The Thunder Mountain boys’ basketball team had a chance at a winning trip up North on Friday night against Eagle River, but a double-digit halftime lead wasn’t enough as the Wolves exploded for 51 second-half points to drop the Falcons 70-61 in the finale of a three-game road swing for Thunder Mountain.
TMHS led 32-19 heading into the third quarter, but Falcons coach John Blasco said the wheels fell off defensively in the second half.
“It was an unfortunate turn of events for the second half,” he said. “It was a matter of us becoming really passive. We allowed them to catch the ball anywhere they wanted inside the key early, then they started knocking down threes.“
Eagle River caught fire right out of the gates after intermission, but Blasco said his team’s defense, or lack thereof, had a lot to do with the Wolves’ offensive execution. After scoring just 19 first-half points, the Wolves outscored the Falcons 51-29 over the final two quarters.
“You can’t give up 51 points in one half to a team and expect to win games. We fed right into their tempo of play and they got a lot of momentum,” he said. “Our turnovers and poor shot selections just fed right into what they wanted to do.”
But with such a young team, Blasco said it’s good to find a silver lining from which his players can learn a lesson.
“The main thing I talked about was maturity, leadership and the fact that we crumbled, in a sense, and not one person was stepping up to control the game,” Blasco said. “Hopefully it’s a learning experience to have it happen in a nonconference game. We can’t let something like that happen against a (Juneau-Douglas) or (Ketchikan).
“Hopefully we can build on it instead of dwell on it.”
Sophomore big man Sam Jahn and freshman brother Ben led Thunder Mountain in scoring with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Falcons returned home Saturday and are set for a 6:30 p.m. tip-off against Wasilla on Thursday at TMHS.