Call any phone number in Kake or Metlakatla and if it isn’t a cell phone in someone’s purse or pocket at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament chances are no one will answer.
A 4 a.m. Taku blue canoe arrival into Juneau unloaded everyone but the captain and the purser as a packed gymnasium, filled to capacity with roughly 1,200 “coaches,” watched the Metlakatla boys put a scare into five-time defending “C” bracket champions Kake in the opening game of the 2012 Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
Behind four deep treys from beyond the arch by 2011 MVP Jay Peterson the Kake boys, who also picked up a couple of technical fouls, kept even at the break with the bigger and more physical Metlakatla team and had a 40-38 advantage starting the second half.
“The bulls eye gets bigger every year,” Peterson said. “The Met guys always have a lot of talent. They give us a good run every time. We wore them down this game. We just play as a team and let the cards fall where they may.”
Metlakatla didn’t have the deep bench like Kake and got into early foul trouble. Kake put the ball into the hands of Bean with nine minutes remaining in the game and Bean went 8-8 from the charity stripe down the stretch.
The referees will need throat lozenges if the Gold Medal games remain this intense. Twice the zebras stopped the action to tell the players, “This is the team warnings. If you want to referee then go to the sidelines. Just shut up and play. Know the rules.”
Rudy Bean led Kake with 27 points, Jay Peterson scored 14, Mike Smith 13, Nick Davis ten, Lloyd Davis and David Watkins eight apiece. Kake hit 22-25 at the charity stripe, Metlakatla went 9-12.
Tom Booth led Metlakatla with 26 points, Richard Hayward had 25, Archie Dundas nine, Chris Mowers five, Kevin Young four and Frank Guthrie three.
The loss means Metlakatla will have a tough road ahead.
“Play hard and rest,” Metlakatla’s Tom Booth said. “We feel that we can win this. We just need to do the things we are capable of. A week of games means we need to go home and rest after each game.”
Metlakatla plays Tuesday at 2 p.m. against Hoonah in a tournament elimination game. Kake plays at 2 p.m. today against Klukwan in a winners bracket contest.
One fan, who berated her team from the opening tip, yelled out, “pass the ball.”
To which the player in question responded, “Shut up.”
After the final buzzer, as the referees jogged to their locker room, a disagreeable fan followed on their heels shouting constructive criticisms.
And it was only game one.
In other late “C” action:
Yakutat defeated Angoon 86-63.
Mike Jensen scored a game-high 24 points and Damian Long added 22 to lead Yakutat over Angon 86-63. Don Johnson Jr. scored 12 points for Angoon and Kevin Mitchell added 11.
Sitka 90 Juneau Filcom 68.
Randy Nutting was too much for the opposing defense as he hit for a game-high 33 points as Sitka topped Juneau Filcom 90-68. Gary Smith added 16 points, Richard Didrickson 13, Randy Hitchcock eight, Richard Krupa seven, Casey Gould six, Don Tadic five and Steve Walker two.
Filcom was led by Ruther Echiverri’s 19 points, Nathaniel Pettis added 13, Al Tagaban 11, Jimmy Carson 10, Mike Lim five, Franz Kugelmann four, Toby Carandang, Rob Carpenter and Steven Wall two each.
Sitka plays Yakutat at 6 p.m. tonight in a winners bracket game while Filcom plays Angoon in an elimination game at 2 p.m. on Tuesday.