After clinching the Southeast Region V Basketball Tournament top seed on Friday night, the Thunder Mountain High School Falcons boys could have let up on senior night Saturday and coast into the championships next week.
That is not in the Falcons nature.
After Friday’s 62-43 win over Juneau-Douglas High School, TMHS (7-1 conference, 18-6 overall) went head-to-head with the Crimson Bears (3-5, 8-16) on Saturday and came away with a 57-52 win.
Ty Grussendorf and Josh Tupou gave the Falcons an early 6-0 lead and JDHS’ Jackson Lehnhart went back-to-back to pull the Crimson Bears even in a game that saw 15 lead changes and three buzzer beaters.
Josh Tupou broke a 15-15 tie at the end of the first quarter with a make at the buzzer.
JDHS went on a 6-0 run at the end of the second quarter on baskets by Keith Ainsworth and Lehnhart to lead 30-23 with four seconds remaining.
That was just enough time for Ben Jahn to can a three-pointer and pull the Falcons to within four points at the half.
The Falcons tied the score at 36 with 1:55 remaining on a Vili Tupou drive, B. Jahn hit two free throws and Grussendorf went back door for a 40-36 advantage and momentum with just seconds remaining. This time JDHS got the finish as Phillip Fenumiai hit a length of the floor lay in with time expiring to cut the score to 40-38 starting the final quarter.
JDHS’ Ainsworth tied the score for the last time with 7:25 remaining in the final stanza. A basket by Sam Jahn inside and a key momentum triple by Mike Uddipa started a 9-0 run and the Crimson Bears did not find the hoop until 1:42 remained and Aquino Brinson slashed in for a score. JDHS could not get closer than five points down the stretch.
TMHS shot 20-39 from the field and 11-17 at the charity stripe; JDHS hit 21-39 outside and just 9-22 at the line. TMHS had eight turnovers to seven for JDHS.
Sam Jahn had a game-high 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Falcons, B. Jahn added 13 points (6 RB), J. Tupou (4 RB, 2 AST) and Grussendorf seven points apiece, V. Tupou (5 AST) six, Matt Seymour four, and M. Uddipa three.
Fenumiai led JDHS with 10 points (3 AST, 1 ST), Lehnhart nine (4 RB. 2 AST), Ainsworth (2 AST, 1 ST), Brinson (2 AST) and Gary Speck (7 RB) eight apiece, Jeff Pusich four, Nathan Klein three, and Adam Empson two.
The JDHS Crimson Bears’ girls (7-1, 14-10) put a damper on senior night for the Falcons (1-7, 7-17), following Friday’s 55-39 win with a 56-36 game that featured nearly 60 free throws.
The physical clash saw the Crimson Bears take and early 7-0 run as Gabi Fenumiai hit inside and Kaitlin Fagerstrom found inside and deep range and forced TMHS coach Tanya Nizich to burn a time out.
The Falcons clawed their way to the quarter’s end trailing 13-8 as Sarah Morris scored six of her eight-game points in the stanza.
Ashley Young scored seven of her 10-game points in the second quarter but triples by Esra Siddeek and Marissa Brakes kept the momentum with the Crimson Bears 26-18 at the half.
JDHS managed just six points in the third quarter, all from the free throw line and half of the Falcons eight came from the charity stripe as well. TMHS used an aggressive attack by Ava Tompkins and Sarah Morris to pull within six points, 32-26, starting the final quarter.
A 14-4 run by the Crimson Bears to start the final quarter put the game out of reach. JDHS hit 12 free throws in the period and went 21-36 for the game. TMHS hit 10-23 at the charity stripe.
The Crimson Bears hit just 15-51 from the field and the Falcons 12-35.
JDHS had 11 turnovers to 18 for TMHS.
Fenumiai led the Crimson Bears with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks, Fagerstrom (7 RB) and Ari Gross (5 RB, 1 BLK) added 11 points apiece, Brakes nine (6 AST, 3 ST), Siddeek eight, Tori Fogg two (1 AST, 1 ST), and Kymberlee Kelly (4 RB) and Nini Maka one each. Balovich grabbed four rebounds and three steals; T Jae Garcia had three rebounds and three assists.
Tompkins (game-high 12 rebounds, 2 AST, 1 ST) and Young led the Falcons with 10 points apiece; Morris added eight, Staveland (8 RB) and Tingley (5 AST) three each, and Reeves two
Next up for Juneau teams are the Region V Championships at Mt. Edgecumbe on March 5-9.