Colony High School’s Madison Dunlop dribbles up the court while Thunder Mountain’s Riley Traxler defends in the closing moments of the Knights’ 53-40 win over the Falcons at TMHS on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

Colony High School’s Madison Dunlop dribbles up the court while Thunder Mountain’s Riley Traxler defends in the closing moments of the Knights’ 53-40 win over the Falcons at TMHS on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Nolin Ainsworth | Juneau Empire)

TMHS hoopsters remain positive after defeat

Falcons can’t make up for poor first half.

The Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team’s measure of success isn’t like most other teams.

For now, it’s not whether the Falcons win or lose that matters, but something else.

“We have to have improvement and if we don’t improve, then we lose,” TMHS coach Andy Lee said.

Using this line of reasoning, Saturday’s 53-40 loss to Colony High School at TMHS wasn’t a total defeat, said Lee. The first-year Falcons coach lauded his team’s resiliency against the Knights, who on Friday beat the Falcons by 28 points.

“We have not won a first quarter (yet) so we’ve fought every game,” he said. “And that’s just that comfort zone. We haven’t learned to win. It’s just not skills, but you got to do little things to win.”

Taz Hauck led TMHS with 10 points and Avery Kreischer and Mary Neal Garcia combined for 16 points. Riley Traxler finished with five points. For Colony, Hannah Duguid scored 15 points and Tori Schwantes added 13 points.

Colony jumped out to the early lead, holding TMHS to just one point in the first eight minutes. But thanks to strong contributions by Traxler and Kreischer, the Falcons outscored the Knights by one point in the second half

“They’re an older team, they have had the same plays for years, they have a great solid coach,” Hauck said. “We’re coming in (with a) new coach. We have a lot of players that haven’t had the experience that most people have had.”

With the loss, TMHS fell to 2-4, and now hits the road for several games in the Ice Jam Tournament hosted by West Valley High School in Fairbanks. The Falcons won two of three games in the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic to begin the season.

Lee said his focus will remain on the big-picture trajectory of the program.

“We’re building from the very basics,” he said. “We’re learning to dribble, we’re learning to pass, we’re learning to shoot. So until we learn those things and are confident with those things, winning is something that we’ll take when we can get it. We understand (wins) are going to be hard to come by for a while.”


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com.