Klas Stolpe / For Juneau Empire 
Haines senior Grace Long Godinez (2) passes around the defense of Wrangell senior Kiara Harrison (11) during an elimination game at the Region V tournament on Friday.

Klas Stolpe / For Juneau Empire Haines senior Grace Long Godinez (2) passes around the defense of Wrangell senior Kiara Harrison (11) during an elimination game at the Region V tournament on Friday.

Haines girls run past Wrangell in overtime

Lady Glacier Bears eliminate Lady Wolves from tournament

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Region V tournament is made possible by Sealaska Corp. Thanks to this sponsorship, this article —and all 2023 Region V coverage — is available online without a subscription to the Empire.

Trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter the Haines High School Lady Glacier Bears needed a bit of team magic to pull out a 47-45 overtime thriller against the Wrangell Lady Wolves on Friday.

“Staying alive, wow!” Haines coach Coleman Stanford exclaimed. “That was one of our better quarters of the year and it came at just the right time. We could not be happier about that.”

Wrangell led 28-20 starting the fourth quarter and Lady Wolves senior Kiara Harrison scored two buckets for a 32-20 advantage.

Haines senior Alison Benda notched a deep shot and classmate Grace Long Godinez another closer in.

Harrison hit again for Wrangell and Lady Wolves junior Kayla Meissner scored a deep shot past the arch for a 37-26 lead.

Haines’ Benda and Long Godinez exchanged baskets with Harrison and Haines sophomore Ari’el Godinez Long hit from past the arch to cut the Wrangell lead to 39-33.

Haines’ Benda hit two free throws, Godinez Long hit from distance and Long Godinez scored closer in to give the Lady Glacier Bears a 41-39 lead, their first advantage since the opening minutes of the game.

“The bucket had a solid lid on it for just about most of the game for us,” Stanford said. “A lot of our shots just were not falling. It always comes down to our defensive pressure and our effort in those situations. We leave our hearts on the floor. Time in and time out, I don’t know how they find the energy to keep pushing, but they are just the most resilient group of girls that I have ever had the pleasure of coaching.”

Wrangell junior Kayla Meissner hit two free throws to tie the game at 41-41 with a minute remaining and the Lady Wolves had a steal but could not convert a play and then missed three free throws down the stretch and regulation expired.

Haines’ Godinez Long went coast-to-coast for the first basket of overtime and Wrangell’s Harrison hit a pair of free throws to tie the game at 43-43.

Haines’ Long Godinez added three free throws from three trips to the line and the Lady Glacier Bears led 46-43 with 24 seconds remaining.

Wrangell’s Harrison scored a floater to close within one point, 46-45, with 10 seconds left.

Haines’ Godinez Long was sent to the line and hit one free throw for a 47-45 Lady Glacier Bears advantage.

With 1.9 seconds left in the overtime Wrangell missed the front end of a one-and-one and Haines senior Malia Jorgenson-Geise pulled down the rebound to save the Lady Glacier Bears’ season.

“I was just thinking ‘get the ball, hold on to it, don’t lose it,’” Jorgenson-Geise said. “I was thinking ‘this is the last moment, this is it.’ It was crazy.”

Jorgenson-Geise, along with junior Gracie Sticker and the Haines pressing and sagging defense, also defended Wrangell’s Harrison.

“It was just annoying her,” Jorgenson-Geise said. “Annoy her, push her around, get in her face. Don’t let her get the ball. It was just crazy. We played them before and took two wins but this was a different type of playing. We came together and we really showed who we are today and I am very proud of our team for that.”

Wrangell held a 5-4 lead after the first quarter and 20-10 at the half with Harrison scoring just two points. Meissner made up for that slack with 10 points.

“The biggest key was a team emphasis on how to stop Kiara (Harrison) defensively for a majority of the game,” Haines coach Stanford said. “She got some buckets but she definitely didn’t get her norm and I think that is a credit to our post players and the post defense that they delivered. We made life hard for her and that was our intent…”

Wrangell’s Harrison would come to life in the second half with 17 points, six rebounds and three blocks.

“It was tough, back and forth,” Harrison said. “We all left everything out there on the floor. I hope I left the younger players the grit and determination to never give up, to leave it all out on the court. Just to work hard and stay calm. That’s what I tried to instill in them. I am excited to watch them keep growing as a team.”

Haines’ Godinez Long would notch four shots past the arch in the fourth quarter and Benda would add seven points but Wrangell’s Harrison kept pace with 11 points in the stanza.

“Kiara Harrison has left it all out there,” Wrangell coach Christina Good said. “She has been an absolutely outstanding athlete. A great attitude, character and integrity.”

Godinez Long led Haines with a game-high 22 points, Stickler added eight points, Long Godinez and Benda added seven apiece, senior Mackenzy Dryden two and Jorgensen-Geise one.

The Lady Glacier Bears hit 12-23 at the free throw line, the Lady Wolves 10-14.

Harrison led Wrangell with 19 points, K. Meissner added 14, senior Trinity Faulkner and sophomore Aubrey Wynne four apiece, and junior Mindy Meissner and sophomore Addy Andrews two apiece.

Haines will play another elimination game on Saturday against the loser of Friday’s championship game between Metlakatla and Craig. The winner of the championship game and the winner of the Saturday play-in game represent Southeast at the state tournament in Anchorage.

“I am really proud of our team,” Wrangell coach Good said. “They did an outstanding job this tournament. We left it all out there. We tried our best. Some things didn’t go our way sometimes but ‘resilience’ is the word that pops into my mind right now. Hopefully, although we will be different next year, we can bring out our speed and our guard play and return and get back here and get a state showing next year.”

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