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In what turned out to be the surprise matchup of the old timers division, the Newtimers rolled over the Juneau Old-Timers 87-57 on Wednesday to live another day in the Juneau Lions Club's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.
Kake ANB knocked off Angoon 80-67 in the other C Bracket game on Wednesday and will play an elimination game at 12:30 p.m. today against the Newtimers. In today's 4 p.m. winners' bracket game, Juneau Green Team faces off against the high-scoring Huna Totem Old-Timers.
Neither the Newtimers nor the Juneau Old-Timers knew it would be playing in the tournament a week ago, as both were last-minute additions. But both teams scored surprising upsets in the early rounds of the tournament to make it to Wednesday's consolation game. Juneau defeated a veteran Yakutat team 76-66 on Tuesday, while the Newtimers held off Angoon 84-82 in Sunday's opening round.
"I found out on Sunday morning that they needed a big man," the Old-Timers Steve Rice said. "It's the hardest thing. We had no teamwork - no flow. Half the time, we were running into each other."
John Garvey was almost always open under the basket early in the game and scored 12 points in the first 12 minutes, mostly on easy layups as the Newtimers jumped out to a 26-14 lead. The Newtimers led 41-26 at the break and never looked back in the second half. Garvey finished with 17 points.
Al Tagaban, who's been solid in every game this tournament, led the Newtimers with 26 points, including three 3-pointers. He played tirelessly, controlling the ball and finding often-open teammates. But it was the fast break that broke the back of the Old-Timers, as many of the Newtimers' points came off of long passes to wide-open players.
"I kept saying don't stop or they'll come back," Garvey said, reminiscing about the Juneau Old-Timers' amazing comeback against Yakutat on Tuesday. "But tomorrow will be Kake and it's not going to be so easy. It's going to be a Cinderella team if we do it."
"The fast break was the difference," the Newtimers' Jim Silverthorn said. "We weren't even planning to do that - it just kind of happened."
Silverthorn finished with 13 points while teammate Ramon Henderson scored 16 points, including two last-minute 3-pointers. Jewel Walker flew from Fairbanks and joined the Newtimers on Wednesday, scoring nine points and after the game, he had a smile on his face.
"I just came down from Fairbanks, where I came from a tournament with 34 teams," Walker said. "I had fun. This is my third major tourney this year. I just like to travel around and make new friends."
Juneau had very balanced scoring with Rice, Frank Coronell and Peter Girardin each scoring 10 points to lead the Old-Timers. Leon Aceveda and Gerald Mayeda scored seven points apiece and Jay Butler scored six points.
"It's all over - we survived," Rice said. "It was fun. For a pick-up team, it was okay."
Kake ANB 80, Angoon 67
Led by Wayne Friday's hot hand, Kake ANB pulled away in the second half to knock off Angoon on Wednesday. Kake moves on to play the Newtimers at 12:30 p.m. today.
It was an evenly matched first half with Kake leading 38-37 at the break. But it was Friday who exploded for 20 second-half points, including four 3-pointers to make the difference for Kake.
Kip Howard scored 15 points, Willis Cavanaugh added 12 and Myron Martin contributed 11, with two 3-pointers for Kake.
Andy Lee paced Angoon with 20 points and three 3-pointers. Deandre King scored a strong 16 points underneath, Ken Johnson added 14 and Willie Jack finished with six points.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at 209-7427.