Eyerus Tingley converted a pair of free throws with 25.2 seconds remaining to break a 36-all tie, and the Thunder Mountain girls’ basketball team held on to beat Ketchikan 39-36 at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium on Friday for its first-ever Southeast Conference win.
Tingley scored a team-high 10 points as the Falcons rallied from a 33-29 deficit in the fourth quarter with a 10-3 run to close the game. Her free throw with 15.1 seconds left put the Falcons ahead by three and — after a last-second 3-pointer from Ketchikan freshman Jayley Taylor fell well short — brought on the moment they have been waiting for since Thunder Mountain started playing varsity athletics last season.
“It’s an incredible feeling for these girls,” Thunder Mountain coach Tanya Nizich said. “We’ve been working hard and practicing every day. ... We wanted this and they got it.”
Thunder Mountain had been close to its first conference win before, leading early in both of a pair of January home games against Ketchikan before faltering down the stretch.
This game had a similar feel as the Falcons held Ketchikan to three points in the second quarter and took a 17-13 lead into the halftime break. Ketchikan rallied to cut the lead to 26-25 at the start of the fourth, and didn’t waste any time jumping back ahead once the final period started.
Senior Erin Doherty continued her hot shooting with a 3-pointer that put the Kings ahead 28-27. Another Doherty triple made it 32-29 will less than six minutes remaining.
After that, the game became a free-throw contest.
Taylor made it 34-31 with a free throw at the 3:40 mark. Thunder Mountain’s Kaitlin Tarver cut the lead to two on a free throw of her own. Doherty pushed it back to four on a perfect 2-for-2 trip to the line, but Thunder Mountain’s Jonelle Staveland made it 36-33 with a free throw and then 36-34 with another at the 1:49 mark.
She grabbed an offensive board and drew a foul on Taylor, hitting both freebies to tie the game at 36-36 with 52.2 left to play. Thunder Mountain forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds play, and Tingley found herself at the line with a chance to put the Falcons ahead.
No problem — she coolly sank both without grazing the rim.
“She’s a pretty calm player when things get hectic,” Nizich said. “Teammates would probably trust (Tingley) to have the ball in her hands.”
Kings rebound Saturday to earn split
Erin Doherty finished off a fantastic individual weekend with 18 points — nine in the second quarter alone — and the Ketchikan girls’ basketball team avenged a Friday loss to Thunder Mountain by beating the Falcons 42-30 at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium on Saturday.
Doherty scored in double digits for the third consecutive night, piloting the Ketchikan offense as the Lady Kings jumped out to a 21-9 lead at the half and never trailed again.
Doherty scored a game-high 20 points in Ketchikan’s 39-36 loss to the Falcons Friday, and 13 in one quarter of a blowout win over 3A Mt. Edgecumbe Thursday.
Jonelle Staveland led all Thunder Mountain scorers with 13 points. Kaitlin Tarver and Tingley each added four for the Falcons.
Thunder Mountain’s offense struggled for most of the night, scoring just one point in the second quarter and five in the third before a 16-point outburst in the final period with the game out of reach. The Falcons scored 13 points in the fourth quarter Friday — all on free throws — but took a different approach Saturday, hitting five field goals over the final eight minutes, including two treys by Staveland.
“We’ll take away the positive of knowing that they can do that in the fourth quarter when you’re staring at the scoreboard how it was, you should be able to start the game like that,” Thunder Mountain coach Tanya Nizich said.
Nizich drew a technical with 1:01 left in the third quarter while arguing that a Staveland basket that was waved off for an earlier foul on the ground should have been counted. She appeared to have a point, but it didn’t sway the officials as Doherty hit both free throws to make it 31-14.
The Kings weren’t happy, either, objecting to what they viewed as an overly physical fourth quarter. Ketchikan shot 11 free throws in the final eight minutes and 18 in the second half.
Ketchikan’s JV team beat Thunder Mountain’s JV for the second consecutive night, winning 51-37 Saturday behind 17 points from Brooke Simmons. Kaylynn Haywood added 12 for the Lady Kings.
Thunder Mountain got 12 from Shayla Reeves.
•Ketchikan Daily News Sports Editor John Borneman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org