SITKA - All season long, as Hoonah boys basketball players aimed for the school's first region title and state tournament berth since 1998, the team motto was "Git-R-Done."
After the Braves beat Kake 71-53 in Saturday's region title game, the team gathered under the newly netless basket and inaugurated a new motto: "Got-R-Done."
Hoonah hit 12 3-pointers in the game - six by senior captain Dustin Bowen - as the Braves claimed the Southeast Conference-Class 2A title at B.J. McGillis Gymnasium on the campus of Mount Edgecumbe High School.
"It's incredible - something I can't explain, really," Braves sophomore co-captain D.J. Lindstrom said after his team trimmed down one of the gym's nets before a crowd of vocal Hoonah fans.
"We couldn't ask for anything better," Hoonah coach Gary Brown Sr. said.
With their title-game appearances, Hoonah (22-3 overall) and Kake (15-7 overall) both earned spots at the state tournament later this week at Anchorage's Service High School. And while Hoonah "Got-R-Done" - in the words of comedian Larry the Cable Guy - both teams are looking to go far at state.
They are also both making their first state appearances in several years; Kake last traveled to state in 2001. Last year's region champion, Hydaburg, was unable to field a team this year, while 2004 region runner-up Angoon took fourth place this season.
Saturday's championship game remained close through the first half; the largest lead for either team was four points - by Hoonah, twice. Kake tied the game at 23-all when junior Derek Knudsen hit a free throw with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left in the half.
Bowen opened the second-half scoring by hitting a 3-pointer with 7:01 left in the third quarter, and the Braves went on a 20-9 run in the period as their lead grew as high as 18 points.
Kake closed to within eight points - 47-39 - with 6:55 left in the fourth quarter when senior star Tim Demmert sank a pair of free throws. But Hoonah made sure the Thunderbirds drew no closer.
Bowen scored a game-high 28 points and Lindstrom added 18 - including four 3-pointers - for the Braves. Devin Moritz scored 13 points and Lloyd Lewin - who was team manager for the Juneau-Douglas boys basketball team last season - chipped in 12 for Hoonah.
The title was especially sweet for Brown, Hoonah's coach, who coached many of his players when they were in middle school. He took over the high school varsity program just this season.
"I knew what the kids were doing, how to work with them, and they were great all year," Brown said.
Knudsen scored 22 points and Demmert added 20 on Saturday for Kake, which had trouble sinking shots.
"It was one of those games where we couldn't hit anything and they hit everything," Kake coach Scott Jackson said.
Jackson said his team aims to do well at state, but already has achieved a lot - including the regular-season conference title and the state tourney berth.
"The expectations are overfilled," he said. "Whatever comes now, we'll be proud."
Hoonah reached Saturday's title game with an 86-77 win over Yakutat in a Friday semifinal. In the other semifinal, Kake beat Thorne Bay 79-44.
Tournament awards and additional photos will run later this week in the Empire.
Third-fifth place game
Eagles 85, Wolverines 46
Kyle Dierick scored 22 points, and three other Yakutat players scored in double figures as the Eagle boys beat Thorne Bay 85-46 on Saturday to take third place at the region tourney.
Ben Dunbar added 16 points - including three 3-pointers - while Jack Klushkan scored 15 points and Jay Sin had 13 for Yakutat (15-8 overall), which led 39-17 at halftime.
Ryan Gray scored 20 points - including three 3-pointers - to lead Thorne Bay (6-12 overall), while Jake Howell added 13 points.
Fourth-sixth place game
Eagles 62, Panthers 19
Chris Kookesh scored 20 points, including three 3-pointers, as the Angoon boys beat Skagway 62-19 on Saturday to take fourth place at the region tournament.
John Croasmun hit four 3-pointers and scored 16 points for Angoon (7-12 overall), while Adam Johnson added 15 points. The Eagles took a 30-10 lead at halftime.
Jacob Henricksen scored seven points to lead Skagway (4-18 overall), while senior John McCluskey led a trio of Panthers with three points apiece.
Braves 86, Eagles 77
Lloyd Lewin scored 20 points and D.J. Lindstrom added 19 as the Hoonah boys beat Yakutat on Friday in a high-powered region semifinal game.
Lewin served as team manager for the Juneau-Douglas High School boys basketball team last season, and in that role he won the 2003 Capital City Classic free-throw contest. His mom is from Hoonah, and he moved there during the offseason - and helped the Braves to a state tournament berth.
"It's been a blast - and now we're going to state," said Lewin, who added that Friday's game was his biggest of the season. "It means a lot. I'm kind of speechless right now."
Dustin Bowen added 14 points and Devin Moritz scored 13 for Hoonah, which led 46-34 at halftime and 64-54 after three quarters.
Yakutat hit nine 3-pointers in the game, including four apiece by Ben Dunbar and Kyle Dierick. Dierick finished with a game-high 26 points for the Eagles, while Jack Klushkan added 19 and Dunbar finished with 16 points.
Thunderbirds 79, Wolverines 44
Daniel Knudsen scored 28 points and Tim Demmert had 24 as the Kake boys rolled over Thorne Bay 79-44 on Friday in their region tournament semifinal.
Top-seeded Kake took a 19-5 lead after the first quarter and was ahead 41-21 at halftime. Shawn Jackson added 11 points for the Thunderbirds, who secured a state tournament berth with their win.
Ryan Gray scored 17 points - including three 3-pointers - and Jesse Grant added 16 for Thorne Bay.
Eagles 68, Chieftains 56
Adam Johnson scored 25 points and John Croasmun added 16 as the Angoon boys beat Klawock 68-56 on Friday in the region tourney's consolation bracket.
Klawock took a 16-8 lead with 2:25 to play in the first when Stephen Ellison put back a missed free throw for two of his game-high 29 points.
But Johnson completed a three-point play with 21 seconds left in the period to put Angoon up 18-16 to end the first quarter - a lead the Eagles would maintain. They were ahead 32-24 at halftime.
Konrad Frank chipped in 11 points for Angoon. Rock Mackinnon added 10 points for Klawock, which ended its season with an 0-16 record.
Andrew Krueger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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