Hoonah had the speed and quickness but in the end, the size and experience of Klawock paid off in its 89-76 victory in the M Bracket championship game of the 64th Annual Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School.
Fittingly, with one minute left and Hoonah trying to make a final push, Klawock's Sid Edenshaw bolted in front of a long pass attempt, intercepted it at midcourt and took it to the bucket.
His evening would end there as he was fouled and he fell hard to the floor with an ankle injury. But by then, Edenshaw had done more than enough to help Klawock win the Gold Medal Tournament championship.
Klawock stormed out after halftime and took advantage of its superior size by getting the ball in the paint to Edenshaw, Jerry Scudero and Sam Peters. It was too much for Hoonah to handle as Klawock was able to slow the tempo to keep the game in half-court situations.
Klawock pushed the lead to 18 points with just less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, and other than a late push that had Hoonah within nine points, Klawock was not tested the rest of the way.
Scudero led all scorers with 31 points, finding his way inside for tough buckets and getting to the free throw line. Sam Peters, the tournament MVP, was second on the team in scoring with 17 points, while Dewey Skan and Sid Edenshaw each chipped in 12. Greg Stigen dropped 10 points as the fifth Klawock player to score in double digits.
After falling behind by as many as 15 points in the first half, Hoonah took advantage of its speed and quickness, and started playing at a faster pace. The style of play allowed Hoonah to push the ball in transition and exploit the slower-footed Klawock.
Even with leading scorer Greg Garcia slowed by an injury to his Achilles tendon, Hoonah finished the half on a 23-13 run and closed the gap to five points, 46-41. But any momentum built was gone after halftime.
Newly inducted Gold Medal Tournament Hall of Famer Louie White led Hoonah in scoring with 20 points, while Ken Willard scored 17 in the loss. Klas Stolpe and Pete Schneeberger contributed 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Hoonah defeated Yakutat in a semifinal nailbiter on Friday, 56-55, to earn a spot in the championship game.
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