Klukwan grabs opening win

Posted: Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Klukwan Chilkats opened the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament Master's Bracket with a 91-49 victory against the Legion 2008 Legends on Monday at the Juneau-Douglas High School gym.

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Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Klukwan showed its speed as it scampered and ran to an early lead and had enough legs underneath them to seal the win.

Chris Wassanan led the Chilkats' high-powered offense with a game-high 28 points. In a flurry of fast breaks, Wassanan received pass after pass from his teammates at the defensive end of the court and rarely squandered an opportunity for an easy bucket.

"The only thing we have is speed and we are having a lot of fun out there, especially with the breakaway layups," Wassanan said.

Wassanan's comment was not completely true as Klukwan's defense was focused and concentrated on getting to the loose balls and rebounding.

Legion's Ken Kritzer and Steve Rice scored 18 points each to lead their team.

"It is never fun getting beat that bad, but they have better legs and more speed and I think that we are just older," Kritzer said.

The Chilkats used their athleticism to get rebounds, while their speed propelled the offense to an insurmountable 27-5 lead midway through the first half.

Chilkats guard Frank Cornell sped away with 10 points in the first half and finished with 17. It was Cornell's ball handling and passing, however, that helped push Klukwan's offense into high gear.

"Our goal was to relax and pass the ball around and get all the players involved," Cornell said.

Joe Parnell scored 16 points for the Chilkats and brought an emotional intensity to the court. His outlet passes to his streaking teammates played a big role in Wassanan's success.

Midway through the second half, Parnell emphasized the Chilkats' reliance on the fast break by inbounding the ball with a deep pass to Wassanan for a score.

Wassanan said he's enjoying his first year with the Chilkats and feels like his squad has a good chance to win its first Master's Bracket title.

"Yeah, I think we are going to make it to the big dance and take the best lady home," he said.

Parnell piped in to quell Wassanan's balloon and said, "Hey now, don't put the cart before the horse."

Klukwan will face Hoonah at 12:30 p.m. today while Legion 2008 will play an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.



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