It's a long road to the top when a team is playing through the loser's bracket, but Kake LAB players see no reason to pace themselves.
Looking as if they were still upset about Monday's second-round loss to the Juneau Hangar Green Team, Kake players used their upbeat tempo to wear down the Juneau ANB Masters for a 92-71 win Wednesday in the 59th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau Douglas High School.
"We just couldn't slow them down," said Juneau post Ken Kreitzer, who canned 20 points and had a team-high 10 rebounds. "In the second half it seemed like if we had three people down there, they had four. They just had more energy."
The loss drops the Juneau ANB Masters from tourney play. They rebounded from an opening-round loss to Huna Totem Tribe with an 81-66 victory over Juneau Southeast Native Veterans on Monday, thereby avoiding a two-and-out tourney showing. Kake's hopes for a C Bracket championship continue tonight when they square off against the Klukwan Southeast Warriors, a 59-54 winner over the Klukwan Chilkats in Wednesday's other losers' bracket contest.
Tonight's winners' bracket game pits defending champion Huna Totem Tribe against the Juneau Hangar Green Team.
Kake's frantic up-and-down style of play slowly wore down Juneau on Wednesday and opened up what was a close game through the first half. LAB had a single-digit lead for most of the first half, and took a 39-32 lead into the break.
Kake center Kip Howard was largely responsible for keeping Juneau at arm's length all night long. The speedy center had 29 points and 22 rebounds, both game highs. His presence was felt just as much on the defensive end, where he had seven blocked shots - six in the first half alone.
To be sure, it looked as if Howard would be a better fit for the tourney's B or A Divisions.
"The (B Division) Kake Tlingit Heat asked me to play for them, but these guys (LAB) really needed me," Howard said. "We've been together for a while ... I really like playing with them."
Though just 6-foot-4 - not large for a post - the exceedingly versatile Howard gets off his feet quickly and he can jump very high. He altered as many shots as he blocked, many of them coming around the perimeter.
"He's got some really good moves," said Juneau's Don Nowlin (10 points, six rebounds) of Howard. And he added that Howard is just the tip of the iceberg on a roster deep with talent. "They can hurt you inside or outside."
That's a fact. If Howard wasn't racing up the court leading a fast break, then Kake patiently moved the ball around the perimeter with crisp passing, waiting for a good look from long-range. Guard Wayne Friday cashed in often, adding 22 points to Kake's offensive attack.
"We want to push the ball. We definitely like to get out and fast break," Friday said. "That's our style. Even if we don't score, as long as we run, we know the other team is getting tired."
That's pretty much how it went. Juneau's Art Chappell Jr. (team-high 23 points) scored a hoop and converted a three-point play early in the second half to bring his squad to within seven points again, 44-37, but Kake ran off seven straight points and never looked back.
Now, Kake would love nothing more than to get another shot at the Juneau Green Team.
"Oh yeah, they stomped us," Howard said, noting his squad did a good job of coming back from 20 points down in that game before falling 85-80. But he said Kake lost a lot of energy in the process, and that spells trouble against a talented team like Juneau Green.
"That was a good experience for us - these teams will just get tougher and tougher," Howard said.
Friday said it would be dangerous for his team to focus on Juneau Green alone.
"We'll have to take it one game at a time," he said.
But he didn't say anything about slowing down.
Klukwan Southeast Warriors 59, Klukwan Chilkats 54
Sean Joslyn scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half as the Klukwan Southeast Warriors erased a nine-point halftime deficit and went on to beat the Klukwan Chilkats in Wednesday's losers' bracket action in the C Bracket.
Dave Thomson added 19 points for the Warriors, while Bill Trivett scored nine. The Warriors trailed 33-24 at halftime. The Warriors will play Kake LAB in today's 6 p.m. losers' bracket semifinal game.
Joe Parnell scored 20 points to lead the Chilkats, who were eliminated by the loss. Duane Wilson added 12 points for the Chilkats.
KAKE LAB 92, JUNEAU ANB MASTERS 71
Wednesday's losers' bracket game from JDHS
JUNEAU ANB MASTERS (71) - Ken Kreitzer 9 3-4 22, Rob Seward 2 0-0 4, Art Chappell 10 3-4 24, Jeff Hansen 2 0-0 5, Eric McDowell 0 0-0 0, Fred Wigg Jr. 0 0-0 0, Don Nowlin 5 0-0 10, Tom Beierly 1 0-0 3, Harry Tullis 1 1-2 3, Ray Skan 0 0-0 0. Totals: 30 7-10 71.
KAKE LAB (92) - Wayne Friday 10 0-2 22, Willis Cavanaugh 3 0-0 9, Kip Howard 11 7-10 29, Robert Jackson 3 0-0 6, Lonnie Anderson 1 0-0 3, Jeff Jackson 3 0-0 6, Myron Martin 3 0-0 7, Mike Martin 4 0-0 8, Heinrich Kadake 0 0-0 0, Tony Smith 1 0-0 2, Paul Rolstad 0 0-0 0, Billy Alsup 0 0-0 0, Delbert Kadake 0 0-0 0. Totals: 41 7-12 92.
JUNEAU ANB MASTERS 32 39 - 71
KAKE LAB 39 53 - 92
3-point goals - Juneau ANB Masters 4 (Kreitzer 1, Chappell 1, Hansen 1, Beierly 1), Kake LAB 7 (Cavanaugh 3, Friday 2, Anderson 1, My. Martin 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Juneau ANB Masters 10, Kake LAB 8.
KLUKWAN SE WARRIORS 59, KLUKWAN CHILKATS 54
Wednesday's losers' bracket game from JDHS
KLUKWAN SOUTHEAST WARRIORS (59) - Don Bosh Hotch 0 0-0 0, Ed Hotch 0 0-0 0, Ray Coronell 0 0-0 0, Bill Trivett 3 0-0 9, Dan Smith 0 0-0 0, Sean Joslyn 5 10-12 20, Al Tagaban 3 0-2 6, Chris Lavallee 1 0-0 2, Dave Thomson 7 2-3 19, Rob Wheat 0 0-0 0, Norm Staton 0 0-2 0, Ray Kitka 1 1-1 3. Totals: 20 13-20 59.
KLUKWAN CHILKATS (54) - Joe Parnell 9 0-0 20, Don Nash 2 0-1 5, Duane Wilson 5 0-0 12, Pete Dohrn 0 0-0 0, Larry Sweet 3 0-0 6, Terry Friske 1 2-2 4, Ben Coronell 1 3-5 5, Scott Bradford 1 0-0 2. Totals: 22 5-8 54.
SOUTHEAST WARRIORS 24 35 - 59
KLUKWAN CHILKATS 33 21 - 54
3-point goals - Klukwan Southeast Warriors 6 (Trivett 3, Thomson 3), Klukwan Chilkats 5 (Parnell 2, Wilson 2, Nash 1). Fouled out - None. Technical fouls - None. Total fouls - Klukwan Southeast Warriors 12, Klukwan Chilkats 15.