The Juneau-Douglas girls basketball team defeated reigning Region V champion Ketchikan on Friday night in the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
JDHS (7-2, 1-0 SEC) got a big game from senior Caitlin Pusich for a 50-35 Southeast Conference win. Pusich finished with 21 points, Alyxn Bohulano added nine and Sadie Tuckwood and Kiana Potter scored six apiece.
JDHS coach Steve Potter said defense made the difference, and singled out sophomore Jenae Pusich’s outstanding job slowing down Ketchikan’s main engine, senior Ashley Huffine.
The Crimson Bears led by 11 in the first quarter and 13 in the third. Up 20-17 at halftime, JDHS spread the scoring wealth around between seven players to regain a double-digit third quarter lead.
Lianne Guevarra led the Lady Kings with 11 points, Nadire Zhuta had nine points and Huffine three points.
Ketchikan went to the free throw line just three times, shooting 4-of-6. JDHS shot 14-of-21 free throws.
JDHS boys 56, Homer 42
The Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team picked up its first win at the South O’Brady’s Invitational on Friday evening.
Sophomore Cooper Kriegmont scored a team-high 24 points as the Crimson Bears downed Homer at South Anchorage High School in Anchorage.
Senior Krishant Samtani put in 17 points in the victory, which sets up a tournament-closing matchup against Service at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. Service, who lost in the first round to Ketchikan, defeated the South Anchorage junior varsity team earlier in the day.
“We always have to lock in, play hard, play focused and play strong, and I think we did a nice job of that today,” Samtani said.
Homer took a 30-26 lead early in the third quarter before starting to crumble against JDHS’ full-court defense, giving up three steals in row for JDHS points. Up until that point, neither team was able to sustain momentum for more than a few minutes at a time.
“The guys started to play with a little more fire and a little more energy in that third quarter,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “Our rotations were better and our hands were active.”
Kriegmont’s steal and score tied the game at 30-30, and after another heist, the sophomore’s 3-pointer made it 35-30. The lead ballooned 39-30, and the Crimson Bears started the fourth quarter ahead 39-35.
Homer jumped out to an 11-5 first-quarter lead, but Samtani kept things interesting in the second session. The sharpshooter’s 3-pointer trimmed what was once an 11-point deficit to just one, 24-23, late in the half, and the Crimson Bears went into the locker room down 26-23.
“We had some struggles early, I just tried to push … and we came out the win,” Samtani said.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.