Soldotna’s Danica Schmidt squeezes between Juneau-Douglas’ Caitlin Pusich and Cassie Dzinich for a shot Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Danica Schmidt squeezes between Juneau-Douglas’ Caitlin Pusich and Cassie Dzinich for a shot Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Juneau girls nip Soldotna twice

The role players of Juneau-Douglas did their job so Crimson Bears playmaker Caitlin Pusich could do her job.

Pusich scored five points in the final minute of the game as visiting Juneau-Douglas escaped a three-point hole in the final minute and scratched out a 49-47 victory over Soldotna in nonconference action.

The Crimson Bears (9-15, 4-2 SEC) had defeated the Stars (10-14 overall) 57-36 on Thursday, but Friday was different.

“I think Soldotna played with much more purpose,” Juneau-Douglas assistant coach Steve Potter said. “They were cutting harder and trapping harder.

“We weren’t mentally prepared for that.”

Soldotna head coach Kyle McFall said the Stars had tried to match up with the Crimson Bears on Thursday, but found much more success running a 1-3-1 trap Friday.

Juneau led 18-12 after a quarter and 32-23 at the half, but within the first minute of the third quarter, both of the Crimson Bears’ leading scorers were on the bench.

Pusich, a 5-foot-10 junior who finished with 19 points, picked up her fourth foul and would not return until 7 minutes, 7 seconds, remained in the game.

Cassie Dzinich, a 5-11 senior, hurt her knee with 7:41 left in the third quarter and would not return. Potter said it was too early to say after the game the extent of the injury.

SoHi cut the lead to 41-37 after three quarters, then tied the affair at 41 with 6:23 to play on a jumper by Drysta Crosby-Schneider.

While happy with the comeback and effort, McFall said the Stars need to start executing down the stretch in close games. SoHi would only score six more points the rest of the way.

“Our Achilles’ heel this season is we’ve lost five or six games by two or three points,” McFall said. “It’s because we need to start doing the little things that win games.”

For starters, the Stars were 1 for 5 from the line in the final quarter, a stat that only didn’t destroy them because Juneau was 3 for 9.

Brit Blossom put Soldotna in position to win when she nailed a 3 for a 45-44 lead with 1:21 left, then ran out for an easy layup for a 47-44 game with 1:07 to play.

With the role players having kept it close, it was time for Pusich to step up as the playmaker. She drained a corner 3 with 50 seconds left for a 47-all game.

“We talked about on the bench being ready to go in and play,” Potter said of Pusich. “Sometimes with four fouls, the tendency is to not be aggressive.”

Soldotna then committed the first of two turnovers in the final 36 seconds — more of McFall’s little things.

Still more came when Juneau missed two shots but got the rebound both times until Pusich was fouled with 15 seconds left and made the score 49-47.

After another SoHi turnover, Juneau’s Kiana Potter missed both free throws with 7 seconds left, but Juneau rebounded the missed free throw and the game was over.

Blossom had 17 for SoHi, while Aliann Schmidt had 13. McFall said Blossom had been frustrated with her play after Thursday’s loss, so it was nice to see her bounce back. SoHi’s Mei Miller had to be helped off after hurting an ankle in the first quarter, but she came back to score five points in the second half.

Kiana Potter of Juneau-Douglas drives between Soldotna’s Kiana Holland and Mei Miller on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kiana Potter of Juneau-Douglas drives between Soldotna’s Kiana Holland and Mei Miller on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Sports

Juneau's high school football team finished the regular season 8-0 (7-0 in conference) after hanging on to win a 19-14 nail-biter against Bettye Davis East Anchorage High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Huskies finish regular season undefeated

Huskies hang on — but not without last-minute drama.

Wendy Vuille poses with skater Brendyn Hatfield at the Arizona Adult Skating Camp. (Courtesy Photo / Wendy Vuille)
Better skate than never: Over a decade of hard work nets Juneau woman rare honor

Over a decade of hard work nets Juneau woman rare honor

A total of 145 boys from 10 Southeast Alaska high schools dash out from the starting line at the Capital City Invite at A Káx Yaa Andagan Yé (Sandy Beach) on Saturday morning. The 5K race for boys’ and girls’ teams was the region’s largest cross-country race of the season, and final regular season competition before the regional championship in Sitka this weekend. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Many merry after massive muddy meet

Juneau’s cross-country runners and coaches in sunny spirits about chances going into championships

TMHS’ Ashlyn Gates and JDHS’ Mila Hargrave both reach for the ball during the second set of a cross-town volleyball match held at JDHS on Friday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
TMHS wins two cross-town matches

TMHS wins two cross-town matches

A Lucas White (21) block buys Jarrell Williams (1) more room to work during a 49-32 win against Service High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Juneau cooks up a conference title

Huskies are back-to-back Cook Inlet Conference champs after lopsided win.

Senior Moana Tuviafale of Thunder Mountain High School (far right) was named to the all-tournament team at this year’s Spiktacular tournament this weekend at West Anchorage High School. From left to right, other players in photo are Hayden Inman of Chugiak High School, Liyah Pilgrim of Colony High School and Marija Wunnicke of South High School. (Courtesy Photo / Julie Herman)
TMHS takes 3rd at Spiketacular tournament

The Falcons are ranked 3rd in the state

Jarrell Williams, who scored five TDs against South Anchorage to help Juneau maintain an undefeated record, looks over the line of scrimmage in an Aug. 27 game against West Anchorage High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
5 TD’s power Juneau’s 6th win

Juneau football still undefeated on the season.

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire
From left to right, Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau; SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium project manager Sierra Gadaire; High Cadence Triathlon team coach Jamie Bursell; and City and Borough of Juneau Finance Director Jeff Rogers met at Juneau Moose Family Center on Thursday afternoon to share a recap of the Ironman Alaska to a full crowd of members of the Greater Juneau Chamber of Commerce who joined in at the luncheon.
2023 vision: Officials look at the future of Ironman Alaska

They reviewed what went well and what could change for next time.

Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire
Two-time national champion and Olympic bronze medalist Gracie Gold talks with the Juneau Empire ahead of her upcoming free speech at Juneau-Douglas High School on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.
Olympian takes time to talk mental health

Bronze medalist, 2-time champ to speak Saturday.

Jarrell Williams (1) and Thomas Baxter (84) celebrate a big play on defense early in Juneau's win over the visiting West Valley Rams. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Huskies get the Rams’ goat under Friday night lights

Juneau remains undefeated on the season.

FILE - Lance Mackey sits with his lead dogs Larry, right, and Maple after crossing the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race on March 18, 2009, in Nome, Alaska, to win his third Iditarod in a row. Mackey, a four-time Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race winner and one of mushing’s most colorful and accomplished champions who also suffered from health and drug issues, died Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022, his father and kennel announced on Facebook. He was 52. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)
Cancer claims 4-time Iditarod champion Lance Mackey

Officials with the world’s most famous sled dog race said Iditarod Nation was in mourning.