The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team split their Southeast Conference weekend series with the Ketchikan Kings, falling 52-43 on Saturday night in the Thunder Dome after winning on Friday, 56-48.
“Ketchikan obviously played a very good game,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “They executed well on both ends of the floor much better than we did. Collectively, as a team, they beat us.”
The Falcons trailed 13-12 after the first quarter despite the deep triples by seniors Matt Seymour and Josh Palmer.
Ketchikan never trailed starting the second quarter of play. Over half of the Kings points came inside the key while the Falcons struggled to stop dribble penetration.
“I thought our defense was key,” Ketchikan coach Eric Stockhausen said. “The Falcons have three of the best players you will find in the state in 4A basketball. Ben (Jahn) has been sick but he is an all-conference player. We tried to focus on the good looks that cost us the game last night from Jacob (Calloway) and Matt (Seymour). We tried to get to the shooters earlier. We just got a couple lucky bounces.”
The Falcons settled quickly for shots through the third quarter while the Kings were patient. Kayhi’s Isaiah Navales hit two triples in a row to end a TMHS run and the Kings led by six, 38-32, starting the final quarter.
“We didn’t get in any offensive groove,” Blasco said. “And they got a lot of open looks, which means they were executing their offense well. They held their composure the entire game.”
Ketchikan held the momentum going into the fourth quarter when TMHS’ Palmer inbounded the ball, moved to the corner and received the return pass to drain a long 3-point shot and pull the Falcons to within three at 38-35.
Ketchikan’s Alex Pihl drove for a basket and was fouled, completing a three-point play.
Trent Uddipa hit a deep triple to close the spread again with 6:42 remaining. Neither team could find a basket until the 2:34 mark when the Kings’ Navales hit two free throws for a 43-38 lead.
The Falcons would up their full court pressure and the Kings were content to step to the free throw line.
Ketchikan hit 7-10 from the charity stripe in the last 1:46 of play.
Palmer cut the Kayhi lead to four with a deep 3-point shot with 1:19 remaining, but Ketchikan’s Omar Mendoza answered with a basket and Pihl began his first of three-straight trips to the foul line.
Ned Days free throws with 14.8 seconds remaining put the Kings ahead 52-41.
With 9.3 seconds left, T. Uddipa drove the floor for the last Falcons basket.
“I told the kids we have to accept the loss,” Blasco said. “But you have to learn from it. If you don’t learn from it then it is a bigger loss than it needs to be.”
TMHS went 5-7 at the charity stripe; Kayhi hit 14-20.
“I am vert proud of my kids,” Stockhausen said. “They really gave me everything they had, and that is all I could ask for. I feel fortunate that we were able to get a win down here. Coach Blasco does an amazing job and has a great team that has been playing well. Southeast is a tough conference. Coach (Robert) Casperson does a great job with Juneau. For us, we have been up and down and I think we are starting to hit our stride. This was a good win against a very good team, and that is what Southeast basketball is about. I am honored to be a part of it.”
TMHS: Josh Palmer — 10 points, 1 ast, 1 steal, 4-6 fgs, 2-3 three’s; Matt Seymour — 9 points, 7 rebs, 3 ast, 3-5 fgs, 1-2 three’s, 2-2 free throws; Luke Nye — 10 points, reb, 1 ast, 4-5 fgs; Mike Uddipa — 3 points, 1-3 fgs, 1-1 three’s; Ryan Lee — 4 points, 2 rebs, ast, 1-2 fgs, 2-2 free throws; Jacob Calloway — 1 point, 1 reb, ast, 3 steals, 0-3 fgs, 0-3 three’s.
KHS: Alex Pihl — 9 points, 2 rebs, 5 ast, 3 steals, 2-4 fgs, 0-1 three’s, 5-7 free throws; Isaiah Naveles — 17 points, 1 reb, 1 ast, 4-5 fgs, 3-3 three’s, 6-6 free throws; Ned Day — 10 points, 2 rebs, 1 steal, 4-4 fgs, 2-2 free throws; Mo Bullock — 5 points, 7 rebs, 1 ast, 2-3 fgs, 1-2 free throws; Colton Paulsen — 4 points, 5 rebs, 1 ast, 2-4 fgs; Malik Almenzor — 5 points, 2-5 fgs, 1-2 three’s; Omar Mendoza — 2 points, 1-1 fgs.
TMHS 56, KAYHI 48
The TMHS boys got behind the shooting of Seymour, Palmer and Calloway to take a 56-48 win on Friday in the first Southeast Conference meeting between the two schools this season.
Seymour and Palmer hit for 15 points each and Calloway 13. No other Falcons player had more than one basket.
“You could see Matt was going early and Josh was on tonight, too,” Blasco said. “Jacob stayed consistent but you could see that Josh wanted it late, so we got him the ball.”
Alan Fisher and Mike Uddipa hit their only baskets of the night in the first quarter, each burying a deep triple and Seymour and Calloway both scored from the charity stripe and Palmer from the field in a 12-12 contest.
The game would be even at the half 25-25.
“Defensively I don’t like where we are,” Blasco said. “We are getting beat off the dribble too much, especially baseline with no help-side. We did make some stops when we needed too.”
Palmer opened the third quarter with a triple, Seymour had six straight points and two blocks, Nye hit his only bucket, and Calloway closed the period with a triple and a 39-36 advantage.
Calloway scored on an intentional foul to start the fourth quarter and was awarded two free throws as well, giving TMHS momentum and a 43-37 lead. Ketchikan closed to within two on baskets by Pihl and Almenzor, but after a TMHS timeout Palmer whirled around his defender for a basket and a foul and a five-point advantage.
The Falcons answered each Kings basket down the stretch and Seymour made the score 49-45 and then blocked his third shot of the game with 1:47 remaining.
“I was really mad I missed that free throw before,” Seymour said. “We just needed to pick it up defensively. The whole game we didn’t play well defensively and I think everyone can tell you that. I think we will bring it tomorrow night, I really hope we do because Ketchikan is a great team. Kudos to them. They did a good job on us defensively.”
A turnover by Kayhi gave Calloway room to bury a triple with 1:04 left.
Isaiah Navales scored and was fouled to bring the kings within four at 52-48 but Seymour hit two free throws and blocked a deep shot by Pihl, secured the ball and passed it ahead to Uddipa for the final score of 56-48.
Pihl led the Kings with 13 points, Ned Day nine, Navales and Paulsen eight each, Mo Bullock and Almenzor four each and Jason James two.
TMHS went 13-18 at the charity stripe; Kayhi was 7-11.