The Ketchikan High School girls basketball team pressed and rebounded its way to a win against Thunder Mountain High School on Friday at the Thunderdome.
The Kings pulled out their 53-37 win against the Falcons after withstanding a productive first half from the home team, which held a three-point advantage after two quarters. Ketchikan steadily built its lead in the third and fourth off turnovers and the hot hands of guard AJ Dela Cruz, who hit three 3-pointers in the third.
“My teammates give me all the confidence I need. Seeing it go through the basket helps a lot though,” Dela Cruz said. “Playing Thunder Mountain is always fun; we know they’re gonna come at us. Every game the past few years has been, you know, ‘who’s going to win?’ This year, they have nothing to lose.”
Ketchikan forward Eliah Anderson led all scorers with 20 points. Guards Charley Edwardson and Dela Cruz had 10 and nine, respectively. Courtney Kemble contributed six and Brittany Slick had five.
Thunder Mountain was led by guard Ava Tompkins with 13 points. Forward Alondra Echiverri had 12 points, forward Nina Fenumiai had six and forward Kyra Hayes added four.
Junior forward Alondra Echiverri helped the Falcons break Ketchikan’s relentless full-court press, which for much of the game Thunder Mountain dealt with well.
“I think we could easily get the ball across (half court) every time but we overthink it,” Echiverri said, adding that she felt good about her team’s effort in the loss. “We hustled all the way to the buzzer. We did have a lot of turnovers and some mistakes. I feel good about it, and I hope tomorrow we can get a win.”
TMHS head coach Tanya Nizich echoed Echiverri’s statement.
“It’s one thing if we lost and gave up, but it’s another thing if you’re working all the way through the buzzer, then there’s nothing to argue,” Nizich said.
Thunder Mountain looked to take control early in the game as the Kings looked a bit tentative offensively. The Falcons took a seven-point lead after five minutes of play by finding players open in the backdoor when Ketchikan would overcommit on defense. The Falcons led 13-7 going into the second.
The Kings got to the line repeatedly in the second, going 8-of-12 in the quarter to close the half down 21-18. Kayhi came out in the third with a renewed intensity in the backcourt, forcing several turnovers and holding the Falcons to four points. Dela Cruz made her mark in the quarter with three 3-point field goals, leading the Kings to a 33-25 lead going into the final period of play.