Johnson, Evan power St. Mary’s past Akiak in tourney finals

Akiak vs. St. Mary's! Shalene Egoak #3 of the Akiak Thunderbolts reaches up to block a shot by #21 Jada Peterson during the VFW Tournament girls championship game last Saturday in Bethel. photosby Greg Lincoln

by Tommy Wells

As the St. Mary’s Lady Eagles’ lone senior, Celina Johnson knew her team needed a big-time effort from her on Saturday if they wanted to claim the girls’ championship at the VFW sponsored tournament at the Bethel Regional High School.

She more than delivered.

Johnson, along with Danessa Evan, scored into double figures and helped spur the St. Mary’s Lady Eagles to a 57-48 victory over the Akiak Lady Thunderbolts in the championship game. The Lady Eagles finished the three-day tournament with a perfect 3-0 mark.

Johnson and Jada Peterson kicked the St. Mary’s offense into high gear early on. Both threw up three-point shots on the Lady Eagles’ first two shots from the field and staked the St. Mary’s girls to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Despite the early fireworks from Johnson and Peterson, Evan provided the bulk of St. Mary’s in the first quarter. She scored seven of her 10 points in the initial eight minutes of the game and powered the Lady Eagles to an 18-11 lead.

Akiak weathered St. Mary’s early barrage. Miranda Demientieff and Shaylene Egoak both hit stride offensively in the second and helped the Lady Thunderbolts fight back to within one, at 28-27, at the half. Egoak pushed in eight points in the period. Demientieff added six.

After battling to a 13-13 deadlock on the third quarter, Johnson stepped up. She keyed a decisive 16-8 run in the final eight minutes of the game by throwing in nine of her game-high 25 points. Sophomore Megan Westdahl added four points, while Johanna Prince added three.

Westdahl finished with nine points. Peterson added six.

Demientieff finished the contest as Akiak’s leading scorer, netting 22 points. Egoak also hit double figures with 17.