Before the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team took the floor for Thursday night's season-opening game against the Nikiski Bulldogs, Juneau assistant coach Leslie Knight debated whether or not to have the Crimson Bears open the game in a half-court or a full-court press on defense.
Knight chose to go with the full-court press, and the Crimson Bears used it to take a commanding first-quarter lead en route to claiming a 48-25 victory over the Bulldogs in the first round of the Nikiski Tip-Off Tournament at Nikiski High School.
Juneau took a 17-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the Crimson Bears were never threatened the rest of the game.
"We came out in the full-court press to see if we can't get some quick, easy baskets," said Knight, who is filling in as head coach this weekend while Juneau head coach Jim Hamey is in Seattle for back surgery. Hamey is expected to return to the sidelines next week.
"We won one, and I was glad to get that one out of the way," Knight added.
Senior guard Suzanne Parr scored eight of her game-high 12 points in the first quarter to lead the Crimson Bears (1-0 overall). Parr also had three steals as she helped lead Juneau's defense.
Senior center Hilary Rehfeld added 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for Juneau, while Dani Larson was 4-for-4 from the field and scored nine points, and Kari Parr chipped in six points.
"Our scoring was real distributed," Knight said. "I was a little worried we'd come out sluggish, because we'd had a long van ride from Anchorage in the morning. Our defense was excellent and we did a nice job denying their cutters. Dani, Danielle Larson, played great help defense. Suzanne, Kari, Hilary and Dani were solid across the front for us."
Sally Glaze scored 11 points to lead Nikiski, which took fourth place in last year's Class 3A state tournament. Karen Rabung added nine points for the Bulldogs, who didn't have any other players score more than two points.
Juneau plays Class 4A Service at 2:45 p.m. today, then concludes the tournament with a 1 p.m. game against Class 4A Soldotna at 1 p.m. on Saturday. In Thursday's other first-round girls game, Soldotna beat Service 42-32. In boys action, Service routed Soldotna 71-23 and the score from the Nikiski-Houston late game wasn't available.
"It feels good so far," Knight said of the way Juneau opened the season. "But it's still early. We had four good quarters and we didn't have a letdown. Usually you have a letdown for a quarter or two, but we didn't. And everybody got a fair amount of playing time."
CRIMSON BEARS 48, BULLDOGS 25
Thursday's girls game from Nikiski High School
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (48) -- Kari Parr 2 1-4 6, Alida Bus 1 0-0 2, Nicole Lupro 0 0-0 0, Suzanne Parr 6 0-0 12, Kendri Cesar 1 0-0 2, Anna Capacci 1 2-2 4, Hilary Rehfeld 5 1-2 11, Danielle Larson 4 1-3 9, Letasha McKoy 1 0-0 2, Jessica Hahnlen 0 0-0 0. Totals: 21 5-11 48.
NIKISKI (25) -- Katie Floyd 0 0-0 0, Emille Gillaspie 0 0-0 0, Amanda Weaver 0 1-2 1, April Lofstedt 0 0-0 0, Lynzie Ellis 1 0-0 2, Karen Rabung 4 1-2 9, Joy Carr 0 0-1 0, Sally Glaze 4 2-4 11, Krystal Gladden 0 0-0 0, Kathryn Coveyou 1 0-0 2. Totals: 10 4-9 25.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 17 9 10 12 -- 48
NIKISKI 4 9 6 6 -- 25
3-point goals -- Juneau-Douglas 1 (K. Parr 1), Nikiski 1 (Glaze 1). Fouled out -- None. Technical fouls -- None. Total fouls -- Juneau-Douglas 16, Nikiski 10.