by Tommy Wells
The Bethel Lady Warriors hosted the Barrow Lady Whalers who took a huge step toward nailing down the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Western Conference basketball tournament this past weekend.
Barrow fought hard and swept both ends of a weekend twinbill in the BRHS WarriorDome.
The Lady Whalers, who entered the contest ranked No. 3 in the latest Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches power rankings, used an 18-10 run in the first eight minutes of the second half on Friday to grind out a tight 59-44 victory in front of a large crowd on hand for Senior Night activities. Overall, Barrow broke open a close 30-26 contest at the half by reeling off a 29-18 spree in the second half.
Bethel kept the game close throughout the first half, thanks to a solid showing by Rebecca Samuelson and Ava Lieb. The two combined to score 14 points in the first 16 minutes of play.
Audri Goodwine shouldered much of the Lady Warriors’ offensive load in the first quarter. She pumped in four points in the frame and helped BRHS fight to within 16-10 at the start of the second.
Senior Gabrielle Fredericks also chipped in a bucket.
Samuelson and Lieb kicked the BRHS offense into high gear in the second. Both knocked down three-pointers in the frame and spearheaded a 16-point outburst that pulled Bethel to within four at the half.
The Lady Whalers took control in the third by grinding out an 18-10 run that sent them into the fourth with a 12-point lead, at 48-36.
Barrow’s defense set the tone for their 61-37 victory on Saturday. The Lady Whalers’ pressure defense forced 12 BRHS turnovers in the first eight minutes and set the stage for a 25-7 first-quarter barrage. Overall, Barrow forced 32 BRHS turnovers in the affair.
Jennilee Donovan paced the Lady Whalers’ offensive surge by pumping in eight of her game-high 19 points in the first period. Caitlin Brower added five.
Goodwine came up with Bethel’s biggest shot in the opening frame by hitting a three-pointer. Lieb and Fredericks added points in the frame.
Bethel solved the Lady Whaler defensive press in the second. The Lady Warriors used a balanced scoring attack that featured baskets from six different players en route to scoring 14 points. Lieb led the BRHS push with four points.
Bethel trailed at the half, 43-22.
Barrow regained the upper hand in the third. They pounded out a 14-8 run in the frame and stretched their lead to 27, at 57-30.
Samuelson led the Lady Warriors in the third. She scored four of her six points in the stanza.
Lieb led all BRHS scorers in Game 2 by tossing in 12 points. Fredericks, who was one of four BRHS seniors honored prior to Friday’s game, netted eight, while Goodwine chipped in four.
The Lady Warriors will return to action this weekend when they travel to Nome to face off with the Lady Nanooks in a Western Conference showdown. Games will be played on Friday and Saturday.