Imagine my surprise to see a lifeguard at the Southeast Age Group Swim Championships on Sunday that looked like Thunder Mountain High School senior forward Sam Jahn.
Upon closer viewing, I was almost 100-percent sure.
Upon yelling “Sam” and getting a verbal response, it was dead-on accurate.
Almost as accurate as Jahn was against the Sitka Wolves.
I cannot adequately explain the amount of energy the TMHS Falcons expended in their two wins this weekend.
“Yeah, I am pretty tired,” Jahn said. “My legs are killing me.”
This is the type of personnel coach John Blasco has. By night a shining star and by day an ordinary humble pool boy.
Jahn led the Falcons in Friday’s 51-45 win over Sitka with 14 points, including three straight free throws in the fourth quarter when the game was a bit dicey. And just prior to that, junior Mike Uddipa hit three of four.
The Falcons learned a valuable lesson. They didn’t panic after giving away the advantage.
They were out to a commanding lead and then had to hold on down the stretch. They found some composure. I am not sure if that would have happened last season.
Senior Josh Tupou had 10 points, sophomore Jacob Calloway seven, junior Matt Seymour six, junior Ben Jahn five, seniors Joe Ia, Vili Tupou and Travis Johnson two each. Ofiena Soakai and Rohan Kishore got their jerseys dirty as well.
Saturday’s double overtime, 69-65 thriller, was basically three games in one. The Falcons trailed in the first half, 18-10 after the first quarter and 33-25 at the half. They trailed at the third quarter’s end 45-38.
Sitka looked like the Sitka that Sitka was used to sending around the league. A big, bruising, brawling team with a senior leader at guard.
And then along came Jahn.
There were many heroes in this game.
Calloway blocked a shot to start the fourth quarter (13 pts) that put wind under the Falcons wings and led to B. Jahn (4 pts) scoring.
Seymour (8 pts) would get a fourth foul with 21 seconds remaining and the Falcons trailing 54-49.
Sitka got nothing and S. Jahn (15 pts) scored. 13 seconds remaining and Sitka gets one of two free throws, 55-51.
Calloway fouled on a put back. Makes a free throw.
The play called required the Jahn’s to battle inside and try to tip the ball out to senior Ty Grussendorf (12 pts) for a three-pointer to force overtime.
That was easily accomplished.
Four minutes featured a Calloway score and a nice assist to S. Jahn, Seymour fouling out, S. Jahn scoring and being fouled, and J. Tupou (6 pts) stealing the ball to score two charity stripers.
That forced the second overtime.
On two consecutive plays S. Jahn is fouled, Calloway blocks a shot, Jahn scores inside, M. Uddipa (4) hits a free throw, as do Calloway and Tupou.... and there is the game.
Now contributions came from all: T. Uddipa three points, Johnson and Joe Ia four and a lot of board muscle.
A win like that ravishes a player, drains the fans, and emotionally spends the community.
Even coach Blasco, who never is quiet on a tape recorder admitted, “I am exhausted.”
So on Sunday, on a day some say God rested, Sam Jahn was saving kids lives in the pool.