Daily Sitka Sentinel
ANCHORAGE — The Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears came into Thursday’s first-round girls 4A state tournament game looking to avenge a 54-38 mid-season loss to the Dimond Lynx, who started the day at 23-0.
And JDHS, the seven seed, celebrated a major upset, scoring a 50-44 upset that tore the Lynx from the undefeated ranks in Alaska basketball.
The last time they met, the Crimson Bears didn’t have a healthy Kaitlin Fagerstrom and Gabi Fenumiai. They did on Thursday night, and they had a fired up Marissa Brakes to lead them and sharpshooter Esra Siddeek finding space on the perimeter.
Fenumiai scored seven points in the fourth quarter and Fagerstrom six as the Crimson Bears gave the Lynx their first loss of the season.
“It was great,” Fagerstrom said. “I heard a lot about them. This is just great. We gave it our all.”
With 24 seconds remaining in the game, senior Sierra Tagaban blocked the shot of Dimond’s Tara Thompson and Kymberlee Kelly hit a free throw for a 48-41 advantage.
With 17 seconds left, the drama continued as Dimond’s Alexis Rogers was fouled on a 3-point attempt. Rogers hit just one of the three foul shots but the Lynx’ Thompson rebounded and was fouled, netting both to pull within four at 48-44.
With 13 seconds remaining Siddeek nailed two charity stripe shots for a game-high 22 points and a 50-44 win.
The only first-round upset of the 4A boys state tournament came at the expense of the Juneau-Douglas Crimson Bears. The JDHS boys led most of the way, but could not hold on in the fourth quarter and lost 47-46 to Service. Tony Yadao had 18 for the Southeast 4A champs, but it was not enough to keep JDHS from dropping a first-round state game for the seventh straight year. The Crimson Bears were the fourth seed, Service was seeded fifth.
In other 4A boys action Thursday, Bartlett crushed Colony 87-49, Dimond ran past Kenai 61-22 and top-seeded Wasilla beat Lathrop 60-45. Anchorage rivals Dimond and Bartlett were to meet today in one semifinal game, with Wasilla and Service also meeting in the semifinals.
The only upset in the 4A girls tournament also came in the game between the four and five seeds Thursday as Colony beat Soldotna 44-45. In other 4A girls action top-seeded Wasilla beat Palmer 50-31 and West Valley topped West Anchorage 48-32. West Valley was set to play JDHS in one girls semifinals game. Wasilla and Colony will meet in the other final four game.