Falcons under pressure

Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2010

In the second game of their three-game road trip, the Lathrop Malemutes pressured Thunder Mountain into a 63-48 loss Saturday afternoon in Fairbanks.

Coach John Blasco said Lathrop's full-court pressure bothered the Falcons and disrupted the flow of the offense.

"It was one of those low-energy games where we had some guys sick and we just could never get going," he said. "Our decisions against the press hurt us and once you get down 8-10 (points) in the fourth it's hard to come back."

Blasco said the Falcons committed too many turnovers during the second quarter, during which Lathrop outscored Thunder Mountain 19-6.

"That quarter hurt us pretty bad," he said. "That was when we had our colossal turnovers. They just continued to press us and attack...and we never quite made the adjusments.

"It's one of those things where you have to value every possession."

The two teams were supposed to meet Thursday but the date was pushed back to Saturday afternoon due to bad travel and weather conditions. So the Falcons were faced with three games in two days, a task they may be faced with come regional tournament time.

"It's weird playing an afternoon game knowing that you still have another game to play," Blasco said. "But no excuses - we had to come ready to play no matter what especially when we're getting ready to go into a tournament."

The Falcons were able to come back in the third quarter, but Blasco said they weren't able to keep the score close.

"It's one of those things where when we make runs back we have to sustain them so we don't let it get away from us again," Blasco said.

Cody Grussendorf led Thunder Mountain scoring with 22 points. Reese Saviers added 14 and Jazz King pitched in nine.

The Thunder Mountain boys' basketball team started their final regular-season road trip on a sour note Friday as the North Pole Patriots squeaked out a 62-61 victory over the Falcons in Fairbanks.

A TMHS fourth-quarter rally came up just short as the Falcons were unable to stop the clock after Cody Grussendorf pulled the score to within a point on a last-second made three. Time expired before they were able to foul and send the Patriots to the free throw line.

Coach John Blasco said this was a difficult loss.

"It was a very up-tempo game as North Pole really likes to scramble you with pressure," he said. "Definitely would have liked to have this one - the kids fought hard and we continue to play good basketball."

The Patriots jumped out to an early 10-point third-quarter lead after the Falcons went into halftime with a 30-29 advantage. Thunder Mountain struggled during the third period but was able to fight back in the fourth quarter to make it a one-possession game with three minutes remaining.

Cody Grussendorf was the leading scorer for the Falcons with 19 points on the night, followed by Jazz King with 17 and Reese Saviers with 12.

Due to weather and travel conditions, the opening game of the road trip against Lathrop, scheduled for Thursday, was rescheduled for Saturdayafternoon.

Thunder Mountain girls open strong, fall to North Pole

The Thunder Mountain girls' basketball team fell to the North Pole Patriots in Fairbanks 60-26 despite a strong first quarter by the Falcons.

Though they were outscored, TMHS was only down 20-13 after the first quarter, an improvement on last weekend's performances in the opening period.

Coach Tanya Nizich said the team executed well in the first quarter, but turnovers were eventually the story of the game.

"We came out strong in the first quarter offensively getting a lot of good looks at the basket," she said in an e-mail. "Our blocking out and rebounding really came around tonight, but they were more of a fast break team and took advantage of our turnovers. The hustle game is there for us, we need to take care of the ball, lessen our turnovers and we'll be in good shape."

Freshman Jonelle Staveland led the way for the Falcons with 10 points on the night. Shale Kibby had six points.

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