Thunder Mountain's Haleigh Dicarlo looks to pass against Sitka's Zosha Krupa during their game at TMHS on Thursday. Thunder Mountain won 40-39.

Thunder Mountain's Haleigh Dicarlo looks to pass against Sitka's Zosha Krupa during their game at TMHS on Thursday. Thunder Mountain won 40-39.

Falcons girls squeak by defending 3A champs

In a back-and-forth contest at home against last year’s 3A champion Sitka, the Thunder Mountain High School Falcons girls basketball team found just enough open court to add a point to their win column.

After more than three periods of gritty basketball against Sitka’s tenacious zone, and with a little over two minutes remaining in the game, guard Siniva Maka hit a runner off the glass to put TMHS up by one. The Falcons then forced a turnover and was able to run the clock down to zero.

TMHS’ Ava Thompkins drew a foul but missed a one-and-one free throw which would have put the Falcons up by a basket. Despite the last minute drama, the home team held on to their lead, 40-39.

TMHS found their success in the open court.

“I believe it’s a strong aspect of our game,” Falcons coach Tanya Nizich said of her team’s ability to score in transition. “ … If we can block out the first time and get that quick rebound, we have some very quick players who can get up the court.”

Though dealing well with Sitka’s full-court press, which the Wolves applied from the start, TMHS got into foul trouble early in both halves. The Falcons had to sit some of their starters for large portions of the game and one minute into the fourth quarter, starting forward Nina Fenumiai fouled out. On dealing with her teammate’s absence, guard Ava Thompkins said, “It’s tough but it helps our team because it makes somebody else step up.”

Thompkins led all scorers with 19 points. Alondra Echiverri helped TMHS to the win with nine and Siniva Maka added seven.

The Wolves were led by Zosha Krupa’s 10 points. Kendra Phippen had six and Alex Kirby, Tatum Bayne and Mackenzie Campbell contributed five points each.

Sitka coach Sondra Lundvick was happy with her team’s ability to defend without fouling. Was coach Lundvick happy with her team’s zone?

“Absolutely,” she said, “I think we did a great job of position defense, we just didn’t always get there in time. I think this was a great game for us this time of year, both teams.”

The TMHS girls basketball teams faces Sitka again at 8 p.m. tonight at TMHS, and will play Juneau-Douglas High School at 5 p.m. Saturday at JDHS.

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