The Juneau-Douglas girls basketball team entered into a true championship game against Alexander, Ohio, in Tuesday's Capital City Classic girls finale, and both teams lived up to the billing.
In the end, Alexander was to much for the Crimson Bears, winning 67-58 Tuesday. Alexander, the tournament's smallest school, went on to win the Classic's girls title with a perfect 3-0 record.
Unlike every other team JDHS has faced this season, the visiting Spartans showed no signs of wearing down in the first quarter. Instead, their ability to break down the Bears' press and half-court defense seemed to improve as the period wore on. In fact, Alexander took their first lead in the final two minutes to end the quarter up 15-14.
The see-saw battle continued in the second while the Spartans held a one or two possession lead for almost the entire period. Alexander jumped out with a five-point burst as the quarter started, and the teams stayed even as they traded baskets for the final 20 points of the period. The Bears ended the half behind 29-25.
Juneau-Douglas was finally able to look like their usual dominant selves in bursts in the third, as they started the quarter with an 8-2 run to flip a three-point deficit into a three-point lead. Alexander quickly took their narrow lead back, though, with an 8-0 run in just a two-minute span. The teams, once again, seemed to tire and traded baskets until Alexander ended the period with a 45-39 lead.
The Bears' offense seemed slow tostart the fourth, but sophomore wing Kristen Dierick kept them afloat with a four-point play after being undercut on a bomb from the left corner. She followed that up with another three-pointer from the same spot just a minute later. Dierick's shots pulled JDHS within four points, 50-46, but the Bears then missed two lay-ups and allowed a turnover to let the Spartan lead grow.
A long, slow road back was capped by a pair of lay-ups by Annette Highley to finally get the Bears back to within two possessions at 60-56 with just 1:20 left on the clock. Alexander hit seven of eight free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Whitney Smith, the eventual tournament MVP, led the way for Alexander with 22 points.
Highley was the Bears' high scorer with 15 points on the night. Tarver followed with nine points.
Kilsyth 41, Wasilla 33
The Aussie traveling team finally won a game on the Classic's final day, picking up nine points from All-Tournament team member Emily Van Poppel and seven from Jess Murty.
Wasilla was led by All-State guard Jenna Johnson's 20 points.