The Klawock Old Totems and the Klukwan Chilkats will face each other for a shot at the Legendary C Bracket title game after both teams cruised to victory Tuesday at the 57th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
In the afternoon winners' bracket game, Klukwan rolled over Kake ANB 78-62, and in the night game, Klawock outlasted Yakutat ANB 91-82. The Old Totems and the Chilkats will play Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in the semifinal game. Kake was slated to play the Huna Totem Oldtimers today at 1 p.m., and Yakutat plays Angoon ANS at 6:30 p.m. in losers' bracket games.
Klawock used many of the same tactics it used in its first-round victory over Sitka, relying upon a strong inside game behind their big three of Sid Edenshaw, John Garvey and Sam Peters, and controlling the boards.
But it was Hall of Famers Edenshaw and Norm Skan who did most of the damage. Edenshaw came back after receiving four stitches above his right eye to lead Klawock with 30 points, while Skan had a stellar game at the point while scoring 26.
"It was a good game; they (Yakutat) are a very experienced team," Edenshaw said. "They have good shooting and pass well. We never take them guys lightly. I got hit in the head going up for a shot and got a little nervous. The doc said that if I get hit there again, that's it."
"Norm broke out and had his best game in a couple years," Klawock player-coach Dewey Skan said. "It's been a long time with Norm and Sid together. They started playing for the Klawock B Bracket team 20 years ago."
Klawock took the early lead, but Yakutat managed to keep the game close and never let the Old Totems out of its sight. The Old Totems led by as many as nine in the first half and held a 50-43 lead at the break.
Yakutat stormed back in the second half, getting as close as 69-67 when Yakutat's Mike Jensen nailed a 3-pointer at the 10:00 mark. However, Klawock made a run of its own and took an 81-70 lead at the 5:40 mark on a basket by Al Nix, who was a late arrival to the tourney and missed Klawock's first game.
"They played pretty good," Skan said. "Al came and gave us another player and that helped."
Yakutat threatened in the final minutes, but it couldn't compete with the presence of Edenshaw, Skan and company as Klawock easily ran out the clock. Peters finished with 12 points, Garvey scored 10 and Nix ended up with 9 points to round out Klawock's high scorers.
"These guys (Yakutat) matched up better height-wise against us," Edenshaw said. "They have a lot of experience and good guys off the bench."
Joe Klushkan led Yakutat with 23 points; Jon Jensen scored 15, while Mike Jensen and Matt Wheeler each scored 14 points.
"You forget about how big these guys really are until you get out there and play them - they're each like 250 pounds," Wheeler said. "Hopefully we can go through and play Angoon and try to work our way back."
Klukwan Chilkats 78, Kake ANB 62
The Klukwan Chilkats were able to keep high-flying Kip Howard in check much of the game as they walked over Kake ANB, 78-62, on Tuesday.
Howard, one of the most prolific scorers in the Legendary C Bracket, was held to just four first-half points and 20 points overall. Howard has been known to put up numbers in the 40s and 50s on a regular basis.
The Chilkats used their size to their advantage to control Howard and Kake. Greg Stigen and Roger Sele, although only scoring eight and four points respectively, plugged up the paint and kept Kake's offense away from the basket.
"They were big and it's hard for us to match up with big guys like that," Howard said. "We didn't have enough beef to control the boards. Boy, those were some big boys."
Steve Fossman had another great performance by scoring 33 points, including 13 of 14 free throws. Klukwan as a team made a remarkable 26 of 29 free throws for the game. Joe Parnell scored 14 for the Chilkats and Guy Tompkins added 10.
"Living in Haines is an exercise - it gets you in shape," Parnell joked after the game. "It helps a lot when you play like a team, which I wish our team did more. I'm just happy to play."
Sam Jackson followed his 30-point performance Sunday against Metlakatla with 16 points, including 4 treys, for Kake. Mike Martin scored 11 and Myron Martin contributed 9 points.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and a former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at 209-7427.