When the Hydaburg Haida start hitting shots from beyond the arc, watch out.
Hydaburg overcame yet another slow start to pull away from Yakutat, eventually holding on for an 82-72 win Wednesday afternoon at the 65th Annual Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.
The Haida fell behind 14-11 early to a physical Yakutat team which, as it did on Monday against Angoon, wanted to slow the pace against a team that prefers to run.
But it was only a matter of time before the Edenshaws got going.
“We always get off to a slow start. It seems like it’s been like that forever every time we play a tournament,” Vinny Edenshaw said. “It just takes a little warming up before those threes start falling.”
Vinny, Devin and Darren Edenshaw once again sparked the high-octane Hydaburg attack and once the 3-balls started falling, the driving lanes opened up and Hydaburg began going to the basket.
But it was the Haida’s shooting from beyond the arc that ignited the offense.
Hydaburg hit a 3-pointer on three consecutive possessions just before the midway point of the first half, and a 22-18 lead quickly ballooned to a 31-18 advantage, which got no closer than five points the rest of the way.
But Yakutat gave Hydaburg fits early with its interior size and pesky perimeter defense, forcing the Haida to take contested jumpers while limiting transition opportunities.
“I think they got us to play their game a little bit at the start, but then we started playing our game,” Vinny Edenshaw said. “Like my cousin Darren (Edenshaw) said (Tuesday), we’re a run-and-gun team. That’s the kind of game we play.”
With Damien Long and Jimmy Jensen inside, Yakutat had the size advantage. But foul trouble for Long and combined with the speed of Hydaburg in the open court was too much in the end.
“We started pushing the ball more,” Vinny Edenshaw said, “getting out on the fast break and hitting our threes”
With Long in foul trouble, Yakutat pounded it inside to Jensen throughout the second half, hoping to slow down the tempo. The Yakutat forward scored 28 points in the game and helped keep his team within striking distance.
When Jensen wasn’t scoring inside, all the extra defensive attention in the paint allowed for open 3-point looks. Kyle Dierick took advantage of the defense’s interior focus to score 22 points, including five 3-pointers.
Yakutat was able to chip away at the lead while holding Hydaburg to 31 second-half points, 20 fewer than its output the first 20 minutes. Jensen, Dierick and company cut the deficit to 11 points with about five minutes remaining, but Hydaburg had an answer every time Yakutat threatened.
Harold Dilts led the way for the Haida with 19 points, while Vinny, Devin and Darren Edenshaw pumped in 17, 16 and 14, respectively.
Martin Sensmeier was the only other Yakutat player in double figures with 14 points, including four 3-pointers.
With a deeper bench and more balance than last year’s team, Vinny Edenshaw said this year’s edition is just getting started.
“We’re way better than last year when we only had six guys,” he said. “We got a full team this year, so we’re ready to roll.”
Hydaburg plays the Hoonah/Klawock today at 3:30 p.m., while Yakutat has been eliminated.
Hoonah tops Klawock, 89-75
Hoonah ANB had already been involved in the two closest games of the B Bracket thus far in the 65th Annual Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament, but they made sure not to let Wednesday’s elimination game come down to the wire.
Tied 49-49 with just more than 15 minutes remaining, Hoonah exploded on a 12-0 run that put the ANB on top for good. Neither team led by more than six points up to that juncture, but Klawock never climbed within nine the rest of the way.
Hoonah’s Anthony Lindoff said after the game it was the young players off the bench that provided the boost.
“Well, I’d like to think the young guys coming off the bench kind of lit a defensive spark. We said early on if these guys were going to play, they needed to capitalize with good defense,” he said. “So I have to give our young guys off the bench a lot of credit, and our old guys kept the composure.”
Travis Dybdahl, one of the “old guys,” led the way once again for Hoonah with 26 points, while Mike Schneeberger pitched in 19.
Lindoff, who scored 10 in the game, said his team played a smart game, something that must be done the rest of the way if Hoonah is to win the B Bracket championship.
“We feel we give ourselves the best chance by minimizing our turnovers, our mistakes, and really capitalizing on defense,” he said. “We need to keep that focus for 40 minutes to beat these guys, because every game we play will have some offensive teams we need to step it up against on defense.”
Wednesday night’s contest was back and forth most of the night, and excluding the 12-0 run early in the second half, Klawock was able to hold its own.
Ric Carle led all scorers in the game with 29 points, including four 3-pointers, Leslie Isaacs dropped 18 and Mike Henderson pumped in five 3-pointers for 15 points. Klawock hit 14 shots from beyond the arc to Hoonah’s eight, but it wasn’t enough as the ANB went to the line 20 times to Klawock’s nine.
There were 11 lead changes in the game, but Hoonah never gave it up again after its second-half run.
With the win, Hoonah moves on to face Hydaburg at 3:30 p.m. today. The two teams squared off in the opening game of B Bracket play, with Hoonah picking up a 6-point, 104-98 win.