For the past two years, Angoon ANS has been two and out in the Legendary C Bracket. But on Monday, it avoided a dubious three-peat with a 71-63 victory over Sitka ANB at Juneau-Douglas High School in the 57th Annual Gold Medal Tournament.
In the other losers' bracket game, the defending champion Huna Totem Oldtimers eliminated the Metlakatla Taquan Masters 114-83.
Today's winners' bracket games feature the Klukwan Chilkats vs. Kake ANB at 2:30 p.m. and the Klawock Old Totems vs. Yakutat at 8 p.m.
Huna will play the loser of the Klukwan-Kake matchup at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and Angoon will play the loser of the Klawock-Yakutat game at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Angoon was in control virtually the entire game, but Sitka would not be easily eliminated from the bracket. Angoon jumped out to a 12-6 lead after five minutes of play and extended that to a 17-6 lead behind solid shooting and good inside play from Greg Bowen and Glenn Miller.
"We didn't really have a game plan except to go all out," Angoon's Roger Williams said. "I really wanted to win the game yesterday. We didn't want to go two and out three times. This win really means a lot to me and the whole team."
Sitka countered with a 17-5 run and took the lead, 23-22, behind one of Johnny Hanson's three 3-pointers, and looked to make a game out of it. A crucial moment came at the 3:36 mark when Sitka guard George Chappell, who scored 21 against Klawock on Sunday, was called for his fourth foul and was forced to sit - changing the tone of Sitka's game.
Sitka only trailed 32-29 at halftime, but Angoon opened up the game in the second half. Angoon's Joey George sunk a couple of 3-pointers to give Angoon a 48-37 lead with 12:30 to go.
Chappell fouled out with 11:00 to go and Angoon charged on - extending it's lead to 59-39 shortly after. Sitka again showed resilience by finding another spark and going on a 23-8 run to cut the lead to 67-62 with just under a minute to go.
"It surprised me to get as far ahead of them as we did," Miller said. "They're a good team with good players."
Sitka had its chances in that final minute but was unable to capitalize and Angoon held on for the victory.
"It was just like last night," Chappell said after fouling out. "It's just not being able to drop our shots. These guys (Angoon) are just shooting well and getting back on defense."
Angoon shot well and spread the scoring around. Bowen led the team with 16 points and Williams had 13, while Miller and Frank Joseph each contributed 12 points.
Miller complemented his team after the win. "Frank Joseph is playing really well," He said. "He wasn't expected to do much and he did really well. We got that alley-oop, long ball going. Once we get that going, it's tough to stop, and Roger (Williams) is one of the fiercest competitors out there."
Hanson led Sitka with 20 points, Jim Scholz had 12, George Erickson scored 8, while Chappell and Norm Staton each had 6 points.
Huna Totem Oldtimers 114, Metlakatla Taquan Masters 83
The Huna Totem Oldtimers, last year's C Bracket champion, got back on the winning track by rolling over the Metlakatla Taquan Masters on Monday afternoon. It was a quick elimination for Metlakatla in its return to the old timers bracket after a two-year absence.
Huna's guard trio of Greg Garcia, Louie White, and John Martin Jr. combined did most of the damage before relinquishing the court when the game was well in hand.
Garcia scored 21, White had 19, and Martin Jr. scored 18 to lead the team. Eric Wicks added 13, while Allen Fisher Sr. and Gary Brown Sr. each scored 10 points for Huna.
Jerry Scudero led all scorers with 35 points for Metlakatla, Fred Blandov scored 15, and Randy Hayward had 11, while Paul Bryant chipped in eight points.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and a former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at 209-7427.