The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons boy’s basketball team stunned defending state champion Dimond High School 48-35 in their opening game of the 2013 Alaska Airlines Classic on Thursday in the West Anchorage gymnasium.
“It is a huge win for us,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “We definitely had a game plan going in. Dimond has some scoring threats and our guys executed our game plans really well to slow the game down.”
Thunder Mountain did not give up a quarter, outscoring the state’s second ranked Lynx in each period as they marched on to the semifinal game tonight at 6:30 against Louisiana’s Northwood High School.
Sam Jahn dominated the paint for the Falcons, scoring a game-high 25 points and pulling down a game-high 11 rebounds, as the Lynx had no answer for the athletic senior.
“It was a monster game for Sam,” Blasco said. “And for us.”
The Falcons used a patient offense to counter the same deliberate style of the Lynx. Jahn scored nine of his points in the first quarter and Matt Seymour added a three-pointer and the Falcons led 12-8 starting the second period.
“Dimond had some pushes on us, especially late in the game, and we had our turnovers but we just kept our composure,” Blasco said.
The Falcons led 20-15 at the half and defensively shut down the Lynx in the third period, leading 31-21 with the final eight minutes to play.
When Dimond tried to make a pressing run at the end the Falcons countered with 10 points from the floor and hit 7-11 at the free throw line to keep a spread.
“It was one of the most disciplined games I have ever seen our guys play,” Blasco said.
Seymour added 12 points, six rebounds and two assists in the game and Vili Tupou led the Falcons with seven assists, while scoring three points. Ben Jahn scored four points, Josh Tupou two (with a game-high three steals and four rebounds) and Travis Johnson two points.
Dimond’s Damon Cikanek led the Lynx with 17 points Payton Lauwers added eight, Isaiah Pili six and Austin Torrance and Allen Pangelinan two each.
The Falcons hit 8-12 at the charity stripe while Dimond went 10-10. TMHS had 19 turnovers while Dimond gave up the ball 12 times.
Other first round action included Northwood stopping West Anchorage 61-52, Alabama’s Hoover High School nipping Anchorage’s Service Cougars 88-85, and Florida’s Sagemont High School running past Eagle River 73-39.
The Falcons will face a high-caliber team in Northwood, from Shreveport, Louisiana.
“They are a very athletic team and can get up and down the court pretty darn quick,” Blasco said. “We will definitely need to play another disciplined slow game. Every where you go is different. Southeast basketball is different then Anchorage basketball, and we have to be able to adapt. You have to play to your strengths. We know we can’t run with some of these teams and our guys adapted and played well.”
Two of Sagemont’s players have signed Division I scholarships and two are being recruited; Northwood has three players with scholarship offers and Alabama has two.
A day earlier the Falcons lost a fast paced game to Bartlett High School 58-51.
“They were athletic and quick,” Blasco said. “They got a lot of offensive rebounds in the second half and their pressure in the full court put us at a speed we did not want to play at.”