The Thunder Mountain High School boy’s basketball team split on the road this weekend in Ketchikan, losing 48-46 on Friday and earning a 71-54 win on Saturday that prevented the Kings from clinching the top seed in the region.
The Falcons (14-7 overall, 4-2 Southeast) have two conference games remaining against Juneau-Douglas (7-13, 1-5) while Kayhi (14-9, 5-3) will rest and prepare for the Region V Championships on Mar. 5-8 in Juneau. TMHS can clinch the top tourney seed by sweeping against the Crimson Bears on Feb. 28-Mar. 1 at JDHS.
Saturday saw the Falcons jump out to an 18-6 lead, earn two technical fouls in the second quarter and go on a 8-0 run midway through that period to lead 34-16 with just under three minutes remaining as Matt Seymour and Alan Fisher earned back-to-back steals and scores.
Josh Palmer drew a foul from beyond the arch as time expired before the half. Kayhi dodged a bullet as Palmer missed all three from the charity stripe and TMHS led 36-23 at the break.
Palmer earned redemption with a tip in, a jump shot and a deep three in the third quarter and the Falcons pressed in front and were never threatened down the stretch in the 71-54 win.
Seymour led the Falcons with 23 points and Palmer added 18.
Ketchikan could not stop the physical play of the Thunder Mountain boys who can now clinch the region with a sweep of the JDHS Crimson Bears this coming weekend at JDHS.
TMHS 71, KAYHI 54
Thunder Mountain: Uddipa 1 0-0 2, Fisher 1 0-0 2, Lee 7 0-2 15, Seymour 5 13-14 23, Palmer 5 5-8 18, Ludeman 1 0-0 2, Jahn 1 3-4 5, Nye 2 0-0 4. Totals 23 21-28 71. Three-point baskets: Palmer 3, Lee 1. Fouls: 17. Fouled out: None.
Ketchikan: Navales 5 3-3 14, Mendoza 1 0-0 2, Paulsen 1 2-2 5, Standley 2 0-0 6, Whicker 0 2-2 2, Bullock 2 0-0 4, Pihl 2 2-6 6, Almenzor 4 0-2 8, Pool 1 0-0 3, James 1 0-0 2, Day 1 0-0 2. Totals 20 9-15 54. Three-point baskets: Standley 2, Navales 1, Paulsen 1, Pool 1. Fouls: 20. Fouled out: None.
KAYHI 48, TMHS 46
On Friday Kayhi’s Alex Pihl hit a driving layup as time expired that gave the Kings a 48-46 win over the Falcons.
“Everybody is going to look at that last second shot, but that game was won with the heart and soul of all 15 guys,” Pihl said. “Everybody from 1 to 15 contributed to this win.”
Pihl’s layup capped an exhilarating exchange of baskets in the closing seconds. Kayhi senior Colton Paulsen drained a cold-hearted 3 from the top of the key to put Kayhi ahead 46-44 with 11 seconds to play. Thunder Mountain answered with senior Matt Seymour driving the length of the court and scoring to tie the game with 4 seconds remaining, silencing the Ketchikan crowd.
Paulsen inbounded the ball to Pihl, who quickly drove into the lane and released the ball just before the buzzer for a game-winning layup.
The clock ran down to 1.4 seconds after Seymour’s basket, but officials reset it to four seconds. The same thing happened after Paulsen’s 3-pointer. The clock ran down to 9.3 seconds, but officials reset it to 11 seconds for the Falcons.
Just like the Kings, the Falcons inbounded the ball to their top scorer and Seymour raced the length of the court before fighting his way inside and laying the ball in off the glass.
“We ran the same thing they did,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. “You want your two best players getting the ball and attacking. They both happened to make the basket; I just wish Pihl hadn’t.”
Pihl led the Kings with 12 points, Navales and Malik Almenzor nine each, Paulsen eight, Bullock four..
Seymour led the Falcons 14 points, Lee added 13, and Palmer added seven.