TMHS coach John Blasco said he heard good things about Palmer.
“They are big, they are tough, they can shoot and they can drive,” Blasco said before Saturday’s final game in the Thunderdome Shootout. “It will definitely be a challenge for us. It is the third night in a row and they won their first two games so we have to be ready to go.”
The Palmer boys proved Blasco a prophet, going on a 43-9 run over the first two quarters of Saturday’s final game. The Falcons had more fouls (10) in the first half than points. The Moose won by the final of 68-21, scoring just 25 points in the second half.
“There is a benefit and there is not a benefit,” Blasco said of playing three games in three days. “You can’t really make adjustments between games, but it teaches a young group how to play on the fly, how to step up and be their own leaders out there.”
The Falcons boys encountered a tough full court press from the Moose yet attacked the basket relentlessly.
Ty Grussendorf and Ben Jahn led the Falcons with six points apiece, Trent Uddipa, Mike Uddipa, Avery Stewart, and Coltin Lanz two each, and Josh Tupou one.
Connor Looney led the Moose with 16 points, Jackson Buresh 14, Thomas Matik 11, James Nisbett and Hayden Niekamp nine apiece, Brian Selmer seven, and Jared Straight two.
“We got beat by a good team,” Blasco said. “Could we have played better? Yes. But they are a very good team.”
Matt Seymour was selected to the all-tournament team along with Looney and Buresh from Palmer, Cade Campbell of West Valley, and Dominique Hall from Mt. Edgecumbe.
The Falcons girls lost to the Moose girls 53-35, the final score being a result of the TMHS press putting Palmer on the free throw line.
Palmer’s Taylor Blake hit eight of her 14 game-high points in the first period as the Moose took a 17-9 advantage.
Jonelle Staveland kept the Falcons in the mix with five of her nine game points.
Thunder Mountain would score nine points in each of the next two quarters while holding the Moose to 10 points in each and trailed by just 10, 37-27, starting the final stanza.
The grind of three games seemed to show in the final match for the Falcons.
“Of the games we played so far I definitely have to say we were out hustled tonight,” TMHS coach Tanya Nizich said. “We had the body language of not really feeling confident with the ball.”
Ashley Young led the Falcons with 12 points, Micheala Demmert added six, Cheyenne Ekis four, Emily Winters and Shale Kibby two apiece.
The Falcons shot just four free throws and hit one, Palmer hit three of eight. Kasara Branenburg added 13 points for the Moose, Tress Whitfield seven, Rachael Huffman six, Kalei DePriest four, Megan Southwick three, Brook Simmerman, Bridget Jensen, and Anna Koehn two apiece.
“Three games in a row could have been a factor,” Nizich said. “When you are dealing with three different teams you have three different ways to play the game. It is definitely puts you to the test of readjusting every night and is positive in that it gives you different styles to look at. I think it is great. And we are going to Anchorage on Thursday for another tournament and we will see three more different teams. Hopefully we will be ready for it.”
In other Saturday action the West Valley boys stopped Mt. Edgecumbe 42-37 behind 23 points from Kade Campbell. Dominique Hall had 13 to lead the Braves.
The West Anchorage girls beat West Valley 47-44 behind 17 points from Anatasia LaVern-Tasi and Chanel Bookert’s 12. The Wolfpack got 13 points from Hannah Mattson, 12 from Jill Phillips and 11 from Caitlin Brice.