Trailing 48-32 in the fourth quarter the future looked grim for the Mt. Edgecumbe boys basketball team in the Region V tournament at Juneau.
The words “Heart And Hustle” that coach Archie Young had written on the black board before the game seemed shadowed.
Instead the future will need shades at least for another day as the Braves went on an 8-2 run to pull within 50-40.
The surge began with a highlight reel from senior Donald Edenshaw.
“This win is huge,” Edenshaw said.
The Braves went on a 10-4 run after the Wolves hit a free throw to close within 55-50.
Edenshaw and teammate Skye Shipton would then foul out on consecutive possessions by Sitka and again the season darkened.
With 1:37 remaining the Braves went on an 11-1 run after Sitka hit a free throw to take a 61-58 lead, capped by Paul Kewon’s triple, a steal by Corby Kasayulie who dished to Tesfaye Herrmann who fed Jaloni Pepper in the corner for another triple and, finally, two pepper free throws.
Sitka scored with 1:01 remaining on AJ Inman drive and Mt. Edgecumbe answered with substitute Nicholas Kelly scoring inside and getting fouled for a three-point play and a 64-60 advantage.
A single free throw by Sitka closed the Wolves to 64-61 and they earned ball possession on the next trip down court.
Mt. Edgecumbe’s Kelly held his ground on a drive by Sitka’s Brian Way, drawing an offensive foul and giving the Braves the ball with 17.7 seconds to play.
Pepper was fouled and sealed the game with two free throws and set the stage for the two teams to play again today (Saturday )at 3:45 p.m. in an “if-necessary” game for the 3A Boys Region V Championship.
“I am very impressed with the hustle of this group,” Mt. Edgecumbe coach Archie Young said. “They showed teamwork. We didn’t do much for the first 32 minutes but the heart and hustle was there for the last eight.”
Pepper led the Braves with 19 points, Donald Edenshaw added 14, Tesfaye Herrmann 9, Kasayulie and Kewon 8 each, Shipton 5, Kelly 3. Mt. Edgecumbe hit 21-32 at the line; Sitka 10-14.
Way scored 21 for the Wolves, AJ Inman 12, Oscar Barragan and Tevan Bayne 10 apiece, Quinten White 6 and Kendrick Payton 2.
The win meant the Braves had to play against Sitka again Saturday night (see front page for that story).
“This is my first chance to repeat,” Edenshaw said. “I want to play hard and try to take advantage of that. They are a good team. We are a young team still and we have a lot of potential.”