Crimson Bears face ‘fierce’ Lady Kings, 45-40

By Jasz Garrett

JDHS sophomore Gwen Nizich (#15) was her team’s lead scorer Saturday night. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – With only 7 seconds to go in the last quarter Saturday night, the Juneau-Douglas Kalé High School Girls’ basketball team, the Crimson Bears, and the Ketchikan High School’s Ketchikan Lady Kings were 43-40. People held their breaths in the stands while they watched Ketchikan try to take over the lead.

It was a fast-paced and aggressive game from the beginning to the end on both sides.

Ultimately, the Crimson Bears took the victory, 45-40.

JDHS senior Rayna Tuckwood, #4, said this is what was going through her head in those final moments.

“I think we’re all just kind of looking at each other on the court and we’re like we just need to stay calm,” she said. “This has happened before. We’ve all played in very close games and with little time left and we’re like, slow it down, just work together.”

JDHS senior Chloe Casperson, #11, said no matter what point they’re at in the game, she keeps her eyes on the ball and on making her passes right.

Head Coach Tayna Nizich said that Ketchikan is a common opponent, and on Saturday night, Ketchikan’s team came in “fierce”. But JDHS was prepared for their aggression level. Coach Nizich knows that in just a night, it can become a completely different ballgame.

Coach Nizich said the girls did a great job being confident and calm with the ball.

“I feel like as much as all of us want to throw different things at each other, we’ve exhausted it by the end. Come to regions we’ve seen about everything that you could throw at each other,” Coach Nizich said. “So, it just comes down to hard work and being smart.”

“We knew they were gonna come back harder than they did before and so, we were just all talking as a team,” Tuckwood added. “Saying like, we need to keep it up and stay up on them.”

KHS Kari Klinger (#20) scores and is congratulated by Bree Johnson (#22). (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

JDHS sophomore, Gwen Nizich, #15, finished the game with the highest score for JDHS at 22 points. She said communication is key for the team.

She added that they have been working on improving their offense, and as far as her personal growth, she said controlling her speed, setting up plays, and making smart passes have been the focus.

“We’ve been working on our inside-outside game offense and so, those ball screens really helped,” G. Nizich said. “Ketchikan’s a great team. We were trying to play at our own tempo and not play to the other team’s tempo. Playing at our own speed really helped tonight.”

G. Nizich said that her teammates know each other’s style and know how to work well together. She added that she’s had a love for basketball since a young age and she looks forward to seeing where it takes her.

JDHS G. Nizich shoots the ball Saturday with KHS Johnson on her heels. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)
The JDHS girls face Coach George Houston’s portrait while listening to the JDHS pep band play the National Anthem pre-game. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)

A public celebration of life for former JDHS coach George Houston will be held Monday at JDHS from 5-7 p.m. in the newly renamed George Houston gymnasium. Houston coached JDHS basketball for 32 years. If someone is unable to attend the memorial in person, they can listen from home on KINY.

KHS Johnson scored a total of 19 points for her team Saturday night. JDHS Head Coach Nizich said she was who they fought to contain throughout the game. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)
G. Nizich, not holding back. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)
JDHS senior Mila Hargrave (#24) making a layup in the hoop on Saturday. (Photo credit Jasz Garrett/KINY)