Thunder Mountain never recovered from a four-minute scoring drought to start the second quarter Thursday and Wasilla pulled away late for a 70-48 boys’ basketball win for the Warriors at TMHS.
Falcons coach John Blasco said Thunder Mountain wasn’t able to make the best of the opportunities that were presented.
“In the third quarter when we went down 14, we got a technical (foul on 6-foot-9 center Connor Devine) and we didn’t capitalize. We got the fourth foul on (Braydon) Kuiper, and we didn’t capitalize,” he said. “We get several rebounds and turnovers and we didn’t capitalize. We could have made it a single-digit game very easily, but I think we were complacent.”
After a first quarter that saw fives ties and six lead changes, the Falcons went scoreless over the first half of the second period as Wasilla, No. 4 in the Alaska Association of Basketball Coaches Poll, began to
exploit its big size advantage inside. Devine threw down a two-handed dunk off an inbound play in the first quarter, and was too much around the rim for the undersized Falcons, pacing the Warriors with 12 first-half points. He missed a few good looks around the basket, but Devine was able to get second-chance shots or at least get to the free throw line, though he made just 2 of 7 from the line in the first half.
The Warriors extended their lead to 25-16 over the first four minutes of the second quarter as the Falcons didn’t score until a banker in the lane by sophomore guard Vili Tupou at the 3:53-mark.
A baseline drive and bucket by forward Ben Jahn made it 26-18, Wasilla, and a 3-pointer by Keith Ainsworth pulled the Falcons within 8, 29-21, with less than 30 seconds to go in the half.
But Cole Schierman scored a tough lay-up off the bounce to push the Wasilla lead back to 10, 31-21, at the break.
The Warriors remained 9-12 points ahead throughout the third quarter as the Falcons couldn’t close the gap, even when Devine took a seat after being called for a technical foul. Devine did not return.
The foul resulted in a five-point swing as Grussendorf made both free throws and Jahn scored an old-fashioned 3-point play, making it a 41-33 ball game, but Wasilla answered with five straight points, two at the line for Kuiper and then a triple by Wade Stahle to take a 49-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
A 3-pointer by Thunder Mountain’s Ty Grussendorf cut the deficit to 10, 51-41, with seven minutes to play, but guard Cole Quenga picked Keith Ainsworth’s pocket under the Falcons’ goal for any easy lay-up and Stahle buried a dagger of a 3-pointer. Quenga stole the ball from Ainsworth again for another easy lay-up, and it was all Wasilla over the game’s final minutes as the Warriors closed with a 19-7 spurt to blow the game open.
Devine and Stahle each scored 18 points for Wasilla, Kuiper scored 12 and Quenga 10. Wasilla is at Juneau-Douglas today in the first of a two-game weekend series against the Crimson Bears.
Matt Seymour led the Falcons with 12 points, Grussendorf scored 10 and Ainsworth added nine. Thunder Mountain is at Ketchikan this weekend for a two-game, Southeast Conference swing.