It didn't seem as if Rudy Bean needed to score a basket as Kake won its fourth-straight C Bracket title 115-97 over Juneau's Filipino Community Saturday, but the crowd at the 63rd Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament was sure glad he did.
Bean, who repeated as the bracket's MVP, kept the crowd out of their seats with a series of deep three-pointers and a few smooth jumpers off the dribble on his way to 25 points - four short of the 29 he dropped on Klukwan in last year's title game. He even added some chuckles with a wayward behind-the-back pass to an unsuspecting spectator near the exit.
The real story of the game, though, was the cast of characters that lifted Kake to a double-digit stranglehold on the game, seemingly, from the opening tip.
The biggest guy on the floor, the Oldtimers' Mike Smith, dominated the outside. Smith kicked off the game with a trio of three-pointers in the opening three minutes and scored 11 of Kake's first 13 points. He finished with four triples in the first half and hit all eight of his free throw attempts, racking up 24 points in the game.
The skinniest guy on the floor, Oldtimer Kip Howard, dominated the paint from start to finish despite facing a constant size - and age - disadvantage.
"I think I was the oldest guy out there," the 45-year-old Howard said. "I'm still out there chasing it down. As long as I can move I'm gonna be chasing it down. If they can keep up with me, more power to them."
Howard hopped, skipped and spun his way to a game-high 30 points, all coming either in the paint or a few steps back at the free throw line. He finished a perfect 8-for-8 at the charity stripe, leading an epic 24-for-26 team-wide effort from the line.
Fittingly, it was a couple of mid-sized guys who caught fire from midrange to keep Kake comfortably ahead. Wings Jay Peterson and Lloyd Davis pumped in 17 and 14 points apiece, respectively, while keeping FilCom from doubling down on any of their Kake teammates.
"Even we know Rudy can score, but we have a lot of guys who can fill it up," Howard said. "Where he leaves off, someone else is going to step in. I think Rudy was happy not to do all the scoring in the first half."
Bean ended the first half with a quiet 9 points, and had none before converting a lay-up 10 minutes into the first half. He brought back the oohs and ahs he has become known for at Gold Medal in the second half, though, hitting the first of four three-pointers after half-time from five feet behind the line. On the next possession, he squared up from roughly 10 feet behind the line and received plenty of encouragement from the crowd before stepping in and missing from six feet back.
Jimmy Carson led FilCom with 26 points, including four three-pointers of his own.
"You could tell those guys have played together for a long time," Carson said. "We've been together for a couple of weeks now, but I have to give them all the credit ... they hit a couple of shots too."
Carson led a FilCom charge that pulled them back within 11 points with four minutes left to play, but the hectic schedule of six games in seven days showed as their tired legs surrendered late.
"Oh yeah, we're a little sore," Carson said. "That's all part of the tournament."
First-year player Greg Lockwood racked up 20 points as the big guy in the middle for FilCom, after joining up with the team through the Ordway Adult Leage. Ongo Tupou chipped in 19 of his own, while Bill Hill tossed in 15.
FilCom 65, Hoonah 53
FilCom blew open a 28-19 half-time lead with a 13-0 run to start the second half, and had just enough to hold off a late crowd-fueled charge from Hoonah.
Hoonah was ultimately retired to third place despite digging out of a 22-point second-half hole. The scrappy squad pulled within 57-50 with 4:13 remaining after Andy Gray converted a three-point play at the line, but the chants of "Hoonah, Hoonah" eventually wore off late as FilCom sealed the game from the free throw line.
Carson led just five scorers for FilCom, finishing with 19 points, including a pair of three pointers. Lockwood chipped in 16, including six of his seven free throw attempts. Toby Cavaugdang and Tupou added 13 apiece, while Bill Hill chipped in four.
Hoonah was led by 16 points from Kamal Lindoff and 14 from Gray. Showalter Martin added nine in support.
• Contact sports editor Trent Makela with story ideas or results from your team's competitions at firstname.lastname@example.org or523-2228.
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