Lady Thunderbirds slip past Barrow for title
The East Lady Thunderbirds scratched out a 10-point lead in the first half on Saturday and then held off a late charge by the Barrow Lady Whalers to claim a 52-44 victory and the team championship at the 2018 Whaler Invitational Basketball Tournament.
With the win, East completed the three-day, round-robin tournament with a perfect 3-0 record. Barrow finished second at 2-1.
The Lady Whalers, who are scheduled to face off against Western Conference rival Bethel this weekend, kicked off the tournament on a high note on Thursday. The BHS girls picked up 22 points from Kuutuuq Danner and 12 from Milya Wright and Jordan Ahgeak en route to an easy 61-48 victory over Palmer.
Danner, one of two Barrow players to earn a spot on the all-tournament squad, made sure the Lady Whalers got off to a quick start against Palmer. She pumped in nine points in the first eight minutes and led the BHS girls to a 12-7 cushion. Wright accounted for Barrow's only other points in the first quarter with a three-pointer.
Ahgeak didn't let Barrow slow down in the second. She helped blow the game wide open by scoring 12 points in the frame and sparking a 23-4 BHS run.
Barrow held a comfortable 35-11 lead at the half.
The Lady Whalers continued to pad their lead in the third. Backed by six points from Danner and five more from Wright, the BHS girls posted a 16-14 run in the frame and took a 49-23 cushion into the final eight minutes. Becca Gerke also aided the Lady Whalers' third-quarter scoring with a clutch three-pointer.
Barrow enjoyed just as much success in the second round on Friday. The Lady Whalers rode double-digit performances from Danner, Lewanne Brower, Gerke and Wright to a 67-52 victory over Juneau-Douglas.
Gerke highlighted the Lady Whalers' offensive prowess. She finished the game with a team-high 16 points, 12 of which came via four three-point shots. Brower, who sank three from beyond the three-point arc, finished with 15.
As a team, Barrow knocked down 10 three-pointers in the game.
Wright and Danner finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
The win over Juneau turned the Lady Whalers' showdown with East on Saturday into the tournament's championship game. East had defeated Palmer and Juneau in its first two contests.
The Lady Thunderbirds outscored Barrow by a 25-15 clip in the first two quarters.
Azaria Robinson paced the Lady Thunderbirds' scoring with 13 points. Daisy Paige and Skye Miller added 12 apiece.
Wright led Barrow with 15 points. Brower added nine, while Danner and Gerke both chipped in seven.