The Thunder Mountain High School boy’s basketball team fell to Sitka 69-66 in overtime of the Holland America Holiday Shootout championship game on Saturday in the host Wolves’ den.
A last second shot by senior Matt Seymour to win the game and a tying three-point attempt in overtime by senior Josh Palmer both just missed.
“It was a tough loss,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “I don’t think the spread ever got more than seven points.”
The talented Southeast 3A power Sitka Wolves returned four starters to their team and featured a powerful inside game with 6-foot-6 towers Brian Way and Kendrick Payton. The Wolves played a 3-2 zone to counter the Falcons shooters, while TMHS played man defense the whole game.
TMHS’ Seymour and Jacob Calloway both picked up two fouls in the first quarter and played limited minutes in the second quarter.
Collin Ludeman, Brendan Pietz and Ben Jahn picked up the scoring slack to give the Falcons a 15-10 advantage heading into the second stanza, and Guy Bean and Luke Nye scored six and five points, respectively, in the second period to keep TMHS ahead at the break 30-28.
Jahn scored nine of his team-high 20 points in the third period and Calloway added six more before he and Seymour both picked up their fourth fouls. The Falcons kept the lead 49-46 heading into the fourth quarter.
Strong bench play kept Thunder Mountain in the game and was needed in the fourth after Calloway fouled out.
“They realized what worked for them and that was pounding the ball inside on us,” Blasco said. “I was really pleased with our bench tonight. With Jacob and Matt playing limited minutes, the guys on the bench really stepped up.”
Two late free throws and an inside bucket by Way tied the score for Sitka with 3.8 second remaining. Seymour’s shot just inched out of the rim to force overtime.
Seymour would foul out in the extra stanza. All eight of Sitka’s extra points in overtime came from the free throw line.
Palmer hit one three in overtime and his last second shot to tie the game rimmed out. Jahn scored the other overtime basket.
Calloway added 10 points for the Falcons, Nye eight, Seymour six, Bean five, Trent Uddipa and Ludeman four each, Mike Uddipa and Pietz three apiece.
Way led Sitka with a game-high 23 points, Payton added 16, T. Bayne 13, Oscar Barragan 11, and Joey Inman six.
Sitka hit 24-27 at the charity stripe while TMHS went 7-9.
“We did not attack the basket like we should have,” Blasco said. “And they did. They were bigger and more physical and we fouled them.”
Notes: Mike Uddipa and Collin Ludeman were selected to the tournament All-Defensive team, Ben Jahn and Jacob Calloway to the All-Offense team. Sitka played without all-star guard AJ Inman due to a concussion. Play was also stopped for 15 minutes with 1:47 remaining in regulation as medical staff attended to a fan. Grace Christian and Barrow finished with 1-2 records.
The Falcons next play against Dimond on Dec. 26 at TMHS.