The Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team fought for the honor of the capital against Sitka and Mt. Edgecumbe last week as every other team was grounded or their games canceled because of coronavirus concerns.
The Lady Falcons barely lost a tight defensive game against Sitka High School before notching two confident wins against Mt. Edgecumbe, said coach Andy Lee in a phone interview.
“We surrendered nine baskets that game. Our defense is stellar. Our inability to score was the issue. We’re putting in some time to develop our offensive skill,” Lee said. “It wasn’t as much of a problem on Friday and Saturday with the Mt. Edgecumbe games because we were able to score points off of turnovers. We weren’t necessarily able to score as much off our half court offense. We were able to generate offense from defense.”
With Wednesday’s game canceled due to coronavirus related issues, the THMS girls turned in a 29-25 loss to Sitka on Thursday. Following that, the team took off, winning against Mt. Edgecumbe 54-31 on Friday and 75-34 on Saturday.
“(Mt. Edgecumbe’s) coach Forrester is doing a good job of developing a new team,” Lee said. “We’ve been on the other side of that, too.”
Lee said the girls team has its own work to do as the team soldiers through a two-week period with seven games.
“We’re still in a November-December level of play,” Lee said. “The first team to break out of that is going to have a huge advantage.”
Safety comes first, Lee said, the girls understand that it makes the schedule a mercurial place at times.
“We’re very grateful and mindful that this could go away in a heartbeat,” Lee said. “We’re mindful of all of our actions, policies, and procedures, that keep us safe.”
A number of players distinguished themselves over the three games last week, including one of TMHS’ multiple sets of identical twins, Mary Khaye Garcia and Mary Neal Garcia
“I wish I could separate them and talk about one but they complement each other. They’re our pace setters,” Lee said. “They’re so unselfish and they’re hard workers so what they do doesn’t always show up in the scorebooks.”
Other players to distinguish themselves include Grace Sikes and team captain Mackenzie Gray, Lee said. Gray scored her first varsity baskets over the week, Lee said.
“Grace Sykes played well on both sides of the ball,” Lee said. “She’s improved her overall game since last year and become one of our key players.”
While a number of games are in the air until COVID-19 test results are returned, the TMHS girls will have a chance at vengeance against Sitka beginning Wednesday night as Sitka visits Juneau. The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé girls play Sitka on Friday and Saturday, said Coach Steve Potter.
“We had some impromptu inter-squad action. It’s not the same thing, but it gave us the opportunity to compete against each other,” Potter said in a phone interview. “They definitely want to play. They’re pretty disappointed. We were supposed to play Friday. We had a practice instead. We did some shooting competitions and such to improve the spirit. They remember the volleyball season. A lot of them are nervous about it all disappearing.”
No new cases in the school district have been announced, said JSD chief of staff Kristin Bartlett in an email, but results are still incoming. The JSD website will be updated with any news regarding new cases.