The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team rebounded from Thursday’s opening 59-43 loss to West Anchorage in the Alaska Prep Shootout at Dimond High School by running past the Colony Knights 67-56 in consolation bracket play on Friday.
The Falcons defense held the Knights to just 31 percent from the field and allowed no makes from beyond the arch.
“We definitely focused on Damien Fulp and Bailey West,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “We figured they would be the two main weapons.”
Falcons’ seniors Matt Seymour and Ben Jahn got the assignments on the Division II college signees and held their own.
“They did a very good job on them,” Blasco said.
Fulp would lead Colony with 21 points, but put up 27 shots. West scored just four.
Colony led 17-16 after one quarter and TMHS led 30-28 at the half.
The momentum shifted to the Falcons in the second half.
“A lot of it is talking about adjustments and what you do right and wrong,” Blasco said. “The energy levels at the start of the game and the third quarter are key energy moments. We knew their capabilities and how they could turn it on and our guys have a level of confidence and knew we had to step it up to quite a storm that could come.”
The Falcons went on a 6-0 run midway through the third, taking a 32-31 advantage out to a 38-31 lead as Jahn hit inside, junior Jacob Calloway scored on a pull-up jumper and junior Trent Uddipa stole the ball and hit a layup.
Calloway followed with five points in a row and senior Luke Nye hit as the Falcons start to run away.
After a basket by the Knights, Calloway answered with a deuce and then a deep triple, part of a 9-0 run has the Falcons up by 12, 47-35. Baskets by Nye and Seymour were in the action.
Calloway would add a basket before the buzzer for a 49-35 lead heading into the final quarter.
Colony continued to struggle from the field as play resumed and Calloway scored on a run out with an assist by Jahn.
A triple by senior Matt Seymour with four minutes remaining pushed the Falcons ahead 55-41 and left little doubt who the better team was on the court.
Seymour scored on a layup and was fouled, sinking the extra shot for a 58-41 advantage.
Colony pushed the pressure to full court but TMHS continued to control the glass, spread the floor, and running their offense for open shots.
“I was very pleased with our press break today,” Blasco said. “We were able to move the ball up the floor very effectively to the open shots. It led to open looks and open layups. A lot of teams are pressing us up here so we are getting practice and it will keep making us better.”
Senior Josh Palmer exemplified that fact with a deep triple from the corner and Nye scored on a put back on the team’s next possession.
The Falcons traded baskets for trips to the Knights free-throw line, as the aggressive Colony team attacked the basket to stay in the game with the clock stopped.
TMHS withstood the pressure to win 67-56.
Calloway scored a game-high 22 points, Seymour added 17, Palmer nine (7 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals), Jahn eight (4 RB, 3 AST), Nye four (7 RB), T. Uddipa three, Alan Fisher and Guy Bean two apiece.
TMHS hit 8-15 from the line; Colony 16-21.
Graham Dinkel added nine points for the Knights, Anton Chamblee and Robert Sonnenberg six apiece, Mike Haire five, Tucker Looney three and Harrison Menard two.
TMHS will play the winner of Grace Christian at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday in the 4th/6th place game. Grace defeated Ketchikan 78-37 and shot 16-26 from the 3-point line. In the tourney winners bracket Monroe defeated West 88-56 and West Valley topped Dimond. Monroe will play West Valley for the championship at 8:30 p.m.