For the second time in three years, the 2001 champion Klawock Old Totems will play for the Legendary C Bracket title after running away from the Klukwan Chilkats 88-56 in Thursday's Gold Medal Basketball Tournament semifinal matchup.
In Thursday's other C Bracket game, the Huna Totem Oldtimers knocked out Yakutat ANB, 84-72, setting up a rematch between Klukwan and Huna at 4 p.m. today for a chance to play Klawock in Saturday's title game.
At first glance, Klukwan looked to be a good match for Klawock. The Chilkats had good size inside and with Steve Fossman running the point, they could light it up from outside. And that's how it started.
For the first eight minutes of the game Fossman was hot, hitting three 3-pointers and matching the scoring of Klawock's Sid Edenshaw and Al Nix under the basket. Klukwan held the early lead and trailed by just two points at the 11-minute mark with a 17-15 Klawock advantage.
"It's good to have a good (close) game," Nix said. "We wanted to get out and run a little quicker. We all felt good. We're in the driver's seat now. One thing we don't want to do is overlook anyone."
But then the wheels feel off the wagon for Klukwan; it was like there was a lid on the basket, as nothing would fall for almost the entire remainder of the half. Klawock went on a 24-1 run and left the Chilkats in the dust with a 41-16 lead.
"That was our plan, to go on a run," John Garvey said. "They did it to us the last couple years. We just got good chemistry playing together."
"That's what basketball is all about - it's about the spurts," Edenshaw said. "Once you get a lead, you gotta maintain."
Fossman went cold while Edenshaw and Nix dominated the glass. Nix scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Edenshaw wound up with a game-high 31 points.
Klukwan did make a good run to start the second half. Fossman scored four baskets and Greg Stigen added another as the Chilkats went on a 10-0 run to close to within 45-31, but they would never get closer as the Old Totems' size dominated in the stretch.
Garvey finished with 17 points for Klawock, Norm Skan scored 10 and Dewey Skan, who didn't enter the game until the final minutes, finished with seven points.
"We're starting to gel together," Edenshaw said. "It feels good to be in the championship game. We'll wait 'til tomorrow to see who we play."
For the Chilkats, Fossman led the way with 23 points. Stigen and Joe Parnell each had 10 points and Scott Bradford scored six, while Terry Friske added five for Klukwan.
"They were way, way too strong inside," Klukwan's Guy Tompkins said. "They play that 3-man front and they're too tall. They had nothing but weapons."
Huna Totem Oldtimers 84, Yakutat ANB 72
The defending champion Huna Totem Oldtimers are a game away from another championship game after defeating Yakutat ANB in the loser's bracket earlier Thursday.
Huna held a 41-32 lead at the half and never let up in the second half. Greg Garcia led the Oldtimers with 22 points, Louie White scored 19 and Stu Mills had 17, while John Martin Jr. hit five 3-pointers for 15 points.
Yakutat was led in scoring by Mike Jensen with 22 points, Jimmy Bremner had 17, Kevin Sather broke out with 16 points and Jon Jensen finished with nine.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at 209-7427.