From the get-go, Ketchikan and Juneau-Douglas high schools were bound for a back-and-forth battle inside the friendly confines of Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium on Friday.

Neither team wanted to give an inch in the first game of the Region V 4A tournament.

The two teams jump started the tournament, vying for a chance to play the region’s top-seeded Thunder Mountain High School squad later on Friday evening, with the winner of that game being guaranteed a spot in the Region V 4A championship on Saturday.

Ultimately, it was the visiting Juneau-Douglas Lady Crimson Bears that wound up on top, 3-2, over the Kayhi Lady Kings.

But the tenacious spirit of both squads brought the tournament’s first game down to the wire.

“Honestly, after coming back from (Juneau) last weekend, and getting beat 3-0 and 4-1 — yeah, I'm really proud of our kids,” Kayhi head coach Kevin Johnson said. “They showed a lot of grit today. And we played well enough to give ourselves a chance to win in the fifth game.”

Indeed, Kayhi did.

After falling to Juneau-Douglas, 25-23, in the first set, the Lady Kings won the second set 25-17.

The third frame was pushed to extra points, with Juneau-Douglas edging ahead, 28-26.

Kayhi returned the favor, winning the fourth set 25-21, but ultimately fell 15-12 in the fifth, and final, frame.

“They hung with it at the end,” Juneau-Douglas head coach Joady Levernier said of her squad. “I don't know why they waited until the end to battle like that. But they hung with it, so that was good.”

With the series tied 2-2, Kayhi and Juneau-Douglas traded points to open the fifth set.

The Lady Kings took a brief 3-1 lead, after Juneau-Douglas was unable to return a serve by Kayhi’s Alli Thomas for the team’s second point.

The Lady Kings’ Lindsay Byron found open ground after she was set up by Taylor Jackson for the teams’ third point.

But Juneau-Douglas jumped ahead 6-3 with Brooke Sanford serving from the backline.

A spike by Byron would give Kayhi possession once more, stopping Juneau-Douglas’ momentum, and the Lady Kings knotted the score 6-6.

“Lindsay played really well,” Levernier said. (Reilly McCue) played really well, and they had an outside hitter (Alli Thomas) play really well.

“Ketchikan came out strong,” she continued. “They put the ball to the floor quite a few times, and we weren't quite jiving with each other.”

Tied 6-6, the two teams traded possession every couple volleys.

Knotted at nine apiece, Thomas knocked down back-to-back hard hits to give Kayhi an 11-9 lead.

But Juneau-Douglas outscored Kayhi 5-1 the rest of the way, and the Lady Crimson Bears won the set — and the match — bumping ahead to the tournament’s second game against Thunder Mountain.

Juneau-Douglas fell to the tournament’s top-seeded team, 3-0, and Kayhi will get another chance at Juneau-Douglas at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

As the Region V tournament is double-elimination, the Lady Kings get another shot at finding their way into the title game.

“I think there were some bright moments,” Johnson said. “People got to see a bit of the future. At the end of the day, I'm really proud of our kids effort.”

The Lady Kings are hoping that effort is repeated on Saturday.

“As a coach, I'm not displeased with our effort, at all,” Johnson said. “But as a coach, too, we want to win Southeast. We want to win regions; that was one of our goals.

“So it's a fine balance of saying, 'Yeah, we played well. And yeah, we're young.' But we also gave ourselves a chance to win, and when they keep score, you want to win.”

Judging by Friday’s matchup, Saturday’s rematch might be just as much — if not, moreso — a back-and-forth battle.

And this time, the season’s on the line.

“I'm excited, and I think the kids are excited,” Johnson said. “So we'll give it another try tomorrow.”

Thunder Mountain defeats

Juneau-Douglas 3-0

Both high school teams from the capital city went head-to-head in the First City on Friday, as Juneau-Douglas advanced to play the region’s top-seeded squad from Thunder Mountain High School in the second game of the Region V 4A tournament.

But following their 3-2 win over Kayhi, the Juneau-Douglas Lady Crimson Bears were unable to gain much traction against Thunder Mountain.

The Lady Falcons won the best-of-five series 3-0, taking the sets 25-13, 26-24 and 25-16.

The two teams went back-and-forth early in the first frame, as the score was knotted at five apiece. But Thunder Mountain started to spread the gap, going ahead 12-6, and outscored Juneau-Douglas 13-7 the rest of the way.

Thunder Mountain jumped out to an early 7-1 lead in the second set. But Juneau-Douglas began to inch its way back in the ballgame, cutting its deficit to three, 12-9.

The two teams tied several times — 18-18, 19-19, 20-20, 21-21, 23-23 and 24-24. The set was pushed to extra points, with Thunder Mountain ultimately on top, 26-24.

Thunder Mountain kept the pressure on Juneau-Douglas in the third set.

Thunder Mountain opened the frame with seven straight points, as the Lady Falcons’ Sydney Strong served from the backline.

Juneau-Douglas tried to mount a comeback against Thunder Mountain, outscoring the Lady Falcons 9-5 over the course of several possessions. But a 12-9 deficit was as close as Juneau-Douglas got to Thunder Mountain in the third set.

The Lady Falcons eventually won the frame 25-16, and advanced to the Region V 4A championship matchup set for Saturday at 1 p.m.

Spectators allowed

Spectator capacity will be limited during Saturday’s matchups, but there will be fans in the stands during Day Two of the Region V 4A tournament.

A limited number of tickets were issued, and only ticket holders will be allowed to enter through the main doors of Kayhi, according to Kayhi activities information. Spectators must wear masks at all times.

Games Livestreamed

Tournament games will be livestreamed on kgbsd.org/live, and broadcast on KPU channel 685. Games also are aired on KTKN 930AM radio.