JUNEAU, ALASKA (KINY) - The Ketchikan Lady Kings defeated the East Anchorage Thunderbirds in their first game of the 2021 March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Thursday at Wasilla High School.
The Southeast Conference Champion Lady Kings overpowered the Cook Inlet Conference’s at-large bid Thunderbirds, 65-44.
Junior Jenae Rhoads led the Lady Kings with a game-high 24 points.
Ketchikan led 17-9 after one quarter and 27-14 at the half.
“Once we shook off the nerves it was just about being aggressive,” Ketchikan coach Kelly Smith said. “That is the whole key for us always, being aggressive.”
Ketchikan junior Shaelyn Mendoza got things going in the third quarter with a steal and a basket, and freshman Bree Johnson followed with another steal and threw a behind-the-back pass to Mendoza for another score.
“She made a couple huge plays,” Smith said. “She attacked the zone a couple times and dished the ball out to Jenae (Rhoads) for scores.”
Ketchikan led 54-29 after three quarters.
“There was one point in the third quarter where we stole the ball five straight times,” Smith said.
The Lady Kings outrebounded the Thunderbirds 27-14. Ketchikan had 13 steals, 13 team fouls and eight turnovers. East had five steals, 15 team fouls and 21 turnovers. The Lady Kings hit nine of 21 free throws; the Thunderbirds hit three of nine.
Ketchikan will play the Cook Inlet Conference Champion Bartlett Golden Bears in a semifinal 2 p.m. Friday at Palmer High School. Bartlett defeated Palmer 67-55 in their opening game.
“We just have to hit the reset button,” Smith said. “Every team in the semifinals is better than the one we played today. Bartlett’s point guard is a Division I signee so we have to make things as tough as possible and just stay aggressive. We can’t get out of character now and change a bunch of things.”
Ketchikan: Jenae Rhoads 24 (3 rebounds); Bree Johnson 15 (4 rb, 5 steals, 8 assists); Lindsay Byron 8 (5 rb, 2 st); Shaelyn Mendoza 8 (5 rb, 4 st); Paige Boehlert 7 (6 rb, 1 st); Hyacinth Bondoc 3 (2 rb, 1 Șt).
East Anchorage: Chaunasea Delaney 21 (5 rb, 2 st); Kristi Anderson 15 (4 rb); Athalia Faiilagi 5; Natalie Martin 4 (2 rb, 2 st); Nyaduoth Wal 2.