For one half, Juneau Delta and Hoonah played their first game in the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament Legendary C Bracket contest Sunday like a track meet.
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Both teams calmed down in the second half, however, and produced an exciting finish.
Hoonah battled back from a 17-point deficit, but Juneau Delta gamely held on for the 90-77 victory.
"I think we had to settle the ball and run the offense," Juneau Delta guard Al Tagaban said. "In the first half, you're just trying to get your wind."
Tagaban scored 20 points in the win, while teammate Doug Drazkowski led with 23 points, including four 3-pointers.
Juneau Delta took a 40-35 halftime lead and extended that advantage in the second half with a series of smart cuts and passes in the lane. Up 54-47 about five minutes into the second half, Juneau ran its offense with precision. Russ Stevens hit a 3-pointer while Sean Joslyn and Todd Cochran added fast-break lay-ups in a 7-0 run.
Juneau held a 71-56 lead with eight minutes left, but then Hoonah started to get aggressive.
Showalter Martin and Garvin Martin attacked the lane and hit their free throws to get their squad back in the game.
Hoonah knocked down 7 of 10 free throws while Showalter Martin converted a steal into a lay-up to cut Juneau's lead to 71-66.
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Tagaban hit a couple of free throws, but Martin responded with a big 3-point shot to ignite Hoonah's fans. Martin poured in a game-high 33 points, including five 3-pointers, to keep Hoonah in the game.
"It was intense," Tagaban said. "It keeps you in the game, especially when guys are going against you."
Hoonah crept to within four points of the lead when Showalter Martin's basket with 3:20 left cut Juneau Delta's lead to 79-75. Juneau Delta wouldn't let Hoonah get any closer though, as the players closed the game on a 8-0 run.
"Juneau Delta is tough," Hoonah's Louie White said. "They're one of the tougher teams in the bracket. Now we have to go the hard way."
Both teams fought back and forth in a tight first half. Showalter Garvin knocked down four 3-point shots while Juneau spread the ball Drazkowski, Joslyn and Tagaban hit open jumpers on the outside.
While neither team was shy about shooting, Juneau Delta and Hoonah both ran with abandon in the first half.
"You want to get the rust off in the first half," White said. "We're all introducing ourselves to each other again."
Joslyn scored 14 points for Juneau Delta, while Jim Carson added 12 points, Cochran tallied seven points, and Ongo Toupou and Stevens tallied five points each.
For Hoonah, White scored 14 points, Garvin Martin had 11 points, Lance Geise tallied eight points, and Andy Savland chipped in six points.
Juneau Delta will face Kake at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the championship quarterfinals, while Hoonah will take on Angoon in the loser's bracket at 9 p.m. Tuesday.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com,
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