The Klukwan Jilkats never trailed in their 63-35 win over Kake in the 67th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament Masters Bracket Championship game on Saturday at Juneau-Douglas High School.
Jeff Shannbroich hit the opening bucket off the glass for the first two points of the championship game and the Klukwan team was off and running.
Kake would tie the score at 2-all on a basket by Willis Cavanaugh and again at 8-8 on a Kip Howard rebound follow, but Klukwan answered that with a 12-2 run to force a time out at the 10:12 mark by the defending champs from the northwest coast of Kupreanof Island.
“The key for us was our guard spots,” Klukwan coach Larry Sweet said. “We matched up really well with them and I thought we had a little bit of an edge there. Our big guy Joe (Parnell) came through in the clutch, he played some great defense on Kip (Howard) and it was just a tremendous effort by all involved.”
Kake would not score again until the one-minute mark of the half. Klukwan went into the break with a 29-16 lead.
Early second half baskets by Chris Wassman, Shannbroich and Parnell put Klukwan up 38-18 just two minutes into the fray.
Kake never pulled within less than 16 points in the second half and Klukwan continued to run a fast break pace up and down the court.
Klukwan’s Steve Fossman and Rob LaRose were key in the second half in pushing the pace of the game, scoring and passing for deep triples and feeding teammates off the run.
“The team wants me to set the tone of the game,” LaRose said. “I just try to set a pace and hopefully we can maintain that pace and wear the other team down. Our whole theory this time around was to just wear teams down.”
LaRose was selected as the Masters Tournament Most Valuable Player after the game and joining him on all tournament were Fossman and Parnell.
“That was a surprise,” LaRose said. “A complete surprise. I was fighting a cold the whole time so I think from now on I will just get sick before every tournament. I am just excited about this win. We have the trophy back to Klukwan again, and that is where it belongs.”
Klukwan located on the Chilkat River northwest of Haines, now has four Gold Medal titles (A- 1962, 67/ M- 2008 and 2013).
Kake has 17 titles (A-1966, 68, 70, 71/ B-89, 91, 98, 2004/ C- 81, 98, 2006, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12/ M- 2012).
“It is a great feeling to have this trophy back,” Sweet said. “A great feeling.”
Shannbroich led Klukwan with 15 points, Parnell added 11, LaRose 10, Wassman eight, John Hill and Steve Fossman six each, Frank Cornell four, Guy Tompkins two and Don Nash one.
Howard led Kake with 20 points, Mike Knudson and Fred Blandon four apiece, Don James, Cavanaugh and Mike Martin two each.
Klukwan hit 6-8 at the charity stripe, Kake went 2-6.
Masters Division All Tournament Selection were:
Kip Howard (Kake), Willis Cavanaugh (Kake), Rob LaRose (Klukwan), Ed Mercer (Juneau-Alliance), Jack Vogt (Juneau), Showalter Martin (Hoonah), Steve Fossman (Klukwan), Joe Parnell (Klukwan).
Sportsmanship Award: Kip Howard (Kake).
Most Valuable Player: Rob LaRose (Klukwan).
Kake 63, Juneau Alliance 61
Kake played another down to the last second game with a 63-61 win over Juneau Alliance to gain a chance for their title repeat.
Cavanaugh (1 Triple) and Howard led Kake with 13 points apiece, Knudson 12, Martin nine, Anderson (2 Trp) and Rostad six each, T. James and D. James two apiece. They hit 12-16 at the free throw line.
Doug Drazkowski led J-Alliance with a game-high 17 points (3 Triples), Ed Mercer added 14 (1 Trp, 9 rebounds), Sean Joslin 13, Jack Vogt 12, Frank Arabaca three (1 Trp) and Kent Durand two. They hit 10-16 at the free throw line.