JDHS girls take touney title

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Juneau-Douglas girls' basketball team won its fifth straight tournament Wednesday after topping the Aussies 53-44 on the final day of the Princess Cruises Capital City Classic.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

It was the Crimson Bears' second straight Classic title, in the same tournament where last year's memorable march to the 4A state championship began.

After the 2009 Classic, Juneau-Douglas went on to win the Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout, the Southeast Conference tourney crown, and then the state tournament finals in Anchorage.

"It's building up a lot of confidence for us," sophomore wing Esra Siddeek said of the tourney win. "(Winning all these tournaments) has been absolutely great, but we know there are going to be tougher teams coming down the road. We're not to the level we want to be yet, but I think this has built up our confidence. There were some really good players in this tournament to play against."

Once again, it started with defense. JDHS scored the first 14 points of the game, and were never threatened.

Siddeek splashed a 3-pointer and senior forward Sarah Tarver found Hannah Swofford inside for a deuce. A few free throws later it was 8-0, JDHS. Tarver made a lay-up after an Aussie turnover, Swofford dished inside to senior forward Taylor Larson, and Tarver capped the run with a steal and lay-up, forcing a time out for the Aussies at the 4:02-mark.

Sophomore Rebecca O'Donnell put Australia on the board with 3:48 to play in the first quarter, and senior Belinda Hutchins scored a couple of free throws, but Swofford banked a shot high off the glass to give JDHS a 16-4 lead after the first eight minutes.

The game got sloppy in the second quarter, with both teams trading turnovers on several possessions. Three straight points by the Aussies to close the half out cut into the Bears' lead, and it was 24-15 at the break.

"We definitely had a really good start. The middle was a little iffy, they had a good press on us but I think we got ourselves pumped up at halftime and came back big," Siddeek said. "I think that made a huge difference in our game, just getting our attitudes up."

JDHS scored six of the first seven points of the second half to extend its lead to 14, 30-16, and the Bears cruised to the finish line.

The biggest bright spot after the first few minutes of the game was the sharp shooting of Siddeek, who drained back-to-back triples in both the third and fourth quarters. The sophomore made five 3-pointers on the night and led JDHS with 15 points.

Senior guard Nani Ostrom scored 11 points, Swofford nine and Tarver added eight points and nine rebounds, as well as three steals.

Tarver was named the tournament MVP. Joining Tarver on the All-Tournament team was teammates Ostrom and Larson, as well as Austrailia's Kodie Kroussoratis, Rebecca O'Donnel and Bonnie Robinson, Crescent Valley's Taylor Waite and Hannah Doran, and South's Heidi Pichler. The Aussies won the team Sportsmanship Award.

Juneau-Douglas (5-0) is back in action Jan. 6 at Wasilla.

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