The Thunder Mountain High School gymnasium bleachers were sparse when the Juneau-Douglas and TMHS girls basketball game tipped off at 5 p.m. Saturday.
They were mostly filled after three quarters though, and as if right on cue, the game intensified through the final quarter and even into overtime.
In overtime, Sadie Tuckwood and Alyxn Bohulano made free throws in the final minute and JDHS (3-6, 2-0 SEC) escaped with a 46-44 win over TMHS (2-5, 0-2 SEC).
Cassie Dzinich scored 14 points in the game, most of which came in the fourth quarter, when the senior forward corralled numerous offensive rebounds and finished strong under the basket.
“I probably should have been working that hard all game,” Dzinich said. “I just got determined I guess, I really didn’t want to lose, so I just thought I have to be there to get the rebounds.”
Nina Fenumiai scored a season-high 27 points for Thunder Mountain, while Kyra Jenkins Hayes added 13 for the Falcons.
JDHS led 25-23 at halftime and neither team scored in the first three minutes of the third quarter. Then Fenumiai took over —scoring six consecutive points to give the Falcons the lead late in the quarter.
The Falcons led 37-32 at the end of the third quarter.
One minute into the fourth quarter, Jenkins Hayes was forced to come out of the game with an apparent knee injury. Without Jenkins Hayes battling with her for rebounds, Dzinich scored the tying and go-ahead baskets off offensive rebounds later in the quarter.
Minutes later, with her team trailing 42-40, TMHS senior Cyrene Uddipa lobbed the ball in the post to Fenumiai, who scored in the final seconds of regulation to force overtime.
“That’s just one of our plays,” Fenumiai said. “I was just like, ‘Cy, give me the ball, I got it.’”
“They wanted this win pretty bad and at that point it was just, ‘We need a bucket,’” TMHS head coach Chandler Christensen added.
TMHS will be traveling with the boys team to the Joe T. Classic tournament in Fairbanks. It will be the team’s second trip to Fairbanks in under a month, having played its first three games of the season in the Golden Heart city.
The Crimson Bears are off to Ketchikan this week for two conference games on Friday and Saturday against the Kings. It will be Kayhi’s sixth and seventh consecutive home games of the season.
JDHS split their two games on the road against Ketchikan last season.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.