The Huna Totem Old-Timers made it look easy against the Juneau Green Team with a 96-64 drubbing Thursday, earning a spot in Saturday's C Bracket championship game at the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
In Thursday's C losers' bracket game, Kake ANB squashed the Cinderella-story hopes of the Newtimers with a 90-80 victory. Kake plays Juneau today at 5:30 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday's title game at the Juneau-Douglas High School gymnasium.
It was the third straight blowout win for the Old-Timers, who are averaging nearly 100 points a game. Huna defeated the Juneau Old-Timers 105-42 in Sunday's opening round, and followed it with a 97-64 stomping of Kake in Monday's second round to earn a spot in Thursday's semifinal.
The Old-Timers are no stranger to the C Bracket championship game, having won in 1999, 2000 and 2002. They placed second last year after losing 95-82 to the Klawock Old Totems, making this the fifth time in six years that Huna will play for the title. Huna will be a heavy favorite to win this year's title, after already defeating the two remaining teams by 30-plus points.
With the age restriction for the C Division relaxed to 35, Huna was able to add twins Garvin and Showalter Martin on its roster; they scored a combined 48 points - more than half of the Old-Timers' total output - on Thursday.
"I was looking at the rosters and we're actually one of the oldest teams in the division," Huna's Greg Garcia said after the game. "We only have the two 35-year-olds, (but) the rest of us are well over that age."
"That's two more 35-year-olds then most teams have on their rosters," Juneau's Roger Sele responded. "I wish we had a 35-year-old on our team."
Huna won the opening tip and wasted little time getting started as Showalter Martin sank a 3-pointer in the first three seconds. The Old-Timers built a 24-12 lead at the 11:52 mark of the first half when Showalter Martin was called for his third foul and was forced to sit most of the remaining period.
Juneau's Kevin Casperson took advantage of Showalter Martin's absence and single-handedly brought the Green Team back into the game. Casperson scored 14 points in a span of three minutes and tied the game at 28 with a free throw at the 8:38 mark. Sele then scored on a pair of layups to give Juneau a 32-28 lead that Juneau would hold until halftime.
The Green Team felt lucky to be in the game, holding a 46-42 halftime lead.
"The way we started out, we're just glad we got back into it," Casperson said at halftime.
But the lead wouldn't last long for the Green Team as Huna exploded in the second half, scoring 54 points to Juneau's 18. The tide turned at the 12:52 mark of the second half when John Martin Jr. nailed a trey and was fouled by Sele. John Martin converted the free throw for a rare four-point play and Huna led by 62-56.
Huna picked up the pace of the game and, for the next seven minutes, it rained nothing but Huna baskets as all three Martins took turns making 3-pointer after 3-pointer. The Totem Old-Timers went on a 29-4 run and held a commanding 91-60 lead with 5 minutes to go in the contest.
"Having those early fouls kept me fresh for the second half," Showalter Martin said. "We didn't want to play their slow-down game. We wanted to run."
"They started running and we couldn't make the open shot," said Juneau's Steve Brandner, who was unable to play due to injury. "And when the Martin triplets start making shots like that, what do you do?"
Casperson led Juneau in scoring for the third straight game with 27 points, including four 3-pointers. Craig Kahklen scored 13 points, Sele added 10 and John Grummett notch six points for the Green Team.
"I think it was a combination of us not keeping our motion and obviously they were in better condition in the end," Grummett said.
Garvin Martin broke out with 29 points, Showalter added 19 with five 3-pointers, and older brother John Martin Jr. finished with 14 points on three 3-pointers to lead Huna. Garcia and Louie White each scored 12 points.
"We just hung in there and persevered," Garcia said. "We tried to pick up the pace in the second half. The one thing that guides us is defense, scoring comes last."
Kake ANB 90, Newtimers 80
Kake's Wayne Friday and Kip Howard combined for 63 points to pace Kake ANB to a 90-80 win over the Newtimers in Thursday's losers' bracket game.
Friday had 33 points, including six 3-pointers, and Howard scored 30, including a slam dunk. Myron Martin added 12 points while Willis Cavanaugh and Robert Jackson scored seven and six points, respectively.
Kake, which has played every day except Tuesday, finds itself a win away from the championship game. They will play Juneau today at 5:30 p.m. for that chance.
The Cinderella Newtimers, a late addition to the C Bracket on Sunday, advanced further than most expected, scoring an upset victory over Angoon 84-82 to start the tourney and defeating another pick-up team, the Juneau Old-Timers, 87-57 on Wednesday.
John Garvey scored 28 for the Newtimers, Al Tagaban added 18, Jim Silverthorn scored 14 and Ramon Henderson contributed 11 points.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at 209-7427.