In the end, it wasn't even close as the Huna Totem Old-Timers won their fourth Gold Medal C Bracket title in six years on Saturday night with a 102-68 shellacking of the Juneau Green Team.
The game was eerily similar to Thursday's semifinal game when Huna clobbered Juneau 96-64, and made it four-straight blowouts for the heavily favored Old-Timers, who now want to be known as the Tribe.
Huna won championships in 1999, 2000, 2002 and were runner-ups to the Klawock Old Totems last year. And with the addition this year of twins Garvin and Showalter Martin to an already potent lineup, the Tribe may have well changed their name to "Dynasty."
"I sure hope it's a dynasty," a grinning Showalter Martin said after the game. "I'll come back as many times as they let me. It's awesome to play for Huna."
Garvin Martin was named the C Bracket tourney MVP, leading Huna in scoring three out of four games, but it was Showalter Martin that stole the show in the title game. Showalter Martin scored 33 points and was virtually unstoppable in the second half with 21 points - all on 3-pointers.
Much like Thursday's game, the Green Team kept it tight in the first half with a slow, deliberate pace. Juneau's Roger Sele was active early with 12 first-half points and Kevin Casperson was able to find his shot from behind the arc with consistency.
The game briefly was halted midway through the period when a fan, who was having trouble breathing, had to be rushed out of the Juneau-Douglas High School gymnasium to waiting paramedics. During the break, Huna's John Martin Jr. - the twins' older brother - joked it was too much of a rest period for a Green Team roster that had been decimated by injury and had dwindled to seven players at the end of the tourney.
"The Green Team can't have this much rest," John Martin said laughingly toward the Juneau bench during the break.
Juneau lost one of its team leaders, Gold Medal Hall of Famer Greg Huebschen, with a broken cheekbone in its first game and was forced to play its last two games without back-up big man John Grummett, who injured his knee. And almost every player left on the Green Team's roster carried some sort of wound from a week of Gold Medal battles.
"You gotta give them (Juneau) a hand," a gracious Showalter Martin said. "They played more games than us and they only had seven guys."
"No one got injured today - that's a victory," a laughing Tim Grussendorf said. "Next year we're putting the curtains down and playing half court."
The first half was much closer than the 47-38 Huna lead showed at the break, due to a 3-pointer at the buzzer by newly inducted Hall of Famer Stuart Mills. Mills was active throughout the contest and finished with 11 points for Huna.
"We got a good cast of team players," Mills said about strong performance. "I couldn't have done it without them and the support of the community - 32 years is a long time. It was pretty emotional to getting inducted (into the Hall of Fame), but it couldn't have been possible without the greatest fans in Southeast."
The Tribe came out hot in the second half as Showalter Martin, Garvin Martin, and John Martin were all able to shoot over Juneau's zone defense and Huna built a 58-38 lead at the 17:20 mark.
Juneau was flat in the second half and didn't score until the 16:53 mark on a jumper from Craig Kahklen, who was hindered by three quick fouls in the game's first five minutes. Kahklen finished with a team-leading 20 points and was award with All-Tourney honors after the contest.
"I have nothing left," an exasperated Kahklen said after the game. "That was just too much. Clearly, the better team - the team with the most endurance - won that one."
"They came out really slow in the second half," Garvin Martin said. "It was almost like they gave up. They really looked tired."
The Green Team looked to creep back into the game when Garvin Martin and Greg Garcia were forced to sit after picking up their fourth fouls with 14 minutes to go. Juneau cut Huna's lead to 15, at 65-50, before Showalter Martin had his say, hitting three straight 3-pointers in a 51-second stretch - all on pull-up shots off fast breaks - to put Huna up 74-50 to the delight of the raucous Huna crowd.
"I just remember that quote Michael Jordan made one time: 'You come down the court and the basket looks this big,'" Showalter said while extending his arms as far as he could.
Casperson had 16 points for the Green Team and made the all-tourney squad, as did Sele who finished with 14 points. Grussendorf scored eight, Steve Houlihan finished with six points and Pat Kemp rounded out Juneau's scoring with four points.
"We couldn't answer the bell in the second half," Casperson said. "We just didn't match up real well against them. It was like how Craig (Kahklen) said earlier, 'It was hard to stop them even when you knew it was coming.'"
Garvin Martin finished with 16 points for the Tribe; Greg Garcia added 13 points and Louie White contributed 11 points. John Martin, who made the all-tourney squad, scored eight points and John White pitched in six points on two late-game 3-pointers. Huna finished with a whopping 16 team 3-pointers, including eight from Showalter Martin who made the all-tournament team.
The other member's of the all-tournament team included the Newtimers' John Garvey; Kake's Wayne Friday and Myron Martin; Angoon's Kenny Johnson; Yakutat's Matt Wheeler, who also was inducted into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame prior to the title game; and the sportsmanship award went to first-time Gold Medal participant Jim Silverthorn from the Newtimers.
The final member of this year's Gold Medal Hall of Fame class was Kake ANB's Sam Jackson, who played in his 20th Gold Medal tournament this year despite being diagnosed with cancer in January. It was a touching salute to Jackson, who is well known throughout Southeast Alaska, and he received more than one standing ovation from the sell-out crowd.
Jeff Kasper is a freelance writer and former Empire sportswriter. He can be reached at 209-7427.
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