Ketchikan turned a three-point, fourth-quarter lead into a 73-53 blow out over Thunder Mountain on Saturday in Southeast Conference boys' basketball behind a 21-0 run.
The Kings led 50-41 heading into the final frame, but the Falcons (6-4, 1-1) opened with a 6-0 spurt to close the gap. Freshman forward Keith Ainsworth scored two straight left-handed shots near the basket, and senior guard Reese Saviers knocked down a couple of free throws. But then the wheels fell off for the Falcons as turnovers mounted.
TMHS committed 18 second-half turnovers and went from the 6:27 mark of the fourth quarter until there was just 1:04 left in the game without a bucket as the Kings exploded behind 29 points from Jeff Whicker on the night.
"We found the middle and we broke the press, but then our decisions with the ball afterward were just not smart," TMHS coach John Blasco said. "I kept telling the guys that they want to get you running fast and making quick decisions, and our quick decisions were poor.
Leading 34-30 at the break after trailing most of the first half, Ketchikan had a 9-0 run and a 7-0 run in the third quarter, most of the damage coming with Falcons senior guard and primary ball handler Cody Grussendorf on the bench with foul trouble. Grussendorf had three fouls early in the second quarter and took a seat, he picked up his fourth with 2:11 to go in the third and scored just two points on the night.
"Having Cody in foul trouble definitely hurt us because we never got him in the flow of the offense," Blasco said. "We put him in at (point guard), but when he's not in the game we have to have other guys step up. And they did, we just weren't as strong without him on the floor."
After scoring just one field goal and 7 points in the first quarter, the Kings poured it on in the second with 27.
Ketchikan coach Erick Stockhausen said he knew his team would eventually find its rhythm after struggling to make shots for two games and the first quarter Saturday.
"We shot 27 percent (Friday) and 22 percent the game before, and before that we were shooting 51 percent as a team. It was a tough situation," he said. "This was a very physical Southeast 4A game and we're playing a very good team. We just kept attacking and finally it broke loose."
Stockhausen said every conference game this year could go either way.
"All three teams on any given night are going to compete very well with each other," he said. "So this is exciting to be in this league with these three fairly even - if not dead even - teams."
Saviers led the Falcons with 15 points, while Koenig had 10. Tyller Bell added 16 points, and Chas Allen 12 for the three Kings in double figures.
Falcons win first conference tilt
Thunder Mountain pulled off its first conference victory in its first try Friday, 50-40 over visiting Ketchikan in boys' basketball.
The game went back and forth throughout the first half and first four minutes of the of the third period, with five ties and eight lead changes until the Falcons closed the third quarter with a 17-5 run for a 39-31 lead heading into the fourth.
The Falcons were plagued by turnovers in the opening half, committing six in the first quarter and four more in the second.
"Clearly, our intensity was down and when you play lackluster defense, it carries over on your offense," Falcons coach John Blasco said of his team's early struggles to score. "We just didn't take care of the ball, and it was a tale of two different halves. I'm trying to stress to these guys how you have to play the whole game. Ketchikan's a very good team and they just got done traveling, so (Saturday) will be a different day after they get a good night's rest."
Down 26-22 midway through the third, senior guard Torey Franzen got things moving with a putback bucket inside before senior guard Cody Grussendorf stuck step-back 3-pointer, his first of three third-quarter triples.
Junior forward Jazz King scored four straight points inside, and then got a big block of a Jeff Whicker shot that led to a transition lay-up for Reese Saviers. Grussendorf then buried back-to-back 3-balls, the second coming from deep behind the arc for a 10-point, 39-29 lead.
Whicker stopped the run with a bucket off the dribble, making it 39-31 with eight minutes to go.
But the Kings wouldn't go away, starting the fourth quarter with a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 3, 41-38, after Whicker scored inside when Thunder Mountain guard Jack Gates saved it right to him under the Ketchikan basket.
Blasco quickly called timeout, and senior guard Reese Saviers, who had a quiet six points to that point, buried a triple for the key play of the game.
"I just kept stressing to Reese all night that he has to keep shooting," Blasco said. "He's a good shooter and I'm confident he'll knock them down. He loves this gym and one finally fell for us. It was a good time for it."
Whicker scored a lay-up to cut the deficit to 4, 44-40, but it would be the Kings' last bucket as the Falcons closed with a 6-0 spurt over the final 3:31 to set the final score.
Grussendorf finished with 18 points and four 3-pointers, King with 12 and Saviers with 9 .
Whicker, who came into Friday nights' game averaging better than 23 points, scored just four points in the first half before finishing with 13. Grussendorf drew the defensive assignment most of the night.
"Cody did a good job, but I expect him to come back strong (Saturday). He won't be as quiet as he was (Friday). Cody's a good defender, but Whicker is going to find his shot."
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