The Kake Oldtimers continued their march to a fourth-consecutive C Bracket title with a 107-80 drubbing of the Huna Totem Oldtimers Thursday night during the 63rd Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
Led by the modern-day Gold Medal legend Rudy Bean, Kake's near flawless ball handling and pin-point passing overwhelmed the physical Huna squad in a game that was over far before the final buzzer.
"We haven't played Huna at all in our three-year run, and it was a good battle," Bean said. "I love to play against Garvin and Showalter Martin and look forward to the games against them."
Bean ignited Kake in the first half. Following a pair of free throws, he rattled off four consecutive baskets, including a three-pointer, to give Kake a commanding 30-12 lead midway through the first half.
"We wanted to take it to them right off the bat." Bean said. "And the crowd at the beginning was incredible - it jacked us up. We came out ready to play."
Huna was hampered by some nagging injuries and a lack of depth on their bench. And the running Oldtimers took advantage of the situation. Kip Howard scored 13 first-half points as Kake, which led by as many as 26 in the period, ran up a 62-41 lead heading into the break.
"We want to run and everybody on our team understands their jobs," Howard said. "And when they come in the game, they do the best they can."
Midway through the second half, Kake had the game well in hand. A hook shot from 8 feet by Nick Davis gave the Oldtimers an commanding 88-58 lead. Shortly thereafter, Huna's starters went to the bench for the rest of the game, conceding to Kake in an effort to save their legs for the next night.
"We got no bench and everybody hurts," Showalter Martin said. "We wanted to test the waters to see where we are at."
Bean finished with a game-high 34 points, but it's his leadership and creative game play that makes him the most valuable asset on his team, and a virtual lock for another MVP honor if Kake goes all the way.
"When he's on the court, we have stability," Howard said. "He loves to run the court. He understands basketball and when we get on the court together, it's 'Kake' and let's run."
Howard scored 23 points, Lloyd Davis had another strong game with 18 points and Jay Peterson added 12 for Kake.
Huna was led by Kamal Lindoff's 25 points, followed by Andy Gray's 14. Showalter and Garvin Martin scored 12 and nine points, respectively.
Despite the loss, Huna lives to play another day in the double-elimination tourney. Huna will face Juneau's Filipino Community who knocked off Angoon 88-78 earlier in the day. Kake will face the winner of that game on Saturday at 6 p.m. for the championship.
Showalter Martin said his team will be up to the task in today's battle against Juneau. "Filcom is not as fast as Kake," he said. "But Friday night is prime time, ... and for all the marbles."
Bean said he's looking forward to the critical day's rest today and had a prophetic statement following the game.
"What's going to happen is they go out and tire each other out and hopefully be one step slower on Saturday for us," he said.
• Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.