamor 0-1 0-0 0, Samantha Dubin 0-5 0-0 0, Kelsey Griffin 7-19 2-4 17, Lis DuCharme 0-5 0-0 0, Kyle Jennings 0-2 0-0 0, Sarah Neuschwander 3-9 0-0 6, Sara Courtright 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Watzke 1-3 0-0 2, Karly Vierick 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 14-49 2-4 32.
CHUGIAK 10 6 9 7 - 32
3-point goals - Juneau-Douglas 4-13 (Rhea 3-5, Rehfeld 1-4, Garvey 0-4), Chugiak 2-16 (Murphy 1-2, Griffin 1-7, Campoamor 0-1, DuCharme 0-1, Jennings 0-2, Dubin 0-3). Rebounds - Juneau-Douglas 37 (Rhea 11), Chugiak 31 (Griffin 12). Assists - Juneau-Douglas 14 (Rhea 7), Chugiak 9 (DuCharme 3). Blocked shots - Juneau-Douglas 3 (Rehfeld 2), Chugiak 3 (Griffin, DuCharme, Neuschwander). Steals - Juneau-Douglas 5 (Rhea 2), Chugiak 6 (Griffin 4). Turnovers - Juneau-Douglas 15, Chugiak 15. Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Juneau-Douglas 11, Chugiak 15.
CLASS 4A GIRLS STATE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
CRIMSON BEARS 53, COUGARS 48
Saturdays championship girls game from Anchorages Sullivan Arena
CHUGIAK (32) Heidi Brehmer 0-1 0-0 0, Erin Murphy 2-3 0-0 5, Ashley Finch 0-0 0-0 0, Danielle Campoamor 0-1 0-0 0, Samantha Dubin 0-5 0-0 0, Kelsey Griffin 7-19 2-4 17, Lis DuCharme 0-5 0-0 0, Kyle Jennings 0-2 0-0 0, Sarah Neuschwander 3-9 0-0 6, Sara Courtright 0-0 0-0 0, Sarah Watzke 1-3 0-0 2, Karly Vierick 1-1 0-0 2. Totals: 15-60 16-23 48.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (47) Talisa Rhea 5-12 1-1 14, Lexi Garvey 2-8 1-1 5, Jordan Harvey 0-0 0-0 0, Kerstin Kimlinger 0-0 1-5 1, Sophia Smith 1-2 2-2 4, Mary Rehfeld 7-11 2-4 17, Kate Potter 1-5 0-0 2, Veronica Leitz 0-0 0-0 0, Maddie Swofford 0-0 0-0 0, Ashley Larson 2-4 0-0 4, Nicole Fenumiai 0-2 0-0 0, Andrea Doerflinger 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 17-39 12-20 53.
SERVICE 9 13 14 12 48
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 13 9 20 53
3-point goals Service 2-13 (Jones 1-3, Bullock 1-9, Christiansen 0-1), Juneau-Douglas 7-14 (Garvey 4-6, Rehfeld 3-4, Rhea 0-4). Rebounds Service 36 (S. Bullock 10), Juneau-Douglas 35 (Rehfeld 11). Assists Service 3 (L. Bullock, Christiansen, Jones), Juneau-Douglas 11 (Rhea 8). Blocked shots Service 2 (S. Bullock 2), Juneau-Douglas 4 (Garvey 2). Steals Service 13 (L. Bullock 5), Juneau-Douglas 6 (Garvey 2, Potter 2). Turnovers Service 11, Juneau-Douglas 19. Fouled out None. Technical fouls None. Total fouls Service 21, Juneau-Douglas 18.