Points were hard to come by in the girls Region V 4A title game, as Ketchikan High School won a low-scoring match against Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday.
The Kings beat the Crimson Bears 37-27. Kayhi’s 10-point margin proved a huge gap in the game as neither team could find room to shoot. Ketchikan applied a full-court press in the second quarter that stifled JDHS’ offense and led to 30 turnovers for the Crimson Bears.
Kayhi senior Courtney Kemble gobbled up a ton of rebounds, at times earning two or three attempts on a possession. Kemble credited JDHS’ defense for keeping the game close.
“They played really good defense, and we were expecting that, so we were just trying to get the ball inside,” she said. “We didn’t get as many outside shots as we wanted. … We did really well rebounding, and I think that’s why the game ended up how it did.”
Ketchikan senior Eliah Anderson scored 12 points, senior Charley Edwardson had 10, and Kemble added six.
JDHS senior Cristina Arehart led Juneau Douglas with 10 points, followed by seniors Tona Fogg and Kallen Hoover with four each.
JDHS head coach Lesslie Knight enjoyed her team’s inspired defense but felt they lacked experience on offense.
“Our kids played really, really hard,” she said. “I think we did an amazing job keeping Ketchikan under 40 points … Ketchikan is tough, they put a lot of pressure on us. We have a lot of young kids, and we threw the ball away more than we should have. Defensively we did a great job. Offensively, we panicked, and our inexperience showed.”
Ketchikan started the game looking like they would run away with it, jumping to a 9-1 lead. JDHS bounced back before the end of the first to head into the second down 14-10. Kayhi applied their patented full-court press in the second to force turnovers and push the game to 24-14 by halftime.
JDHS played better on the glass in the third, as Cristina Arehart clamped down on the boards to spur a 6-0 Crimson Bears scoring run. Freshman Alexyn Bohulano picked Kayhi senior Charley Edwardson for a couple of steals in the period.
Up 30-24 in the fourth, Ketchikan looked to trap JDHS’ young ball handlers in the open court and close the door on JDHS’ title hopes.
Ketchikan head coach Kelly Smith’s girls are heading to the state tournament as the Region V 4A representatives.
“When you require as much work and discipline as our basketball program does, and you win things like this, it validates what we require,” Smith said. “If the one thing our kids leave this program with is that you get what you’ve earned, then we’ve done our job.”
The March Madness Alaska Basketball State Championships begin March 24 in Anchorage.