Galena Lady Hawks hold off Bethel for Donlin Gold crown

by Tommy Wells

The Galena Lady Hawks posted a 27-6 run in the first eight minutes on Saturday and then held off a furious second-half rally by the Bethel Regional High School Lady Warriors to take a 69-51 victory in the championship game of the 2020 Donlin Gold Invitational Basketball Tournament.

With the win, Galena finished the tournament with a perfect 3-0 mark. Bethel was 2-1 in the tournament, which was held Jan. 23-25 in the BRHS WarriorDome.

Pearle Green gave Galena the boost they needed offensively in the first eight minutes of the finals. She scored 13 of the Lady Hawks’ 27 first-quarter points and powered the GHS girls to a commanding 21-point cushion.

The Lady Warriors struggled to score from the field in the first quarter. They scored just one field goal in the frame via a shot from Ava Lieb. The team’s four other points all came from the free throw line.

Bethel had better luck from the field in the second. Rebecca Samuelson highlighted a 7-point run by the Lady warriors by draining a three-point shot. Gabrielle Fredericks added a shot from the field, while Leah Sosa chipped in two free throws.

The Lady Warriors found their groove in the second half. Bethel pounded out 38 points in the final 16 minutes.

Audri Goodwine and Samuelson led the Lady Warriors’ resurgence in the third. Goodwine spearheaded a 22-point outburst in the frame by pouring in nine points. Samuelson added six more, all coming via a pair of three-point shots. Amber Long added five points in the frame, while Fredericks chipped in two.

Goodwine finished the game as Bethel’s top scorer, netting 11 points – all coming in the second half. Samuelson finished with 10.

Bethel went into the fourth quarter trailing 58-35.

The Lady Warriors continued to hit from the floor in the final eight minutes. They outpointed Galena by a 16-11 clip in the frame.

Lieb scored six of her 10 points in the frame to lead the way. Fredericks chipped in eight, while Long and Sosa added five apiece. Raquel Slim tallied two.

The Lady Warriors had rolled into the championship on a high note. The BRHS girls had pounded out back-to-back wins over Redington and Scammon Bay to win the Pool A bracket. They defeated Redington on Thursday by a 46-41 margin, and came back on Friday to down Scammon Bay, 79-32.

Galena won the Pool B bracket with wins of 82-24 over Aniak and 77-53 over Kotzebue, respectively.