Kyle Day made a free throw with 12.2 seconds left and Matt Seymour missed a game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer as Ketchikan held on to beat Thunder Mountain 51-48 Tuesday in the first round of the 4A boys’ bracket of the 2011 Region V 3A/4A Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.
“It went right down to the wire and we got a good look,” TMHS coach John Blasco said of the game’s final play. “We came out on fire and Keith (Ainsworth) was really going hard, and it really helped us out to jump out of the gate like we wanted to. It’s just a matter of runs and they went on a run to close out the half, and then another at the end of the third. That’s what gets you.”
Ketchikan faces Juneau-Douglas at 8:30 p.m. today in the double-elimination tournament.
The two aforementioned Ketchikan runs proved to be the difference.
With the Falcons leading 11-10 at the end of the first quarter, the second period saw three lead changes and a tie.
Down 15-12, Ketchikan junior Frederick Seludo knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing and the Kings got three straight buckets in the paint by Mark Dulay, Chas Allen and Jesse Lindgren, and Allen went straight to the basket for the final score of the half after a John Correa free throw for Thunder Mountain.
The Falcons battled back to make it a 32-29 in the third after a Seymour put back his own blocked shot, and then Ainsworth drilled a long jumper.
But then Lingren got an old-fashioned 3-point play with 21.9 seconds left, Allen got a steal and a layup. He missed the ensuing and-1 free throw with .6 seconds showing on the clock, but Lindgren was able to tip the ball back into the basket for a damaging finish for Thunder Mountain, and unlikely but key break for Ketchikan.
In the matter of an instant the Falcons went from down three points to down 10 heading into the fourth quarter.
Thunder Mountain scored 19 points in the fourth and gave up just 12 to close the gap.
Ainsworth stuck a pull-up 3-pointer with just 15 seconds remaining to make it a 2-point, 50-48 game. The Falcons fouled immediately and Day helped them out by missing a free throw with 12.2 second left, but Seymour’s wide-open look from the right wing clanged out and the buzzer sounded.
“My hat’s off to coach Blasco and those boys. What a great story for them to go through a tough year and to come back and show a lot of class, character, grit, determination — whatever adjective you want — and I’m absolutely impressed with them,” Ketchikan coach Erick Stockhausen said. “Our guys found a way — it wasn’t pretty by any stretch, but it didn’t need to be. It gives us another chance (today) to see what we can do.
“I thought Chas was big for us and that’s the thing about our team,” he continued. “When a couple of guys aren’t playing their best, we have other guys that can step up. We’ve won five in a row and it’s better than coming back on Thursday (having lost Tuesday) at this point.”
The Falcons got off to a hot start behind Ainsworth, who scored nine points in the first quarter before finishing with 16. A long jumper gave the Falcons a 2-1 lead, and Ty Grussendorf made it 4-1 with a short jumper.
Ainsworth then stuck a pull-up 15-footer for a 6-1 lead, but Ketchikan’s Allen made a 17-footer and then buried a 3-pointer after a turnover to tie the game at 6-6.
Ainsworth made a floater in the lane and then splashed a triple from the right side to push the Falcons back up by 5, 11-6, but the Kings closed with a 4-0 spurt to make it an 11-10 ball game after one quarter.
The teams traded buckets to start the second quarter, but the Kings closed with the 11-1 run to hold a 23-16 lead at the break.
Allen led all scorers with 24 points, and Lindgren scored 12 for Ketchikan. Seymour added 10 points to Ainsworth’s 16 for TMHS.