The Thunder Mountain High School boys’ basketball team showed just how much it has improved in the young season, dominating the Palmer Moose 69-38 in the final day of the Mt. McKinley Bank Holiday Classic at Monroe Catholic in Fairbanks on Saturday to place second overall. Seven Falcons vied for top scoring honors in the contest and senior Ben Jahn and junior Jacob Calloway were selected to the All-Tournament team.
“We moved the ball really well today,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “I will be curious to see what our assist to turnover ratio is because we were moving the ball quite well.”
Junior Jacob Calloway and sophomore Guy Bean scored 10 points apiece, seniors Josh Palmer, Collin Ludeman and Luke Nye added nine points each and senior Matt Seymour and junior Trent Uddipa hit for eight points apiece. Calloway missed the second half with a leg bruise.
Ball reversal along the perimeter, pushing the fast break and looking for teammates was key.
“We had our heads up today,” Blasco said.
The Falcons and Moose were tied at 11 after one quarter and then Calloway and Bean were the recipients of passes outside the arch as TMHS ball movement opened a 29-18 margin at the half.
Josh Palmer moved into the starting lineup in Friday’s win over Service and was vital in helping Uddipa run the offense in the past two games, while continuing to rebound and contribute assists.
“I think my role is controlling the ball and controlling the pace,” Palmer said. “Getting everyone involved and letting my shots be ones I can knock down.”
In the second half, the Falcons looked for more fast break opportunities and J. Palmer joined Bean in the 3-point club in the third quarter as six different Falcons scored in a 21-point barrage that put the game away 50-27 with a eight minutes remaining.
TMHS went 11-15 at the free throw line in the final quarter (19-25 for the game), while the Moose were 11-13 throughout.
With Calloway, Seymour and Ben Jahn the main offensive threats, the addition of Palmer to the backcourt gives another scorer to the perimeter while also keeping team chemistry a priority.
“All five guys on the floor working together is our strength,” Palmer said. “We have some pretty good players on the team. We just have to keep practicing and getting better.”
Palmer left Juneau to attend high school in Montana while a freshman and sophomore and Utah as a junior.
“A little bit,” Palmer responded when asked if that high altitude aided his basketball play. “It is awesome to be back. Everyone on the team is my best friend. We stayed friends when I left. My brother played for coach Blasco and I knew he would treat me well.”
Jahn added four points and 13 rebounds for the Falcons, and Brendan Pietz scored two points.
Monroe won the tournament, finishing play on Saturday with a 72-48 win over Service.
The Falcons next play at the Dimond Tournament Thursday through Saturday.
Friday score: TMHS 77, Service 68.
Calloway led the Falcons with 21 points, Palmer 15, Seymour 10, Jahn nine, T. Uddipa seven, Nye six, M. Uddipa five, Ludeman and Bean two apiece. TMHS hit 20-29 at the free throw line; Service went 8-23.
Service’s Reece Robinson scored a game-high 26 points and Ihro Raguindin added 15. The Falcons lost 81-55 to Monroe on the tournament’s opening day.