A new Tlingit Warriors team is on the horizon but, unlike the original Tlingit Heat that are still working towards their seventh title in the ‘C’ bracket (9th overall), the Kake ‘B’ team is heading back to Kupreanof Island thanks to a new crop of Klukwan hoopsters and a 74-68 score.
It was a physical battle both inside and outside the key, and the Klukwan and Kake rosters are a few years younger than the gene pool of familiar last names basketball fans at Gold Medal remember… but these young lads can play.
Kake’s Adam Dolan changed his shot in mid air for a reverse lay up to get within one point at 58-57 with five minutes to play and Shane Padgett knotted the score on a free throw in a game that had fans standing throughout. Dolan than hit a jumper and Brandon Jackson knocked down two more free throws to push Kake on top.
“I just wanted to win man,” Adam Dolan said after the game. “We took some shots we probably shouldn’t have and it was just a really tough loss. Gold Medal is about winning, getting first place of course, but winning as a team. We will be back next year. We will be better. We will be there.”
Trailing 62-58 with four minutes remaining Klukwan’s Brett Garvey made a tough shot inside to pull within two. Jacob Hotch was fouled on a hard drive and hit both free throws to tie the score and on the next possession Levi Hotch hit one of two freebies for the lead.
Dolan took a long pass on the inbounds to get back the score clock at 64-63 with 2:35 left to play.
Jacob Hotch buried a deep three to steal it right back, Dolan answered with two freebies at the charity stripe, and Ben Hotch took a hard offensive foul to get the ball back for Klukwan and nestled one of two free throws in the net for a 67-66 advantage.
“It has always been physical,” Ben Hotch said. “Especially around Gold Medal. You just have to deal with it. You have to expect the refs will let you play; you have to expect to deal with a little contact. It is a lot of fun out there.”
Kake’s Lance Doake put in the last of his 15 points on a sweet jump shot to grab the lead at the 1:45 mark but Garvey followed a miss for his 16th and final points of the night to keep Klukwan on top for good.
Jacob and Ben Hotch kept the ball in their hands for the final minute and hit 5-6 at the line to keep Klukwan moving towards a trophy.
J. Hotch led Klukwan with 20 points, Garvey 16, L. Hotch 14, B. Hotch and Kyle Barry eight apiece, Tony Thompkins, Tony Delgado, Michael Ward and Tom Ward two each. Garvey and Thompkins pulled down 12 and nine rebounds, respectively.
Kake was led by Dolan’s 16 points, Doake added 15, Shea Jackson and Padgett nine apiece, Tracy Jackson eight, Shawn Jackson five, Brandon Jackson four and Tim Demmett two.
Klukwan hit 26-32 at the charity stripe, Kake went 14-19. Kake held a 32-27 half time advantage.
Klukwan will play Metlakatla in a ‘B’ elimination game today at 3:30 p.m.
“We will be looking forward to a little more physical contact in the next games as well,” Ben Hotch said. “This is a new Klukwan team and we are doing better as each game goes on. I think we can pick it up more as a team in this next one so it should be a good one.”
In late ‘B’ bracket elimination bracket play, Hoonah got 21 points from Travis Dybdahl, including two free throws with four seconds left to ice the game, in a 82-78 elimination game win over Yakutat. James Wilson added 12 points and D J Lindstrom 11 for Hoonah.
Jimmi Jensen led Yakutat with a game-high 32 points and Tyler Besseker added 23.
Hoonah moves on to play Angoon today at 7:30 p.m. in another elimination game.