JDHS’ Mila Hargrave (24) sinks a shot during a game against TMHS on March 5, 2022. JDHS would go on to win the match. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

JDHS’ Mila Hargrave (24) sinks a shot during a game against TMHS on March 5, 2022. JDHS would go on to win the match. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

‘We certainly got better as the season went on’: JDHS coach reflects on the completed season

Only three teams bested the Crimson Bears this season.

The Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé girls had a competitive season, going 18-8, but ultimately fell to Ketchikan in the Region V Tournament.

The team showed great improvement from their early season, said Coach Steve Potter.

“Well, obviously I’d like to be playing today up in Anchorage,” Potter said. “I feel like we certainly got better as the season went on. We were pretty one dimensional at the beginning of the season and we expanded what we could do.”

[Charity dinner and auction to benefit Ukraine]

The Crimson Bear’s season ended with a 32-24 loss to Ketchikan in the regional tournament earlier in the month.

“Unfortunately, beating Ketchikan wasn’t something we could do,” Potter said. “We could slow them down, but we couldn’t score against them.”

After the hard-fought loss, there were hopes the team would receive an at-large bid in the state tournament, but that did not materialize. JDHS’ chances of an at-large bid were also defeated by the small region the school is part of, Potter said.

“Any time that Southeast has a situation like we did this year where Ketchikan is clearly the conference winner it’ll be hard for the second seed to get any kind of at-large bid,” Potter said. “The pool of teams is so small that any kind of ranking system is going to get distorted.”

Potter said he regrets that the team wasn’t able to go further after improving greatly and losing only to Ketchikan, Wasilla and Colony —some of the top teams in the state.

“Obviously we would’ve liked to have done better,” Potter said. “The only teams we lost to are in the state tournament. We only lost to three teams this year.”

The team flowered as the season progressed, Potter said, improving on shortcomings exposed earlier.

“The girls definitely improved throughout the year. We went from playing less than 20 games last year to playing 26 this year,” Potter said. “I thought that our defense was really, really heavily reliant on the guards to start the year. But as the year went on our rotations got better. I think we had the secondary rotations improve quite a bit.”

Defense wasn’t the only area of improvement, Potter said.

“Offensively, we definitely found ways to incorporate more people in the offense,” Potter said. “I think in the first game of the year Skylar (Tuckwood) and Trinity (Jackson) both had 20. We had several kids scoring in double figures this year.”

A solid core of juniors to anchor the team around will return next year, Potter said, including Tuckwood, Carlynn Casperson, Kiyara Miller, Mariah Schauwecker, Mariah Schauwecker and Izabella Waters.

“We had six seniors and four of them played pretty heavy minutes. We’re not going to be without experience. We’re just not going to be as deep as I thought we were this year,” Potter said. “I feel like we’ll be a solid seven. I’m hoping with some offseason work we’ll be eight or nine deep.”

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.

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