JDHS' Kendyl Carson attempts a layup with Kayhi defender Payton Simmons looking on.

JDHS' Kendyl Carson attempts a layup with Kayhi defender Payton Simmons looking on.

Team to beat: JDHS girls convincing in conference opener

Juneau-Douglas High School hasn’t beaten the Ketchikan Lady Kings since junior post Cassie Dzinich put on a Crimson Bears jersey. Ketchikan has had its grips on the Southeast 4A basketball title for three straight years, taking the region’s only state tournament berth every year since the 2014 season.

That changed Friday night as the JDHS girls opened conference play with a convincing 57-39 win over their Region V rivals. It was an “exciting” outcome for Dzinich, who tied Kayhi’s Payton Simmons with a game-high 17 points.


“The last three years, Ketchikan has been a real strong team, and still is,” Dzinich said. “It’s the first time I’ve beaten them in high school, so I’m pretty excited and I think the rest of the team is, too.”
Most of the conference schedule is ahead for both teams — and a lot of questions remain — but Friday’s win set Juneau-Douglas up as the “team to beat,” according to Ketchikan coach Kelly Smith.
“The speed of them really, really threw us off,” Smith said. “It’s been five, six years since we weren’t the fastest team out there, and we just, we’re not, so we have to make that up in some areas. … Juneau right now, I think, is the team to beat.”


Kendyl Carson followed Dzinich in the scoring column on Friday with 13 while Caitlyn Pusich added nine. Following Simmons on Kayhi’s scoresheet was Brittany Slick with 15.


The winning formula for JDHS: scoring from Dzinich, Carson and Pusich; defensive leadership from Alyxn Bohulano, and open-court relentlessness from the entire squad.


“The good news is we got out and ran the floor well. One of the things we’ve been working on is getting out wide in the open court,” Knight said. “Every other game, we started out missing a few layups in the first couple of quarters, and tonight we finished.”


Bohulano’s defensive effort stood out as a game-changer to Smith.


“You can talk about all of them, but Alexyn, her defensive effort can’t go unnoticed. You have to gameplan against her,” Smith said.


JDHS would do well to enjoy the win while it can: both coaches indicated that conference play will likely tighten as the season progesses. Thunder Mountain is “improving very quickly,” in JDHS coach Lesslie Knight’s words.


Ketchikan played Friday without starting guard AJ Dela Cruz, a player Smith said is “one of the best in the state.”


Dela Cruz will be back in Kayhi’s starting lineup when the Crimson Bears travel to Ketchikan for their second set of conference games on Feb. 17 and 18.


JDHS plays Kayhi again at home at 8 p.m. Saturday.


Juneau-Douglas 16 12 16 13 —57
Ketchikan 8 13 7 11 —39
Juneau-Douglas (57) — Dzinich 17, Carson 13, Pusich 9, Bohulano 8, Hickok 5, Robinson 3, Bathija 2
Ketchikan (39) — Simmons 17, Slick 15, Johnson 3, McClennan 3, Huffine 1
Free throws — Juneau-Douglas 15-20, Ketchikan 10-21
3-point goals — Juneau-Douglas 2, Ketchikan 3
Team fouls — Juneau-Douglas 21, Ketchikan 14

More in Sports

Competitors in the AlaskAcross 2024 race prepare to depart from Eagle Summit at 10 a.m. on June 8, 2024. From left are Bruno Grunau, Mark Ross, Forest Wagner, Mike Fisher, Sarah Hurkett, Clinton Brown, Tracie Curry and Curtis Henry. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Journey through a sub-Arctic summer night

“You guys are the result of thousands of years of selection,” Fran… Continue reading

Barn swallows firmly attach their nests to walls, so they support the weight of nestlings and visiting adults.  (Photo by Bob Amrstrong)
On the Trails: Spring to summer

Spring temperatures were cool this year, but the lengthening days gave birds… Continue reading

In the spirit of Dolly Parton’s country music roots, race participant Mendenhall River Community School Principal Eric Filardi runs in costume with young Lucy Vogel wearing heart-shaped sunglasses as they enjoy the sunny Saturday weather on the Airport Dike Trail race course. About 85 runners participated, many wearing pearls and pink hats provided at the starting tent. (Laurie Craig / Juneau Empire)
Busting out the pink and pearls at the first Dolly Dash

Dolly Parton-inspired fun run raises funds for free books for kids.

People often use sea ice, as seen here off Alaska’s northern coast outside the town of Utqiagvik, for travelling. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Did sea ice help populate the Americas?

Human footprints preserved in mud at White Sands National Park in New… Continue reading

A cruise ship makes its way through early morning fog last summer. The passengers who have been arriving lately have not been experiencing similar tranquility. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: Racing the weather

Daylight is unstoppable this time of year. Not like up in the… Continue reading

Brown-headed cowbirds are professional egg-dumpers, always parasitizing the nests of other species. (CC BY 2.0 public domain photo).
On the Trails: Egg dumping behavior

Egg-dumping refers to the behavior of a female who puts her eggs… Continue reading

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Landon Simonson is greeted at home after hitting a grand slam on Friday during the Division I Alaska School Activities Association Baseball State Championships in Anchorage. (Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report)
JDHS baseball, TMHS softball teams make it to final day of state tournaments

Crimson Bears play for consolation title after grand slam win Friday; Falcons still in title hunt

Members of the Thunder Mountain High School softball team pose for a shot following their 18-0 victory against North Pole High School on Friday during the Division II Alaska School Activities Association Softball State Championships in Fairbanks. (Thunder Mountain Softball photo)
Final flight of the TMHS Falcons ends with 6-4 loss on final day of state softball tournament

“It’s been a fun ride,” coach says as team wins conference title, goes 29-12 during its final season.

Juneau’s Nate Fick leaps to make a catch while another Eagle River run scores during the opening game Thursday of the Division I Alaska School Activities Association Baseball State Championships. (Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report)
Crimson Bears finish sixth at state baseball tournament, coach calls season promising for young team

JDHS loses to Chugiak in consolation finale; scenarios for next season expand due to TMHS merger.

Thunder Mountain High School’s Ashlyn Gates, seen here pitching against Sitka High School during the Region V softball conference tournament last Saturday in Juneau, was named player of the game in an 8-0 win over Delta Junction High School to open the state softball title tournament on Thursday in Fairbanks. (Jasz Garrett / Juneau Empire file photo)
TMHS wins state softball tournament openers 8-0, 16-1; JDHS falls short in baseball title quest

Falcons face Kodiak High School on Friday, Crimson Bears play consolation game against Colony.

The Fairbanks Experimental Farm on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus opened in 1906. (UAF photo by Todd Paris, taken in September 2014)
Alaska Science Forum: The gardening potential of the Last Frontier

More than 100 years ago, a man traveled north on a mission… Continue reading

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé’s Ida Meyer (301) and Etta Eller (294) lead the 3,200 at the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska Track and Field State Championships on Saturday. (Pete Pounds / Alaska Sports Report)
JDHS’ Etta Eller takes gold, Ida Meyer silver in 3,200 at state track and field championships

Eller also wins 1,600; Wilder Dillingham wins 200 during event in Anchorage.