The Thunder Mountain High School boy’s basketball team remembered the damage Petersburg’s Taylor Pullar did to them last year. The sharp shooting Vikings guard was a hand full off of screens and on open jump shots. This is not last year’s Falcons however and it was the Vikings who had their hands full on Monday night.
“I was really pleased with how we came out and were aggressive from the very start,” TMHS head coach John Blasco said. “We were really aggressive taking the ball inside.”
The Falcons started in a full court press, which resulted in their first four buckets coming on lay-ups by Coltin Lanz, Ben Jahn, and Ty Grussendorf.
Lantz collected five of his 11-game points in the first period while Jahn and Grussendorf added four apiece and Seymour and Avery Stewart balanced out the attack with a deuce each.
If Petersburg broke the press the Falcons fell back to a man defense with Matt Seymour sticking to Pullar and TMHS’ helping on switches along the baseline.
“Pullar hurt us last year,” Blasco said. “We wanted to focus on him and so put Matt on him. Matt is one of our toughest defenders. We also talked about switching and helping.”
After the Falcons’ Lanz and Stewart scored off Vikings turnovers in the opening seconds of the second period, Petersburg went on a 7-0 run of their own to trail by six at 21-15.
Grussendorf stopped the Vikings charge with two straight treys from near the sideline and the momentum carried the Falcons into the half leading 29-15.
Thunder Mountain opened the third period with a 15-5 run that put the Falcons ahead by 24 points.
Sam Jahn scored all 7 of his game points in the final period while Trent Uddipa hit 2 of his 4 points in the period and Cam Thomas notched 2.
Grussendorf had a game-high 13 points for the Falcons, Ben Jahn 8, Stewart 6, Josh Tupou and Seymour 2 apiece.
Pullar led the Vikings with 12 points, Tristan Welch 8, Connor Yeager 5, Hugh Fleming 4, Michael Brock and Keyn McCay 2 apiece.
TMHS hit 2-3 at the charity stripe, PSG went 8-11.
The win against the Vikings marked the fourth time this year the Falcons have played a three-games-in-three-days schedule. A 50-43 loss to Chugiak last Thursday made this recent stint four games in a grueling five days.
Due to weather last weekend the Falcons got a late start traveling to Japonski Island to take on the Mt. Edgecumbe Braves, arriving on Saturday for a 43-41 win and departing after Sunday’s 59-52 loss.
“It has been a long road trip,” Blasco said. “A lot of road games. But I am liking doing this with a young squad because it is building some toughness and getting the guys into game shape. You can practice all you want but game shape is what you really need. Three or four games in a short time period is what is getting them into shape.”
According to the Sitka Sentinel, TMHS was up eight at the half against the Braves on Saturday and didn’t have a secure lead for good until six seconds remained in the game.
Tied at 41-41 with 14 seconds remaining, Vili Tupou drove through the Mt. Edgecumbe defense and dished to Avery Stewart for a lay-up. The Braves Jaylin Prince was fouled on a shot and missed the first of two free throws, then the second on purpose and secured the rebound but could not get off a shot as time expired.
The Braves led 14-7 early in the game before TMHS went on a 15-0 run and took the lead 22-14. The Falcons held a 26-18 halftime advantage. The Braves worked back into the game for the first time with under a minute remaining.
Ty Grussendorf led the Falcons with 11 points, Allen Shaw added 8 and Matt Seymour 7. Prince led the Braves with 18 points, Cody Sherman added 7 and Kacy Green chipped in 6.
On Sunday the Falcons found themselves down 36-23 at the half and 51-35 starting the final quarter. A TMHS rally fell just short as Mt. Edgecumbe held on for a seven-point win.
Trent Uddipa led the Falcons with 16, Seymour had 11 and Ben Jahn 10. Prince scored 18 again, Sherman 15 and Green 12.
“We just didn’t get it going smoothly until the fourth quarter,” Blasco said. “We had spurts where we got it down to 11 but then had a few bad turnovers. One thing people will recognize with our group is that they don’t quit. They fought to the end and made a game of it.”
Thunder Mountain has a 5-10 record and will be hosting conference rival Ketchikan on Friday and Saturday.