JDHS’ Mila Hargrave pivots toward the hoop for a tough inside shot while tightly defended by TMHS’ Sydney Strong. In the background JDHS’ Kiyara Miller and TMHS’ Kerra Baxter look on. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

JDHS’ Mila Hargrave pivots toward the hoop for a tough inside shot while tightly defended by TMHS’ Sydney Strong. In the background JDHS’ Kiyara Miller and TMHS’ Kerra Baxter look on. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

JDHS girls notch wins with strong play in second half

two crosstown comebacks.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé girls basketball team notched two more wins on Friday and Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School.

The JDHS girls beat the TMHS girls 47-37 on Friday night and 42-33 win on Saturday. The JDHS girls now have a 12-4 record overall and a 2-2 conference record. TMHS’ record is now 4-11 and 0-4 in the conference.

Thunder Mountain led both games at halftime, but in both cases, Juneau-Douglas was able to outscore its opponents by a comfortable margin in the second half.

“I think we’ve struggled a little bit with the start of games all year, but once we realize what the task at hand is, it’s not always pretty, but we can be pretty methodical to do what we do to be successful,” said JDHS coach Steve Potter.

On Friday, the Crimson Bears opened the second half by outscoring the Falcons 15-5 to build a 9-point advantage. Some 3-pointers late in the game, including a dagger from Trinity Jackson, put the Crimson Bears up 10 in the fourth quarter and kept TMHS from mounting a serious comeback threat.

[Juneau boys split weekend games]

Jackson led JDHS with 12 points on Friday and played intense defense throughout the night.

On Saturday, the TMHS girls held JDHS scoreless in the first quarter, led 16-5 at the half and had a 24-22 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Potter said TMHS increased intensity in the second game was noticeable, and he noted JDHS wasn’t able to play as aggressively on defense because of early fouls.

“The difference was foul trouble on Saturday, we have to work to not put ourselves in positions where we’re not making fouls that we don’t need to make,” Potter said.

However, JDHS put up 18 points in the last quarter to pull off the comeback.

Some of that late success was payoff from the Crimson Bears’ defensive pressure, Potter said.

Kiyara Miller gets ready to launch an open 3-point shot on Friday evening during a win against Thunder Mountain High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Kiyara Miller gets ready to launch an open 3-point shot on Friday evening during a win against Thunder Mountain High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

That can yield turnovers leading to fast-break points or advantageous matchups. Fourth-quarter steals and subsequent points helped fuel junior Skylar Tuckwood’s 14 total points in the game, which led all scorers on Saturday.

The Falcons had a balanced scoring attack with six players putting up between 5 and 9 points.

Kerra Baxter and Cailynn Baxter, both freshmen, each scored 10 points for TMHS on Friday. Sydney Strong, a senior, chipped in 9.

While TMHS was on the losing side of both games, coach Andy Lee says he’s seeing signs of improvement and noted the Falcons were poised to win against good competition.

“The takeaway is we’ve been in position to win games in the fourth quarter,” Lee said.

He said constant improvement is a priority for the program, and growth has been evident.

“Our goal every game and every day is to be better than the day before,” Lee said. “We’re playing better than we were a week ago, we’re playing better than we were two weeks ago.”

Next up, TMHS will travel to Anchorage for tournament play. JDHS will travel to Ketchikan for games on Friday and Saturday.

Potter said the games will prove as a measuring stick for improvement. Kayhi has twice beaten JDHS and had success against mutual opponents.

“We’ll see whether we’ve gotten better,” Potter said.

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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