Chugiak Lady Mustangs take Capital City championship
JUNEAU — The Juneau-Douglas High School girls basketball team found its offensive groove in the second half against Chugiak on Dec. 30. But it was too little, too late.
The Warriors matched the defensive intensity that has become the hallmark of this year’s Crimson Bears squad in a 48-42 victory at JDHS that sent Chugiak home with the Capital City Classic championship and gave JDHS its first loss of the season.
“It feels pretty good,” Chugiak coach Ryan Hales said of the win. “We’ve got some things we’ve got to work on, but they’re a good team. ... It was a great tournament and lots of hospitality from everyone.”
Tournament MVP Nicole Pinckney led Chugiak (3-1) with 14 points. Randi McMullen added 13 and Hannah Russell scored 11 in the win.
Chugiak won three games in Juneau, two in the Classic, with a win against Thunder Mountain Dec. 27 that did not count in the tournament.
A’yanna Tippins of Chugiak, who had 6 against Juneau-Douglas, was also named to the All-Tournament team along with McMullen and Pinckney. The trio scored all 10 of Chugiak’s first quarter points and 15 of the 19 by halftime.
After going 1-of-4 from the free throw line in the first three quarters, the Lady Mustangs sealed the win at the stripe in the fourth going 9-of-13 led by Pinckney’s perfect 6-of-6.
JDHS senior guard Kallen Hoover gave the Crimson Bears the spark they needed in the fourth, scoring seven of her game-high 15 points. Senior Tona Fogg contributed nine points, freshman forward Caitlyn Pusich had eight, sophomore forward Cassie Dzinich six and senior forward Cristina Arehart added four.
“(Hoover) is going to the basket, that’s her bread-and-butter,” JDHS coach Lesslie Knight said. “Cassie Dzinich did a phenomenal job two nights in a row coming off the bench. We want her to come off the bench and finish for us.”
The Crimson Bears (5-1) went into the locker room trailing 11-19 at halftime, and the Mustangs continued their momentum into the third by trapping and playing a tough zone defense that limited opportunities for JDHS on offense.
“I think our pressure helped a little bit, but we fouled more than I like at the end,” Hales said. “We had some players step up, and we rebounded and finished well.”
Chugiak increased its lead to 31-19 with three minutes remaining in the third when Dzinich scored on an offensive rebound followed by a 3-pointer from Pusich to end the quarter 31-24.
The Crimson Bears had their best offensive series in the fourth, scoring 18 points. But so did Chugiak, which scored 17. JDHS cut the lead to six after two free throws from Fogg, 41-35. From there it became a free throw shooting contest, with Chugiak making 3-of-4 and JDHS shooting 3-of-6. Only one field goal was made, a Pusich layup, by either team in the final four minutes of play.
Chugiak shot 10-of-17 from the free throw line on the night, compared to 8-of-21 by JDHS.
CAPITAL CITY CLASSIC AWARDS
Nicole Pinckney, Chugiak
A’yanna Tippins, Chugiak
Randi McMullen, Chugiak
Lara Creighton, Kenai
Tatum Bayne, Sitka
Zosha Krupa, Sitka
Kallen Hoover, Juneau-Douglas
Erica Hurtte, Juneau-Douglas