The best things come to those who wait.
After a back-and-forth first quarter Tuesday, the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team hit on all cylinders the rest of the way to rout Newport Beach 58-29 and win its first Princess Cruises-Capital City Classic title since 1999.
"Finally, it's our turn," said junior Mary Rehfeld, who led the Crimson Bears with a game-high 21 points, including four 3-pointers. "It's awesome to be able to win, especially with this team."
And it was not just the win that pleased Juneau coach Lesslie Knight, but also the way in which Juneau (3-0 tournament and season) dominated their opponents from Newport Beach, Calif.
"The greatest satisfaction is that the girls executed their offense," Knight said. "They did a phenomenal job running the offense. They controlled the flow of the game."
Freshman phenom Talisa Rhea added 13 points - including three 3-pointers - four rebounds and four assists for Juneau.
Rhea had one of the top highlights of the night when she sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter. She grabbed an offensive rebound near the free-throw line with a few seconds left, rolled out to the left corner and lofted the shot as time expired. The crowd rose, then cheered wildly as the ball sank through the net.
"It was a momentum-builder," Rhea said of the bucket.
"She's a very mature freshman that you can be confident about putting in the game at any time," Knight said.
Senior Tasha McKoy scored 10 points in another solid game for Juneau, and she was rewarded for her strong play throughout the Classic with the tourney's most valuable player award.
"I was very surprised, I didn't think that happened," McKoy said. "There were some other girls that had a good tourney. It doesn't feel like a win, it hasn't hit me yet. I'm kind of in shock. It was a good way to open our season."
In addition to McKoy, Rhea and Juneau senior Kendri Cesar made the all-tournament team. Newport Harbor seniors Victoria Swigart and Jillianne Whitfield also made the all-tourney team, along with Monroe Catholic School juniors Amy Sokaitis and Leah Stepovich and senior Carolyn Berg, and North Pole senior Shardé Burkhead. Newport Harbor won the team sportsmanship award.
In Tuesday's other game, Monroe claimed second place in the tournament with a 44-33 win over North Pole in a matchup of Fairbanks-area teams.
Newport Harbor's Swigart hit a 3-pointer to open the scoring against Juneau, and the Sailors hung with the Crimson Bears early with the score 11-9 in Juneau's favor after the first quarter. Swigart finished with eight points in the game for the Sailors (1-2 tournament, 8-6 overall), and Whitfield chipped in nine. But the Crimson Bears went on 12-0 run to open the second, including a steal and lay-in by Rhea and a three-point play by senior Nicole Lupro. Juneau led 27-13 at the half.
Rehfeld scored 16 of her 21 points in the second half as Juneau ran away with the game. Every Crimson Bear player got in the game.
Cesar said the team is benefiting from having many different scoring options each time they move the ball down the court.
"We can rely on anybody," she said. "It takes a lot of the pressure off. ... We've got a lot of ball-handlers, and a lot of ball-handlers who can score."
Juneau's next game will be on the road at Wasilla on Jan. 14. On. Jan. 15-17, the Crimson Bears will face some of the state's top teams at the East Anchorage T-Bird Classic.
"We'll have some huge competition up north," Rehfeld said, "but if we play as a team like we did in tonight's game, we'll do fine."
Rams 44, Patriots 33
Monroe Catholic held North Pole star Shardé Burkhead to 10 points, and held on to win a low-scoring game to claim second place in the Capital City Classic.
Playing without injured junior starter Leah Stepovich, the Rams spread out the scoring. Junior Amy Sokaitis scored nine points - all on 3-pointers - and junior Marjorie Rima also added nine for Monroe. Brittany Burglin chipped in eight and Carolyn Berg had six points for the Rams.
In addition to Burkhead's 10, North Pole got seven points from sophomore Kelsy McIntosh. The Patriots finished 0-3 in the tournament for fourth place; they are 2-3 on the season.
Monroe (2-1 tournament and season) led 26-15 at the half as Sokaitis hit two 3-pointers in the second quarter to key a 15-7 run. The Rams' defense held the Patriots to just three points in the third quarter, and fought off a North Pole rally attempt in the fourth.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CRIMSON BEARS 58, SAILORS 29
Tuesday's girls game from JDHS
NEWPORT HARBOR (29) - Maaike Trobman 0 0-0 0, Victoria Swigart 2 2-4 8, Allyson Stoltz 1 0-2 2, Lauren Celek 0 0-0 0, Jillianne Whitfield 4 1-2 9, Vanessa Miller 3 0-0 6, Kristi Koon 0 0-0 0, Ivonn Melo 0 0-0 0, Kristi Eddington 1 0-0 2, April Slater 0 0-0 0, Brittany Deyan 0 0-0 0, Ciara Lawrence 1 0-0 2. Totals: 12 3-10 29.
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS (58) - Alida Bus 2 0-0 4, Nicole Lupro 1 1-1 3, Kendri Cesar 1 0-2 2, Heather Dillon 1 0-0 3, Mary Rehfeld 8 1-1 21, Talisa Rhea 5 0-0 13, Andrea Doerflinger 1 0-0 2, Erin Thompson 0 0-0 0, Jordan Harvey 0 0-0 0, Tasha McKoy 5 0-3 10, Lexi Garvey 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 2-7 58.
NEWPORT HARBOR 9 4 10 6 - 29
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 11 16 16 15 - 58
3-point goals - Newport Harbor 2 (Swigart 2), Juneau-Douglas 8 (Rehfeld 4, Rhea 3, Dillon 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Newport Harbor 10, Juneau-Douglas 12.
RAMS 44, PATRIOTS 33
Tuesday's girls game from JDHS
NORTH POLE (33) - Tanya Fitzgerald 0 0-0 0, Caitlin Hamsley 1 1-3 3, Kelsy McIntosh 2 3-4 7, Whitney Tidwell 0 2-2 2, Alicia Hamsley 0 0-0 0, Caitlin Jacobson 2 0-0 5, Jillian Larson 1 0-0 2, Kaycie Gebhardt 0 0-0 0, Stephanie Dahlke 0 4-6 4, Shardé Burkhead 2 6-8 10. Totals: 8 16-23 33.
MONROE CATHOLIC (44) - Amy Sokaitis 3 0-0 9, Brittany Burglin 3 0-2 8, Melissa Rima 2 1-5 5, C.C. Malemute 0 0-0 0, Hallie Woods 1 3-4 5, Christi Johnson 0 0-0 0, Lizzy Compeau 1 0-2 2, Marjorie Rima 4 1-2 9, Carolyn Berg 3 0-0 6. Totals: 17 5-15 44.
NORTH POLE 8 7 3 15 - 33
MONROE CATHOLIC 11 15 9 9 - 44
3-point goals - North Pole 1 (Jacobson 1), Monroe Catholic 5 (Sokaitis 3, Burglin 2). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - North Pole 0, Monroe Catholic 1 (assistant coach). Total fouls - North Pole 14, Monroe Catholic 19.