Thunder Mountain wins when it counts

After two tough losses to their crosstown rivals last weekend, the Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team opened the Region V tournament with a much-needed win over Juneau-Douglas High School.

The Falcons beat the Crimson Bears 47-45 Tuesday at Mount Edgecumbe High School. Senior Ava Tompkins single-handedly carried Thunder Mountain to the win, scoring 32 points in a commanding performance. The 5’11” standout guard got to the line 20 times in the contest, hitting 13 free throws, and made eight field goals and a 3-pointer.

“Ava Tompkins carried us all the way. … The win was huge for us,” TMHS coach Tanya Nizich said. “We got them in a little bit of foul trouble, and realized, of course, that we have to just take it in and if they’re being physical the refs are going to call it, and that’s exactly what they did.”

JDHS coach Lesslie Knight praised Tompkins’ performance and lamented her team’s free throw shooting.

“Bottom line is we didn’t contain her at all and I think we can do a better job,” she said. “In the fourth quarter when we came back, we did double team and contain her. What killed us: We were 13-of-30 from the free-throw line. … As a team we didn’t shoot well.”

Behind Tompkins’ 32 points, junior Alondra Echiverri added six for the Falcons.

JDHS was led in defeat by seniors Kallen Hoover with 15, Cristina Arehart with 10 and Tona Fogg with seven.

Both teams started slowly, ending the first quarter with an 8-6 Crimson Bears advantage. Tompkins scored the Falcons’ first 12 points, with teammate Alondra Echiverri breaking into the scorebook halfway through the second.

Tomkins scored all 14 of her team’s points in the third quarter, as the Falcons held JDHS to six. The Crimson Bears double teamed the TMHS guard in the fourth, and turned their offense around by scoring a game-high 24 points in the period. By then TMHS’ Echiverri and senior Siniva Maka had found their offensive stride, scoring six points and four points, respectively, in the final quarter.