Hoonah’s Mackenzie Nichols eyes the hoop while defended by Prince of Wales’ Michaela Demmert in the first half of a 63-43 Prince of Wales win. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Hoonah’s Mackenzie Nichols eyes the hoop while defended by Prince of Wales’ Michaela Demmert in the first half of a 63-43 Prince of Wales win. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Prince of Wales topples Hoonah in Gold Medal Women’s Bracket

Prince of Wales started slow but finished with a flurry with a 63-43 win.

  • By Klas Stolpe For the Juneau Empire
  • Tuesday, March 21, 2023 11:35am
  • SportsBasketball

Prince of Wales started slow but finished with a flurry with a 63-43 win over Hoonah on Monday in the Women’s Bracket of the 74th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium.

Prince of Wales’ Nani Weimer, Lillian Borromeo, Michaela Demmert and Sarah Dybdahl all found baskets in the first quarter as they held a 10-9 advantage over Hoonah.

Hoonah’s Olivia Morrison and Alona Howland hit from past the arch, Morrison added a layup and Melissa Fisher hit a free throw to keep pace. Hoonah’s Howland would connect from distance again in the second quarter and added a short jumper to score all five of Hoonah’s points.

Hoonah’s Alona Howland corrals a loose ball with teammate Olivia Morrison (23) not far behind during the first quarter of an eventual loss to Prince of Wales. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Hoonah’s Alona Howland corrals a loose ball with teammate Olivia Morrison (23) not far behind during the first quarter of an eventual loss to Prince of Wales. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Five Prince of Wales’ players would find the scorebook in the second period with Weimer and Demmert hitting from distance, Holein and Molly Sharp a bit closer in, and Cassie Williams battling inside for a basket and earning four shots from the free throw line as POW took a 26-14 advantage at the half.

“Ball movement, we really talked about ball movement,” Prince of Wales’ Kenai Holien said. “We are just getting used to playing with each other. This group has never played together so just getting to know how we all play is key. We have a good squad here, a good balance, so I am kind of excited for the next couple days.”

Prince of Wales’ Nani Weimer shoots over Hoonah’s Tanya Nizich (3) during a Prince of Wales win in the women’s bracket of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. The Prince of Wales-Hoonah game was the last game of the tournament’s second day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Prince of Wales’ Nani Weimer shoots over Hoonah’s Tanya Nizich (3) during a Prince of Wales win in the women’s bracket of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. The Prince of Wales-Hoonah game was the last game of the tournament’s second day. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Prince of Wales’ Williams would hit eight points inside in the third quarter, Holein seven and Weimer three as they increased their advantage to 44-29.

Hoonah’s Rachael White found a long range shot in the stanza, Morrison hit two inside and Vonelle Staveland, Tanya Nizich and Fisher all had successful trips to the free-throw line to keep pace.

Elizabeth Isaacs joined the Prince of Wales scoring machine with eight points in the fourth quarter as the lead increased and Prince of Wales outscored Hoonah 19-14 over the final 10 minutes of action.

“A lot of our team is new,” Hoonah coach Louie White Jr. said. “So we are trying to build a lot of continuity as a team. And we were a little nervous… I had to pull a few of them out just to recover. And we ran into a buzz saw. They have four or five really good ballers. We just need to build trust and that is something you don’t get overnight, and we are asking them to do that in a week.”

Prince of Wales Michaela Demmert makes her way down the court for a layup with Hoonah’s Ronnie Roberts (11) in pursuit. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Prince of Wales Michaela Demmert makes her way down the court for a layup with Hoonah’s Ronnie Roberts (11) in pursuit. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Williams led Prince of Wales with 19 points, Holein added 13, Weimer 12, Isaacs eight, Demmert five, Borromeo, Sharp and Dybdahl two each.

Prince of Wales hit 7-8 at the free throw line, Hoonah 11-22.

Morrison led Hoonah with 11 points, Howland added 10, White eight, Staveland seven, Fisher three, and Nizich and Rebekah Contreras two apiece.

Prince of Wales advances to play Sitka at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Hoonah plays an elimination game at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

All five of Prince of Wales’ Gold Medal Championships have come in the Women’s Bracket (1999-2002, and 2005). Hoonah won the Women’s Bracket in 2015, a 66-57 win over Angoon.

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