It was only natural that the Class 2A Southeast Conference boys basketball championship came down to a battle of the top two seeds.
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Rivals Yakutat and Kake, both ranked in the Alaska Prep Sportswriters poll throughout the season, competed in a nip-and-tuck game last Saturday at Mt. Edgecumbe High School.
Kake's Derek Knudsen scored 24 points as the Thunderbirds defeated Yakutat 61-60 to win the regional championship.
The Thunderbirds raced to a 15-14 first-quarter lead and held a slim 36-33 advantage at halftime. Kake extended its lead to 49-43 after three quarters and held on for the championship.
Xavier Friday scored 14 points. Trevor Rostad posted 13, Shawn Jackson six and Lance Doake and Dean Cavanaugh each scored two points for the Thunderbirds.
Kake will take on Tikigaq at 8 a.m. Tuesday in the Alaska State Basketball Championship quarterfinals at Service High School in Anchorage. It will be the T-Birds second-straight tournament appearance.
Yakutat was led by Sam Ferguson, who had 15 points and three 3-point shots.
Tracy Jackson scored 13 points, Kyle Dierick 10, Jay Sin nine, Jack Klushkan seven and Alin Vale six for the Eagles.
Yakutat will face Cook Inlet Academy at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday at Service.
In Saturday's regional girls championship, Yakutat sealed the Class 2A Southeast title with a commanding victory over Hoonah, 55-27.
Heidi Esbenshade with 18 points led the Eagles, who will take on Tikigaq on 11:20 a.m. Tuesday in the state tournament at Service. Rose Fraker had 14 points, Hannah Esbenshade 10 and Sharnel Vale four. Esther Esbenshade hit three free throws while Sylvia Schumacher, Ashton Schmidt and Kirsten Slate each posted two points for Yakutat.
Amber Lampe led Hoonah with 13 points while Jessica Skaflestad and Brooke Lampe had six points. Kylee Koenig sank two free throws in defeat for the Braves.
Hoonah will take on Bristol Bay at 6:50 p.m. Tuesday at the state tournament in Anchorage.
Hoonah 69, Angoon 58
D.J. Lindstrom poured in 23 points, 15 coming in the fourth quarter, as Hoonah defeated Angoon on Saturday for third place.
The Braves limited Angoon to just five points in the third quarter en route to victory.
Mike Koenig had 16 points and Charles Carteet scored 15 for Hoonah. Austin Lindoff and Steve Montontes each had five points.
Thomas Norris knocked down a 3-pointer and Louie White Jr. sank two free throws in the win.
Aaron Kearns and John Croasmun each scored 16 points for the Eagles.
John Howard had eight points, Michael Howard posted seven points. Marcus Jamestown and Jordan Joseph each scored four points and Konrad Frank had three for Angoon.
Thorne Bay 69, Klawock 47
Four players scored in double-figures for five-man Thorne Bay on Saturday to seal fifth place.
Ryan Gray had 19 points, Josh Christy 16, Casey McDougal 13 and Tim Carl 12 in the win. Jake Howell added nine for the Wolverines.
Klawock's Ryan Armour led his team with 19 points. Sean Hall scored 12, Richard Kato seven and Steve Colcero four. Joseph Sanderson scored three and Jeremy Meece converted a field goal for Chieftains.
Kake 61, Hoonah 53
Kake's Derek Knudsen and Hoonah's D.J. Lindstrom engaged in a thrilling scoring duel in Friday's semifinal, with the Thunderbirds earning the victory.
Knudsen led the Thunderbirds with 26 points. Xavier Friday had 15 points, Shawn Jackson 11 and Lance Doake four. Dean Cavanaugh and Tony Mach each contributed two in the win.
Trevor Rostad knocked down a free throw for Kake.
Lindstrom's 35 points paced the Braves. Thomas Norris and Steve Montontes each scored six points while Brandon Hill, Mike Koenig and Austin Lindoff each tallied two in defeat.
Yakutat 87, Angoon 52
Yakutat advanced to the championship game on Friday with a rout of Angoon in a battle of the Eagles.
Kyle Dierick scored 46 points to lead Yakutat. Tracy Jackson had 15 points, Jay Sin 10 and Sam Ferguson seven. Jack Klushkan posted five points and Alin Vale added four for Yakutat.
Marcus Jamestown led Angoon with 14 points while John Croasmun had 13. Aaron Kearns scored 11 and John Howard had nine. Konrad Frank hit a free throw and Jordan Joseph had four points.
Hoonah 50, Thorne Bay 33
D.J. Lindstrom knocked down four 3-pointers and scored 19 points, and Hoonah defeated Thorne Bay on Thursday in the regional opening game.
Austin Lindoff scored 13 points while Charles Carteet, Thomas Norris, Mike Koenig and Steven Montontes each tallied four points in the win. Brandon Hill added two points for the Braves.
Casey McDougal led the Wolverines with 10 points.
Also for Thorne Bay, Jake Howell and Josh Christy each scored eight points and Tim Carl had seven in defeat.
Klawock 43, Skagway 39
Klawock advanced to the fifth-place game on Friday with a close victory over Skagway.
Ryan Armour led the Chieftains with 21 points. Sean Hall scored 10 points, Steve Colcero four and Joseph Sanderson three. Richard Kato and Jeremy Meece each chipped in with two points and Jesse Issacs had a free throw in the win.
Trevor Cochran led the Panthers with 12 points and Tom Littlefield contributed 11.
Tiffanie Potter and Lachlan Dennis each scored six points and Michelle Harris posted five in defeat.
Yakutat 81, Skagway 18
Angoon 74, Klawock 30
Kake 55, Hydaburg 44
Kake outscored Hydaburg 19-12 in the fourth quarter Saturday to take third place in Class 2A Southeast Region.
Sharissa Jackson scored 17 points and Shaunte Sternod added 15 to pace Kake.
Lynette Aceveda had eight points. Shannon James and Tabetha Taylor each tallied six points, and Melanie Christopherson scored three points in the win.
Mary Cline scored 25 points to lead the Warriors. Stasha Guthrie had 11 and Lydia Fawcett scored three. Samantha Fawcett and Tally Carlson each scored two points, and Stephanie Fawcett hit a free throw in defeat.
Yakutat 69, Hydaburg 27
Yakutat advanced to the regional finals Friday as Hannah Esbenshade, Rose Fraker and Heidi Esbenshade each scored 12 points for the Eagles.
Sylvia Schumacher posted 11 points, Lorena Williams eight, and Sharnel Vale four. Crystal Potter, Kirsten Slate and Leah Drayton each posted two points in the win.
Mary Cline led the Warriors with 14 points. Stasha Guthrie scored seven and Tally Carlsen scored four. Samantha Fawcett hit a field goal.
Klawock 45, Coffman Cove 22
Jennifer Plunley poured in 15 points while Danelle Macasaet scored 13 and Natalie Skinna had 12 on Friday as the Chieftains defeated Coffman Cove for fifth place.
Rachel Busse posted four points in the win.
Jayme Lenz led Coffman Cove with eight points while Kyla Ashe, Breanna Brock and Stephanie Brock each scored four points.
Hydaburg 56, Klawock 47
Hydaburg withstood a strong four-quarter rally by Klawock to win a first-round game on Thursday.
Mary Cline poured in 33 points and made nine of 12 free throws to pace Hydaburg. Lydia Fawcett scored 10 points, Stasha Guthrie nine and Tally Carlson four in the Warriors' win.
The Chieftains scored 23 points in the fourth quarter but couldn't overcome a 33-17 halftime deficit.
Janelle Macasaet had 13 points for Klawock. Natalie Skinna scored 12, Cathia Demmert seven and Brandi Goicoechea six. Rachel Busse and Samantha Morgan each had four points, and Noelle Demmert scored two for Klawock.
Hoonah 39, Kake 27
Jessica Skaflestad's 14 points led Hoonah past Kake on Friday and gave the Braves a trip to the regional finals.
Brooke Lampe and Amber Lampe each scored eight points. Jessie Dybdahl had five and Kari Ames added four points for the Braves.
Shaunte Sternod led the Thunderbirds with nine points. Melanie Christopherson had eight points and Shannon James tallied four. Sharissa Jackson, Lynette Aceveda and Tabetha Taylor each scored two in the loss.
Kake 51, Coffman Cove 17
Lynette Aceveda drained five 3-pointers as Kake routed Coffman Cove on Thursday.
Shannon James scored 13 points, Shaunte Sternod 11 and Sharissa Jackson four. Melanie Christopherson posted six points for the Thunderbirds.
Kyla Ashe led Coffman Cove with eight points while Jayme Lenz had four and Stephanie Brock and Chrissy Hall each scored two in defeat. Breanna Brock added a free throw for Coffman Cove.
The Juneau Empire sports department would like to thank Class 2A coaches and activity directors for providing the information seen here and for their help throughout the season.