Thunder Mountain’s Iayanah Brewer, left, and teammate Tasi Fenumiai, right, battle for the ball against North Pole’s Alex Hodal, front, and Claire Richmond at TMHS on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Iayanah Brewer, left, and teammate Tasi Fenumiai, right, battle for the ball against North Pole’s Alex Hodal, front, and Claire Richmond at TMHS on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Falcons burst into season with blowout

Thunder Mountain holds North Pole to one point in first quarter

The Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team pulled a rare first-quarter stunt in their season opener against North Pole.

With about two minutes left in the frame on Thursday night at TMHS, coach Chandler Christensen emptied her bench. It was the right move to make — her team had already built a 20-point lead and showed no signs of slowing down. Thunder Mountain went on to win 57-39, marking their second win in as many years over the Interior school. TMHS beat North Pole 49-45 on the road last December.

Basketball Preview: Preparation, experience could be difference makers for TMHS girls

Senior Charlee Lewis led the Falcons with 12 points on 6 of 8 foul shooting. Lewis’ two free throws started a 27-1 first-quarter onslaught which saw the Patriots turn the ball over on almost every possession.

“I turned to (assistant coach) Arnold (Ibias) at the end of the first quarter and said, ‘That might be more points than we scored in the first game last season,’” Christensen said. “What we’re looking to see now moving forward is, we’ve got to keep the intensity up even when we take the (full-court) press off. We took the press off, we stopped looking to push the ball up.”

Thunder Mountain swarmed North Pole’s guards the minute they took the ball out of bounds. When North Pole senior Megan Grant and others tried to pass the ball out of trouble, it would be quickly intercepted and taken back the other way.

“We didn’t expect too much pressure, so we were a little rattled,” Grant said. “We weren’t coming to the ball as we should.”

Lewis finished the first quarter with nine points and Nina Fenumiai added eight. Fenumiai got her own rebound and put the team up 18-0 midway through the quarter, prompting North Pole coach Robert Borda to call timeout. Freshman Maryn Long broke the Patriots’ scoring drought with a free throw shortly thereafter.

“We just tried to keep thinking about the defense, just keep trying to get steals,” Lewis said. “We didn’t really think of the score until we sat down at the first timeout.”

Thunder Mountain relaxed its full-court press late in the second quarter, and led 35-11 at halftime.

Junior Breeauna O’Rear converted the Patriots’ first field goal with 4:30 left in the second quarter. Prior to that point, all of North Pole’s points were off free throws.

Freshman Claire Richmond scored all of her 17 points in the second half for the Patriots. O’Rear finished with 16 points.

The TMHS girls and boys teams now hit the road for nonconference games against Sitka. The girls team was 0-2 against the Lady Wolves last season, losing by double digits both times, while the boys team went 1-0.

The TMHS girls play at home next Jan. 11-12 against Colony.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


Thunder Mountain’s Mary Neal Garcia falls and is called for a foul against North Pole’s Laura Donovan at TMHS on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain’s Mary Neal Garcia falls and is called for a foul against North Pole’s Laura Donovan at TMHS on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

North Pole’s Megan Grant, left, knocks the ball away from Thunder Mountain’s Tazdi Hauck at TMHS on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

North Pole’s Megan Grant, left, knocks the ball away from Thunder Mountain’s Tazdi Hauck at TMHS on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in Sports

Associated Press
                                In this March 2017 photo, volunteer handlers guide teams out of the dog yard and down the chute to the starting line of the 45th Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Fairbanks, Alaska. The world’s most famous sled dog race will go forward in 2021, and officials are preparing for every potential contingency now for what the coronavirus and the world might look like in March when the Iditarod starts.
Iditarod preps for any scenario as 2021 race plans proceed

The world’s most famous sled dog race will go forward in 2021.

The Juneau Mountain Bike Alliance and City and Borough of Juneau are collaborating to finish a new pump track for bicycle riders in Cope Park, due to be finished within weeks, Sept. 16, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Outdoors pump track work is ramping up

Cope Park is about to have a new way to keep entertained.

Coach Merry Ellefson compliments runners on a job well done after a race. (Courtesy Photo / Debbie Lowenthall)
Long-distance running meets socially distanced competition

Team spirit carries Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School’s runners on where others falter.

Matt Boline demonstrates a drill during a recent workout with players in the 12-and-under group workout at Treadwell Ice Arena. (Courtesy Photo / Steve Quinn)
Photos: It’s heating up on the ice

Juneau Douglas Ice Association’s youth hockey season is underway at Treadwell Ice Arena.

Alan Stuart/Pair of Thieves 
                                This photo shows Doug Peterson posed recently in Pacific City, Ore., next to the camper van that will accompany him on a nearly 1,500-mile bike ride to raise awareness for National Suicide Prevention Month. Peterson is riding his bike from the Canadian border to the Mexican border during the month of September, raising money with the support of apparel company Pair of Thieves and awareness for National Suicide Prevention Month.
Oregon man rides from Canada to Mexico for suicide awareness

He will ride across the country during National Suicide Prevention Month.

Capital Kennel Club of Juneau stays dogged, holds first post-pandemic trials

Past events had been scratched — and not behind the ears.

Runners jog through a haze of colored powder as they begin a 5k run through downtown Juneau on Sunday, April 29, 2018. (Richard McGrail / Juneau Empire File)
Some local color: Downtown run is coming up

DBA partnered with the J-D Cross Country team will host the 2020 DBA Color Run.

Israeli Olympic racewalker Shaul Ladany holds his 1972’s Olympic race shoes for a portrait in Omer, Israel, Sunday, July 12, 2020. In an instant, the world record holder in the 50-mile walk was thrust into one of sports’ greatest tragedies and a seminal moment in modern history _ the kidnapping and massacre of his fellow Israeli team members at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The killing shocked the world, gave the Palestinian cause an audience and ushered in a new era of global terrorism. Ladany, a Holocaust survivor, the lessons still linger. He says it taught him to “never be afraid” but become “more careful.”(AP Photo / Ariel Schalit)
Israeli racewalker recalls surviving 1972 Munich massacre

In an instant, he was thrust into one of sports’ greatest tragedies.

Linda Kruger approaches Father Brown’s Cross and the finish of the Juneau Trail and Road Runners Mount Roberts Tram Run on Mount Roberts Trail. The event sponsored annually by the Goldbelt Mount Roberts Tramway. (Courtesy Photo | Jeff Gnass)
Dozens participate in distanced Mount Roberts Trail run

Fastest time was just over 24 minutes.

Courtesy photo | Alexandra Razor 
                                Former members of the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaat.at Kalé softball team will play an alumni game on Sunday to raise money for travel and equipment for the team.
JDHS softball team to hold alumni game

It might be the first alumni game held by the JDHS softball team.