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Balanced Bear girls on verge of Classic title

Juneau overruns North Pole, plays for championship today

Posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2003

The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball stumbled a bit on defense Monday night.

But the Crimson Bears' balanced offense lifted the team back up and delivered a 53-36 victory over the North Pole Patriots in the Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic, leaving the Crimson Bears on the verge of winning their home tournament for the first time since 1999.

Undefeated Juneau will take on Newport Harbor of Newport Beach, Calif., at 6 p.m. tonight at the JDHS main gym with the tournament title on the line. Today's 1 p.m. game will pit the Monroe Catholic School Rams, who beat Newport Harbor 59-54 on Monday, against North Pole in an all-Fairbanks-area matchup.

"It's been a long time," Juneau senior Heather Dillon said of the Crimson Bears' success. "The last three years we haven't come close to winning. Last year we didn't win a game. To be 2-0 and going into the championship game, it's exciting."

A Juneau victory today clinches the title for the Crimson Bears in the round-robin tournament. A Juneau loss to Newport Harbor combined with a Monroe victory means three teams will tie with 2-1 records and the tournament title will go to a victory-margin tie-breaker.

Dillon, along with junior Mary Rehfeld and freshman Talisa Rhea, combined to drain four 3-pointers in a game Juneau (2-0 overall and in the tournament) led by just four at halftime, 24-20.

The Crimson Bears broke away with a 16-6 advantage in the third quarter, with Rehfeld and Rhea hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to extend Juneau's lead from eight to 14. Rhea led the Crimson Bears with 14 points and eight rebounds.

"Shots started falling," Rhea said. "Everything was in rhythm."

Senior Tasha McKoy scored 13 points, grabbed six rebounds and had five steals as leader of Juneau's inside game, and Rehfeld chipped in seven points. Dillon and senior Kendri Cesar chipped in five points apiece.

Juneau senior Nicole Lupro had six rebounds and three steals, including one in the closing seconds of the first quarter that she lobbed upcourt to McKoy for an easy lay-in to make it a 17-7 game.

Juneau coach Lesslie Knight said the team is benefiting from being a "multi-dimensional" team on offense, enabling the Crimson Bears to be patient with shot selection.

Juneau needed a good game on offense to overcome the dominating presence of North Pole's 5-11 senior center Shardé Burkhead, who scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds despite missing significant time due to foul trouble. The Crimson Bears didn't meet their goal of holding Burkhead to 10 points, but limited her impact later in the game.

"In the third quarter we did a better job of containing her," Knight said. "We did a nice job in the end, doubling and tripling down on her."

Sophomore Kelsy McIntosh chipped in eight points for the Patriots (2-2 overall, 0-2 in the tourney).

Rams 59, Sailors 54

Monroe Catholic built an early lead, and maintained its edge over Newport Harbor even after losing key junior Leah Stepovich to injury.

Stepovich, who scored 13 points in the first half, was knocked out of the game - and probably the tournament - with a severely sprained right ankle just 16 seconds into the second half with Monroe up 30-24.

Sophomore Hallie Woods came off the bench to help fill the gap with 12 second-half points, and senior center Carolyn Berg had a team-high 15 points for the Rams.

Newport Harbor rallied with a 21-point fourth quarter, but could only close to within five points. Senior Jillianne Whitfield had 17 points for the Sailors, while senior Victoria Swigart chipped in 16.

• Andrew Krueger can be reached at akrueger@juneauempire.com.

CRIMSON BEARS 53, PATRIOTS 36

Monday's girls game from JDHS

NORTH POLE (36) - Tanya Fitzgerald 0 0-0 0, Caitlin Hamsley 2 0-0 2, Kelsy McIntosh 3 1-2 8, Whitney Tidwell 2 0-0 2, Alicia Hamsley 0 0-0 0, Caitlin Jacobson 0 0-0 0, Jillian Larson 0 0-0 0, Kaycie Gebhardt 0 2-4 2, Stephanie Dahlke 1 0-0 2, Shardé Burkhead 8 4-5 20. Totals: 14 7-11 36.

JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (53) - Alida Bus 1 1-3 3, Nicole Lupro 2 0-0 4, Kendri Cesar 2 1-2 5, Heather Dillon 1 2-2 5, Mary Rehfeld 1 4-4 7, Talisa Rhea 6 0-0 13, Andrea Doerflinger 1 0-0 2, Erin Thompson 0 0-0 0, Jordan Harvey 0 0-0 0, Tasha McKoy 4 5-10 13, Lexi Garvey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 18 13-21 53.

NORTH POLE 7 13 6 10 - 36

JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 17 7 16 13 - 53

3-point goals - North Pole 1 (McIntosh), Juneau-Douglas 4 (Rhea 2, Dillon, Rehfeld). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - North Pole 15, Juneau-Douglas 12.

RAMS 59, SAILORS 54

Monday's girls game from JDHS

MONROE CATHOLIC (59) - Amy Sokaitis 0 0-3 0, Leah Stepovich 6 1-2 13, Brittany Burglin 0 0-2 0, Melissa Rima 2 0-0 4, C.C. Malemute 1 0-0 2, Hallie Woods 6 0-1 12, Christi Johnson 1 0-0 2, Lizzy Compeau 0 1-4 1, Marjorie Rima 5 0-0 10, Carolyn Berg 6 3-8 15. Totals: 27 5-20 59.

NEWPORT HARBOR (54) - Maaike Trobman 0 0-0 0, Victoria Swigart 3 10-11 16, Allyson Stoltz 3 0-1 6, Lauren Celek 0 0-0 0, Jillianne Whitfield 6 5-6 17, Vanessa Miller 2 2-4 7, Kristi Koon 1 0-0 2, Ivonn Melo 0 0-0 0, Kristi Eddington 2 0-0 4, April Slater 0 0-0 0, Brittany Deyan 0 0-0 0, Ciara Lawrence 1 0-0 2. Totals: 18 17-21 54.

MONROE CATHOLIC 13 17 14 15 - 59

NEWPORT HARBOR 8 16 9 21 - 54

3-point goals - Monroe Catholic 0, Newport Harbor 1 (Miller). Fouled out - Monroe Catholic 1 (Marjorie Rima), Newport Harbor 1 (Miller). Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Monroe Catholic 18, Newport Harbor 19.



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