The TMHS boys shut down West Valley’s leading scorers Jaden Whiteside and Cornelius Mingo Jr. Saturday, but the Wolfpack’s role players filled the void to garner the visitors their only win in their four-game trip to the capital city.
West Valley defeated Thunder Mountain 76-62.
“We came out slow again tonight, but the big difference today (Saturday) was the third quarter,” TMHS’ Noah Reishus-O’Brien said. “You can’t come out slow to start both halves. That really killed us tonight.”
The Falcons went down 10-0 to start Friday’s game, and again let the Wolfpack establish dominance early in Saturday’s game, going down 2-11 early.
Reishus-O’Brien led the team in scoring with a game-high 23 points.
He’s learned a bit about his team in the four games the Falcons have played so far against West Valley, a series which the teams have split.
“Anyone can come out and do good,” he said. “We stopped their main scorers, but it’s those other guys you have to keep an eye out for.”
West Valley junior Jaquarious Ward — seldom the leading scorer for his team — put up 23 on 11 field goals and a free throw. No other West Valley player had more than 13.
The Wolfpack harbor championship aspirations, and after losing three straight games in which they had a lead, the visitors wanted this one bad.
“It was tough coming down here to Juneau and playing these tough teams on their home courts,” Mingo Jr. said of their four game tilt against Juneau’s two high school programs. “We needed to learn how to close and we came together as a team tonight.”
“I feel like we could go all the way,” he added. “It’s going to be tough road, it’s not going to be easy, but I feel like we can get the job done and bring a ring back to the city.”
The Falcons hit eight threes in Saturday’s game, they had 12 in a previous game against West Valley, which the Falcons won.
The Thunder Mountain boys next play at the AK Prep Shootout Jan. 13 and 14 at Dimond High School. Dimond is currently ranked No. 1 in the state according to an Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches poll.
Neither Juneau team has yet made the poll’s top five this year.
Thunder Mountain 11 17 7 27 — 76
West Valley 13 19 23 21 — 62
Thunder Mountain (62) — Reishus-O’Brien 24, Saviers 22, McAndrews 6, Clark 6, Olsen 2, Carandang 2
West Valley (76) — Ward 23, Peter 13, Davis 10, Erhart 10, Winfrey 7, Whiteside 5, Mingo Jr. 4, Keeton 2, Fields-Colbert 2
Free throws — Thunder Mountain 14-20, West Valley 10-19
3-point goals — Thunder Mountain 8, West Valley 4
Team fouls — Thunder Mountain 21, West Valley 18