Daily Sitka Sentinel
The MEHS girls rallied from down 13 points to take the lead in the fourth quarter against Sitka. The Lady Wolves pulled out the game to finish the conference regular season undefeated, but the Lady Braves are confident after going toe-to-toe with Southeast’s best team, Blackhurst said.
“I think for us, they’re the top of the league right now,” he said. “For us to come out and give them a tough game, we use that as a barometer and a confidence builder that the girls can play with anybody when they show up.”
Edgecumbe opens Region V tournament play in Ketchikan tomorrow at 3 p.m., with a first-round game against a dangerous Metlakatla team.
The Lady Braves beat the Miss Chiefs twice in the regular season on Japonski Island, but the wins were by a total of 7 points. Blackhurst said the Lady Braves will be fine if they come to play.
“We’ve shown we can beat everybody, we just need to take care of business and be focused,” Blackhurst said. “The key for us is really going to be defense. I think that’s a mentality more than anything. We just have to bring that intensity.”
Dating back to 1999, the Lady Braves have won eight of the 13 Region V 3A girls titles. They went back-to-back in 2008 and 2009 before falling to Sitka High in the 2010 championship game. The Lady Braves went on to win a state title that year.
But MEHS missed state last year and the Lady Braves enter the 2012 tournament looking to right the ship.
“We’re determined to get back up to Anchorage,” Blackhurst said.
The Lady Braves have enough talent to compete with anybody in the conference. But a tough January road schedule and injuries and illness have hindered the Lady Braves’ developing as a cohesive unit. Blackhurst, though, said things are coming together as the MEHS players “start to better understand their roles.”
Against Sitka, the Lady Braves got a big boost from the return of sophomore Scarlett Beaver, who had missed games the previous weekend with an illness. Beaver had 19 points last Saturday, including eight straight in the third quarter as MEHS erased the Sitka lead.
Freshman Taryn White has become a strong post presence for the Lady Braves, while Brenna Johanson, Mariah Martin and Brandi Hale can each score the basketball.
Melissa Fisher, Danielle Fields and Venita Demoski round out what may be the deepest rotation in the region, besides Sitka High.