by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Regional High School Lady Warriors grabbed a bit of momentum heading into the Western Conference Basketball Tournament on Friday by netting a split of their weekend twinbill with the Kotzebue Lady Huskies. Bethel pounded out an impressive 39-37 victory in front of a large Senior Night crowd in the WarriorDome.
The Lady Warriors garnered a balanced scoring attack en route to capturing a win in the opener. The BRHS girls picked up points from eight different players, including 10 from Madison Smith.
Smith and Audri Goodwine helped Bethel get off to a solid start against the Lady Huskies. One of several seniors making their final home appearance, Smith opened the contest by dropping in a clutch three-pointer. After back-to-back buckets by Deja Jackson, Goodwine closed out a 10-6 first-quarter run by launching a trey from the outside.
Kotzebue, despite a pair of shots from Jaron Mute, rallied to within three in the second. The Lady Huskies pounded out a 9-8 run in the frame and went into the half trailing 18-15.
Bethel cranked up its offense again in the first eight minutes of the second half. Smith and Brianna Evan both knocked down three-pointers in the third quarter and sparked a 14-point outburst that upped the Lady Warriors’ lead to 32-28.
Smith tallied five of her team-high 10 points in the third. Fiola Dema and Evan added four and three, respectively.
Dema finished the game as Bethel’s second-leading scorer by netting seven points. Jackson and Mute both added six. Ava Lieb and Gabrielle Fredericks both chipped in two.
Kotzebue’s Alanna Conwell led all scorers. The University of Alaska Fairbanks signee tallied 23, including 12 in the second half.
Kotzebue rallied on Saturday to split the series by grinding out a 38-25 victory.
Dema led at BRHS scorers in Game 2 with nine points, five of which came in the second quarter and helped Bethel fight to within 22-11 at the half.
Lieb also played well for BRHS. She pumped in all six of her points in the fourth quarter and helped Bethel stage an 11-6 run in the final eight minutes.
Evan netted four points in the contest. Jackson, Mute and Smith all contributed two.