Klukwan rode on the shoulders of Jeff Sharnbroich on the way to Gold Medal gold on Saturday.
The big man led the way for Klukwan with a game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds in a 67-59 routing of Kake in the 2014 Juneau Lions Club’s 68th annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament Masters championship.
“Pick a team, Hoonah, Kake, they are all just very physical,” Sharnbroich said. “I have a lot of respect for those guys. It is just a battle. Every time we get together we know it is going to come down to the wire, it is just a blast. So much fun. I am always scared they are going to come and drop six 3’s in our face. So ,there is never a time when we are comfortable, but when they started fouling and we were going to the free throw line, that was when I knew we had it.”
Jake Hallingsted scored for Kake to pull them within 35-21 with 12:29 remaining in the second half. With 13:32 remaining, however, Klukwan’s Sharnbroich scored and was fouled flagrantly.
The basket went in and Sharnbroich made both free throws in the intentional foul, plus Klukwan got the ball and Guy Tompkins nailed a shot for the 41-24 advantage.
“We just wanted to slow it down and pound it inside,” Tompkins said. “We got the big guys in a mismatch. We still ran a little bit too much to my liking, but we made them work on defense and I think it paid in the end. As much as they were running and chasing us and getting the turnovers on us, they were getting worn out at the same time.”
Slowly Kake got back in striking distance and narrowed the lead. The Kupreanof boys put together a 7-2 run to pull within 43-29.
After a Klukwan went up 47-31, Kake mounted a second 7-0 to glose the gap.
“There was never point in the game we felt comfortable,” Tompkins said. “Never with Kake. Even that last 30 seconds when I subbed off I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t do this. They can make a lot of points in a short time.”
Frank Coronell, Don Nash and Tompkins again pushed the lead out and Kake answered with baskets by Jay Peterson and Kip Howard to pull to 54-46 with 2:55 remaining.
Klukwan began a steady walk to the free throw line as Kake had to foul to get the ball out of the slow-down offense of their opponents.
Klukwan’s shots connected in the final three minutes of action while Kake went cold from beyond the arch.
“I think we spent too much time off after playing on Wednesday,” Kake coach Delbert Kadake said. “Wednesday to Saturday is a long break. That kind of hurts a little.”
Willis Cavanaugh buried a three to bring Kake within eight points at 57-49 with 2:18 remaining, and Lloyd Davis twice kept that margin with baskets at 1:55 and 1:13.
Fouls caught up with Kake; Peterson and Nick Davis all fouled out of the game.
After two made Sharnbroich free throws, Joe Parnell stole the inbound pass and was fouled, made the first free throw and missed the second, got his own rebound and was fouled again.
Parnell made one-of-two and then Kake’s Cavanaugh canned the a 3-pointer for final score of 67-59.
This is Klukwan’s fifth Gold Medal championship. Klukwan won A bracket titles in 1962 and 1967, and Masters titles in 2008, 2013, and on Saturday.
Sharnbroich led Klukwan with 24 points, Tompkins 14, Parnell 12, Coronell 8, Chris Wassman 5, and Don Nash 4.
Klukwan hit 23-34 from the charity stripe; Kake went 11-15.
Peterson led Kake with 17 points, N. Davis 13, Howard 11, W. Cavanaugh 6, L. Davis 5, Jake Hallingsted 4 and Wayne Friday 3.