By Craig Giammona
Courtesy Daily Sitka Sentinel
The Mt. Edgecumbe Lady Braves opened their conference schedule with losses to Petersburg Jan. 14-15 at B.J. McGillis Gymnasium.
The Lady Braves led both games in the third quarter, but were unable to hang on as the Lady Vikings pulled away late for a pair of conference wins. After trailing 24-20 at the half Jan. 14, the Lady Braves scored 7 straight points to start the third quarter and led 27-24 before Petersburg regained the lead. Mt. Edgecumbe used full-court pressure to fuel their run, but the Lady Vikings regrouped and started to break down the defense off the dribble.
Petersburg led 35-30 heading into the fourth quarter and the Lady Vikings took a 51-41 win. The Lady Braves held a lead late in the third quarter Jan. 15 before a 6-point run by Petersburg gave the Lady Vikings a 30-27 lead after three quarters. The Vikings surged down the stretch as Carolyn Kvernick scored 11 of her game-high 20 points in the final frame to lead a 45-33 victory for the Lady Vikings.
Both nights, the Lady Braves struggled to score when they needed it most.
“We had little lapses where we let teams get leads,” MEHS coach Carl Blackhurst said. “We just don’t quite have those scorers who we can count on to give us points when we need them.”
He added: “I think what I see is inexperience on the part of the girls,” Blackhurst said. “They’re young...I think they’ll be fine once they learn and get some confidence.”
Brandi Hale, a junior from Hooper Bay, had 11 points for MEHS Jan. 14, while Scarlett Beaver, a freshman from Kotzebue, scored 9, Venita Demoski (sophomore, Nulato) had 7 and Mariah Martin (sophomore, Hoonah) scored 6.
Kristin Johanson, a senior from Hoonah, led MEHS with 10 points Jan. 15, Beaver added 9 and Demoski had 5.
The Lady Braves played three games in three nights on Japonski Island, opening up the series with a non-conference loss to Haines Jan. 13. The three losses dropped the Lady Braves to 1-8 on the season, with a 0-2 conference mark. But the early season losses won’t mean much if MEHS can get it together in time for a postseason run.
Blackhurst said the Lady Braves improved in each of the three games they played over the weekend, a progression he hopes will continue over the next few weeks.
“If we can fix a few things and the girls settle in I think we’ll be a much better team,” Blackhurst said. “They understand they have work to do. We’re just going to work hard and see where we end up.”
The Lady Braves will host Wrangell Jan. 28-29.