Juneau-Douglas’ Paige Adams, center, celebrates a point with her teammates against Thunder Mountain during the Region V Volleyball Tournament at Thunder Mountain High School on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. JDHS won 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20). (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Juneau-Douglas’ Paige Adams, center, celebrates a point with her teammates against Thunder Mountain during the Region V Volleyball Tournament at Thunder Mountain High School on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019. JDHS won 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20). (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

‘We just wanted to prove everybody wrong’: JDHS upsets Thunder Mountain for Region V title

Next stop: state.

After a one-year hiatus, the Juneau-Douglas: Yadaat.at Kalé volleyball team will return to the state tournament — a trip they’ve made over 20 times — after upsetting reigning region champion Thunder Mountain High School.

The Crimson Bears defeated the Falcons 30-24 in the Region V 4A championship tiebreaker match on Saturday night at TMHS.

JDHS defeated their crosstown rivals in that single-set match immediately following a 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19) loss to the Falcons. However, thanks to their semifinals win on Friday over TMHS, which snapped a six-game losing streak, the Crimson Bears were given a second shot at the championship in the form of the 30-point tiebreaker.

Senior Addie Prussing had two aces and junior Jojo Griggs had six kills, including the championship-clinching point. Prussing had seven aces, and Griggs had 13 kills in the prior match.

“All season we’ve been saying that we’re going to peak right at the perfect time and did,” Prussing said. “We pushed and we played hard.”

[See photos of the action here]

Tasi Fenumiai, Avery Kreischer and Lily Smith had three kills apiece for the Falcons. In the first match, Fenumiai had 12 kills, junior Sophia Harvey had nine kills and senior Bridget Gehring had 22 digs.

“We did our job today — we didn’t win — but we did our job,” TMHS coach Julie Herman said. “We wanted that first match and we wanted them to have to beat us well, in 30, and we took them high into the 20s on that last set, and so I feel really good about that game. I really do.”

After TMHS tied the match at 10-10, Prussing, Griggs, Brooke Sanford, Merry Newman and Jenae Pusich went to work, each recording kills in 9-3 run.

Sanford, a sophomore, said Friday’s semifinal win was a huge confidence booster. TMHS swept the season series between the two sides and twice upended the Crimson Bears in the JIVE Tournament last month.

“We just knew that this was the only time that mattered, this was the only game that mattered,” Sanford said. “So we knew we had to put everything we had into the last game. So I think that helped a lot knowing that this was it, this was our last game against them.”

The Crimson Bears were without Griggs for the big win on Friday and much of the last month after an upper-body muscle strain. JDHS relied heavily on junior Kiana Potter in Griggs’ absence. Potter became the Crimson Bears’ go-to setter, a role she seemed to embrace.

“Kiana really stepped up her game the last couple of weeks when we needed her to,” JDHS coach Jody Levernier said. “She did a phenomenal job. She really, really played well the last couple weeks, the best I’ve seen her play all season.”

Potter said it was daunting having several teammates go down with injuries.

“And then last night we played Thunder Mountain and winning that game in three (sets), that was what we needed to figure out that we can do this, we got this,” Potter said. “And then Jojo comes back and has the game of her life. So we had it in us all along, and we just wanted to prove everybody wrong who didn’t believe in us.”

The state tournament starts Thursday at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. The Crimson Bears last appeared in the event two years ago, when they went 1-2 to finish fifth.

2019 Region V Volleyball Tournament

Thunder Mountain High School


Quarterfinals: JDHS def. Ketchikan 3-1 (25-8, 25-14, 14-25, 25-15)


Semifinals: JDHS def. TMHS 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-20)

Loser-out semifinals: TMHS def. Ketchikan 3-0 (25-8, 25-14, 25-13)


Championship*: TMHS def. JDHS 3-1 (25-20, 25-20, 17-25, 25-19)

Championship tiebreaker: JDHS def. TMHS 30-24

*A JDHS loss forces a 30-point tiebreaker for the Region V championship.

All-Conference Team

Jojo Griggs (JDHS), Sophia Harvey (TMHS), Addie Prussing (JDHS), Mady Purcell (Ketchikan), Bridget Gehring (TMHS), Mariah Tanuvasa-Tuvaifale (TMHS).


Region V Volleyball 4A Champions (1973-2019)

1973 — Mt. Edgecumbe; 1974 — Mt. Edgecumbe; 1975 — Ketchikan; 1976 —Ketchikan; 1977 — Hoonah; 1978 — Hoonah; 1979— Sitka; 1980 — Juneau-Douglas; 1981 —Sitka; 1982 — Sitka; 1983 — Ketchikan; 1984 — Juneau-Douglas; 1985 — Juneau-Douglas; 1986 — Sitka; 1987 — Sitka; 1988 — Juneau-Douglas; 1989 — Juneau-Douglas; 1990 — Juneau-Douglas; 1991 — Juneau-Douglas; 1992 — Juneau-Douglas; 1993 — Sitka; 1994 — Sitka; 1995 — Juneau-Douglas; 1996 — Juneau-Douglas; 1997 — Juneau-Douglas; 1998 — Juneau-Douglas; 1999 — Juneau-Douglas; 2000 — Juneau-Douglas; 2002 — Juneau-Douglas; 2001 —Juneau-Douglas; 2003 — Juneau-Douglas; 2004 — Juneau-Douglas; 2005 — Juneau-Douglas; 2006 — Juneau-Douglas; 2007 — Juneau-Douglas; 2008 — Juneau-Douglas; 2009 — Juneau-Douglas; 2010 — Juneau-Douglas; 2011 — Juneau-Douglas; 2012 — Juneau-Douglas; 2013 — Juneau-Douglas; 2014 — Juneau-Douglas; 2015 — Ketchikan; 2016 — Juneau-Douglas; 2017 — Juneau-Douglas; 2018 — Thunder Mountain; 2019 — Juneau-Douglas.

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

More in Sports

JDHS senior Orion Dybdahl (20) shoots over the outstretched arms of TMHS junior James Polasky early in a Crimson Bears comeback win at Thunder Mountain High School. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
‘What a battle’: Fierce fourth quarter propels JDHS to narrow win over TMHS

Second game between Juneau teams went a lot like the first.

JDHS senior Kai Hargrave sets up to take the first of two free throw shots with 1.7 seconds left in Wednesday night’s game against Thunder Mountain High School. Hargrave’s last second shot secured the win for the Crimson Bears in their first conference game of the season. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)
JDHS wins first conference game in the last second

JDHS and TMHS play again Thursday night.

JDHS junior Sean Oliver and senior Orion Dybdahl share all-tournament honors at the conclusion of this year’s 3-game Al Howard Shootout tournament in Soldotna. (Courtesy Photo / Robert Casperson)
JDHS boys finish 2-1 in Al Howard Shootout tournament

Next, they play two cross-town games.

JDHS girls and boys basketball team pose for a photo outside after traveling to Soldotna for a 3-game tournament. (Courtesy Photo / Tanya Nizich)
JDHS girls win 2, lose 1 in tournament play

Next up, is an away game against Service High School.

Thunder Mountain’s Thomas Baxter (30) prepares to shoot the ball as Kayhi’s Archie Dundas (22), Jared Rhoades (15), and Andrew Kleinschmidt-Guthrie (13) try to block him during Thunder Mountain’s 54-56 loss to Kayhi on Friday at Ketchikan High School. On Saturday, the Falcons won the rematch 60-58. (Christopher Mullen / Ketchikan Daily News)
TMHS boys bounce back against Kayhi

Another day, another 2-point game.

TMHS sophomore Kerra Baxter (22) dribbles while surveying the court during a loss to Wasilla. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
TMHS loses two to Wasilla

Similar final scores, but two very different games.

Anna Dale, a senior and the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears Varsity hockey team’s assistant captain, goes above and beyond on and off the ice. Dale talked with the Empire about her love for the game and how hockey will continue to play a role in her future after high school. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire) Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Transcending Treadwell: Anna Dale hopes to play hockey at the next level and inspire others to get on the ice

“She’s somebody who takes some risks, keeps people together and goes to bat for the team.”

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé Crimson Bears hockey team played against Houston High School’s Hawks Friday evening at Houston’s home, one of three weekend of away games for the team. (Courtesy / Judy Campbell)
Crimson Bears hockey takes home mixed results from away games

The team preps for upcoming weekend home tournament and #LivelikeMatthewC game

Kayhi’s Lindsay Byron (21) tries to block Juneau’s Skylar Tuckwood (13) as she attempts a layup Friday at Ketchikan High School. Juneau won 40 to 33. Photo by Christopher Mullen Ketchikan Daily News
JDHS girls net big conference wins in Ketchikan

Crimson Bears girls find two wins against Lady Kings.

Most Read