It was the best of halves, then the worst of halves for the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team in Monday's finale of the 2002 Capital City Classic.
Facing an extremely tough team from Troy High School of Fullerton, Calif., the Crimson Bears jumped out to an early lead and held their own for the first 16 minutes of play.
After halftime, the bottom fell out and Troy (11-1) pulled away for a 63-38 victory and the girls Classic title. The Warriors' Amanda Livingston, who will play at UCLA next season and was named tourney MVP, scored 19 points, as did teammate Meghan McGuire.
"The bottom line is we ran out of gas," Crimson Bear coach Lesslie Knight said. "I'm bummed that we couldn't do it for two halves."
"The first half we came out strong, we were excited to play," Juneau junior guard Kendri Cesar said. "The second half we calmed ourselves down too much."
Juneau failed to win a game at the Classic, though it did place two players on the all-tournament team - Cesar and senior Danielle Larson. Juneau's season record now stands at 3-3 as it goes into a 2 1/2-week hiatus before hosting Dimond on Jan. 17-18.
Juneau built an 11-6 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter of Monday's game, aided by four points from junior LaTasha McKoy and a three-pointer from senior Amy Neussl, but Troy cut the lead to 11-10 at the end of the period.
In the second quarter, the Crimson Bears went up 17-12 before the Warriors went on a 9-2 run to end the half. Livingston scored eight points in the period to lead her team to a 21-17 halftime lead.
Juneau led at times in the third quarter as the lead see-sawed back and forth through the first five minutes. But Juneau failed to score in the final three minutes of the third - while committing four straight turnovers that led to seven Troy points.
The Warriors finished the third quarter with a 38-27 lead and never looked back, scoring 25 points in the fourth to the Crimson Bears' 11 for the final 63-38 score.
"Juneau played well in the first half," Kiernan said. After halftime "we started to kick it in a little bit and our pressure got better."
"They fought us; they played their game," said Livingston, who also had 13 rebounds.
In addition to Livingston and McGuire, Troy benefited from 10 points by Nicole Hayman.
The Crimson Bears were led by Larson's 13 points, followed by Cesar's eight and McKoy's seven. Larson added seven rebounds.
Going into Monday's game, Juneau knew it faced a tough task. Troy handled Wasilla and Alameda with relative ease earlier in the tournament, and both those teams had beaten Juneau.
Knight said the Crimson Bears had a pre-game discussion about what makes Troy successful.
"We talked before the game about that the difference between their team and our team is confidence," Knight said. "They walk into the gym believing they can win the game.
"What we need to do is have confidence, and our confidence has to extend beyond our seniors."
The Crimson Bears brought that confidence on to the court at the start of the game, but were unable to sustain their energy in the face of Troy's relentless play.
"We knew who their strong players were," Larson said. "We wanted to keep their scoring to a minimum and play great D. ... They just had a nice game. They hustled, they outrebounded us."
While the Crimson Bears failed to get a win in the Classic, they did pick up a lot to work on in the next few weeks before their next game.
"Our immediate plan is to get conditioned, to pick up the pace," Knight said.
Beyond that, "our offense is working well, but we haven't been playing good defense," she said. "We've been giving up layups, we allow penetration (and) we have foul trouble."
Cesar said that the team will take those lessons and apply them to the rest of the season.
"We want to peak at the end," Cesar said. "Getting these games early definitely lets us know where we need to grow."
Warriors 86, Hornets 77
In Monday's early game, Wasilla and Alameda, Calif., played a hard-fought, high-scoring game that was in doubt until Wasilla pulled away with clutch free-throw shooting in the final minute.
Both teams were 1-1 entering the game; Wasilla claimed second place in the Capital City Classic with its victory.
With key player Trista Lewis sidelined with foul trouble, the Warriors were led by Chandice Cronk's 27 points and Marsha Schirack's 26 points. Cronk also contributed eight rebounds and seven assists, while Schirack grabbed 15 rebounds. Both made the all-tourney team. Kelly Tompkins had 17 points for Wasilla.
Alameda was led by Nicole Catania, who had 20 points, and Kayleigh Calandri, whose 16 points included four 3-pointers. Three of those buckets were in the fourth quarter, and kept Alameda in striking distance until the very end.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The all-tournament team and other awards presented at the conclusion of the Capital City Classic on Monday.
Most Valuable Player - Amanda Livingston, Troy.
Sportsmanship Award - Sara Yee.
All-Tournament Team - Kendri Cesar, Juneau-Douglas; Danielle Larson, Juneau-Douglas; Marsha Schirack, Wasilla; Chandice Cronk, Wasilla; Trista White, Wasilla; Meghan McGuire, Troy; Meghan Pipkin, Alameda; Kayleigh Calandri, Alameda.
WARRIORS 63, CRIMSON BEARS 38
TROY (63) - Sunshine Atuotasi 1 1-2 3, Nicole Hayman 3 4-6 10, Amanda Livingston 8 3-6 19, Meghan McGuire 8 2-2 19, Leanna Holdtclaw 2 0-0 4, Lauren Sims 4 0-0 8, Cindy Glaser 0 0-2 0, Jaclyn Blied 0 0-0 0, Ariel Adams 0 0-0 0, Sara Yee 0 0-0 0. Totals: 26 10-18 63.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (38) - Alida Bus 0 1-2 1, Nicole Lupro 2 0-0 4, Kendri Cesar 4 0-0 8, Heather Dillon 0 0-0 0, Mary Rehfeld 0 0-0 0, Amy Neussl 1 2-2 5, Danielle Larson 6 1-3 13, LaTasha McKoy 3 1-4 7, Sophia Smith 0 0-1 0, Ashley Larson 0 0-0 0. Totals: 16 5-12 38.
TROY 10 11 17 25 - 63
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 8 8 11 - 38
3-point goals - Troy 1 (McGuire 1), Juneau-Douglas 1 (Neussl 1). Fouled out - Troy 1 (McGuire), Juneau-Douglas 0. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Troy 14, Juneau-Douglas 14.
WARRIORS 86, HORNETS 77
WASILLA (86) - Caitlyn Haley 0 4-6 4, Jamie Brown 0 0-0 0, Kelly Tompkins 6 5-6 17, Abbey Bulawa 0 0-0 0, Marsha Schirack 11 4-10 26, Trista White 1 0-0 3, Chandice Cronk 9 6-6 27, Megan Stearman 4 1-4 9, Lindsey Wasser 0 0-0 0, Melissa Mayse 0 0-0 0. Totals: 31 20-32 86.
ALAMEDA (77) - Raquel Hyche 3 1-3 7, Kayleigh Calandri 6 0-0 16, Tiffany Luk 1 0-2 3, Christina Perricone 4 2-5 10, Kumauri Wills 0 4-6 4, Julie Stauder 0 0-0 0, Meghan Pipkin 4 1-3 9, Shahida Grissom-Reid 0 2-2 2, Nicole Catania 7 4-4 20, Nikki Marshall 2 2-2 6. Totals: 25 16-27 77.
WASILLA 27 20 17 22 - 86
ALAMEDA 23 22 13 19 - 77
3-point goals - Wasilla 4 (Cronk 3, White 1), Alameda 7 (Calandri 4, Catania 2, Luk 1). Fouled out - Wasilla 3 (White, Stearman, Mayse), Alameda 2 (Pipkin, Wills). Technical fouls - Wasilla 1 (Cronk 1), Alameda 0. Total fouls - Wasilla 20, Alameda 27.