TMHS Ashlyn Gates takes the ball in for a layup against JDHS on Thursday during their second 4A game of the Region V tournament at TMHS. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

TMHS Ashlyn Gates takes the ball in for a layup against JDHS on Thursday during their second 4A game of the Region V tournament at TMHS. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

TMHS beats JDHS in close region match

JDHS plays Ketchikan Friday at 11:30 a.m.

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Region V tournament is made possible by Sealaska Corp. Thanks to this sponsorship, this article —and all 2023 Region V coverage — is available online without a subscription to the Empire.

It’s a tale as old as time, two cross-town rivals play close matchups every time they meet and the second night of the 4A Region V tournament between Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé girls vs. Thunder Mountain High School was no exception.

For the first three quarters both teams kept the score within a few points but by the fourth the Lady Falcons managed to pull ahead with the lead for a 46-36 finish. TMHS coach Andy Lee said that while holding the No. 1 seed is a new position for the team, staying focused and coming back from being down on points is nothing they haven’t seen before.

“There were a lot of jitters and butterflies but we had those in California and we had those in Sitka, so we’ve done that a little bit, so we know what that feels like, that’s called experience,” Lee said. “In the past it was called a loss but now we’ve turned our losses into wisdom and experience. Kiara Kookesh put us on her back, she said, ‘OK, let’s go kids.’ She woman’d up and if that hadn’t happened, we wouldn’t have won this game.”

Kookesh led the Lady Falcons with a total of 14 points with Kerra Baxter right behind with 13 points. For JDHS, Mila Hargrave led the Crimson Bears with 15 points and Skylar Tuckwood came in with 7 points. JDHS coach Tanya Nizich said fouls and lack of shots taken added up against the team in the end.

“I thought our defense was really good tonight and rotated well,” Nizich said. “We didn’t take nearly as many shots as we normally do and we definitely needed to do that, you have to put the ball up in order to score. We had a lot of energy in the first half, we were looking to attack the basket, so to jump out and have 14 points in the first quarter and then 1 point in the second quarter is a bit unacceptable.”

JDHS will play Ketchikan in an elimination game Friday at 11:30 a.m., and the winner of that game will advance to play TMHS at 6:30 p.m. with a Region V title on the line.

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at

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