The Crimson Bears showed Monday they dominate teams and win big. On Tuesday, they showed they can grind it out when need be, and win in thrilling fashion.
Senior forward Sarah Tarver, saddled with foul trouble for much of the night, tied the game at 42-42 with five seconds to go in regulation, eventually sending the game into overtime. And sophomore point guard Marissa Brakes, in her second varsity game, buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key to push the Juneau-Douglas girls ahead for good, and the Crimson Bears defeated Crescent Valley (Ore.) 49-45 on the second day of the 20th Annual Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.
It was baptism by fire for Brakes, the younger sister of All-State senior point guard Karli Brakes, who is sitting out the rest of the tournament with a badly sprained ankle.
"We all knew that Karli, she's our leader, and we knew she wasn't going to be there so we'd have to step it up," Marissa Brakes said. "We talked a lot before the game and she told me what I needed to do. I just went out there and did it."
The younger Brakes sister played 25 minutes, turning the ball over just once while getting three steals and scoring seven points, with five coming in overtime, the go-ahead 3-pointer and two crucial free throws to push the JDHS lead from 1 back to 3, 48-45, with 15.5 seconds remaining.
"Nani (Ostrom) and Ezra (Siddeek) are our main shooters and the other team knew that. Without my sister in there, there wasn't any other shooters and I knew I had to step up," Marissa Brakes explained of her big bucket. "In their zone, they were covering Nani and Ezra and so I couldn't even pass to them, so I had to take the shot for the team.
"I just thought, 'Oh my God,' (when the shot went in). And then I knew I had to get back on defense and keep playing."
A Taylor Larson free throw pushed the Bears ahead by 4, 46-42. But Crescent Valley junior guard Taylor White, who scored 16 points for the Raiders, stuck a triple to make it a one-point game again with 25.8 left on the clock.
Brakes made two more free throws and Tarver sealed it with one more with just 2.7 seconds left to finish the scoring.
Things didn't look good for Alaska's 4A reigning state champions for long stretches of the game. The Bears scored just three points in the second quarter after leading 12-7 after one, but fell behind 18-15 at the half after making just one second-quarter field goal.
"I knew we'd be in a little bit of trouble with Karli being out, but it's good for us for the rest of the season to have to rely on other people to handle the ball," JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. "Part of our problem now is we have a lot of post players out on the perimeter, and we have five or six posts sittting on our bench and not as many guards.
"Our posts have been asked to come out and play on the perimeter a lot more than they have and so, that takes them out of their scoring positions and they're not comfortable yet, but they're developing other facets of their game."
The game was tied at 28-all heading into the fourth quarter, but Knight was called for a technical foul for arguing an over-and-back call and the Raiders appeared poised to take control after senior Kalee Wake scored a wide-open basket underneath.
JDHS scored three free throws after pressuring Crescent Valley into three straight turnovers, but the Raiders continued to answer every time JDHS tried to make a run and led 40-35 with 58.3 seconds remaining.
Ostrom cut it to one after breaking free for a tough lay-up, and a turnover gave the Bears the ball back with 17 seconds to play, but Tarver missed under the basket.
Annie Owen made one free throw with 12.5 seconds left and the Bears had another shot to tie.
This time, Tarver made didn't miss, laying it off the glass and in with 5 seconds left, eventually sending the game into overtime.
Larson had a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards, as well as three steals. Tarver scored 10, had four rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Siddeek and Ostrom both scored 8 points for the Bears.
Doran led all scorers with 18 points.
South Anchorage takes on the Crescent Valley girls today at 1 p.m., followed by the Hoonah and Haines boys at 3 p.m. Juneau-Douglas takes on Australia in a 5 p.m. girls' matchup, followed by the JDHS and West Valley boys to close the tournament.
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