To mark the end of basketball season, the Empire is highlighting all four high school basketball teams. Read the TMHS boys’ season review here; the TMHS girls’ season review here; and the JDHS boys’ season review here. You can also find the season summaries in the print newspaper in the following editions: April 5 (JDHS girls), April 6 (JDHS boys), April 7 (TMHS girls) and April 9 (TMHS boys).
This was the season of the super-underclassmen. This was the season when a freshman and two sophomores offered a promising foretaste of the Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team in the years to come.
“We want to put pressure on every team, and then be able to run and gun,” Coach Lesslie Knight said at the beginning of the season.
The team did just that, averaging over 50 points through their first six games of the season — all wins. After a pair of losses to Chugiak and Palmer in mid-January, the squad went on another six-game winning streak.
When provided quick outlet passes and breathing space from 3-point range, freshman Kendyl Carson could put up points in hurry. Sophomore Caitlin Pusich was also a threat from 3-point range. Who could forget the two 3’s she made in the final minute in Region V tournament that almost knocked off Ketchikan for good?
For her part, sophomore Alyxn Bohulano made regular trips to the hardwood — diving for loose balls or bouncing off the last line of defense under the basket.
The upperclassmen weren’t too shabby, either. Cassie Dzinich was always a good option in the post, and with plenty of “gunners” on the team, she was always fighting for a rebound. Towards the end of the season, Meghna Bathija and Morgan Balovich played extra minutes with added responsibilities.
The team may not have made waves at the state tournament this year with double-digit losses to both Dimond and Lathrop, but don’t think this team isn’t hungry to improve on that mark next season with a more experienced “Big 3.”
ROSTER: Sadie Tuckwood, Kendyl Carson, Alyxn Bohulano, Caitlin Pusich, Cassie Dzinich, Georgia Robinson, Meghna Bathija, Morgan Balovich, Shaylin Cesar, Skylar Hickok, Choloe McAdams
Q&A with Coach Lesslie Knight
What were the biggest challenges your team faced this season?
Making team to believe they could play harder than they thought they could.
What’s one interesting or surprising thing about your team that most people don’t know about?
We had a C- team consisting of several girls with zero basketball (or team sport) experience. Really fun to follow their improvement. Lots of fun — no stress.
What was the most fun game to coach in this season?
First half of Dimond Game — We stepped up and played incredible defense, achieved all of our goals. (Bench was not deep enough to carry into second half).
What do you expect next season to hold given the young talent on the team?
Expect to compete for Southeast title in what should be a much improved conference next year. Three teams doing battle!