The Juneau Green Team flipped the leash on Klawock Saturday night, running away with a string of annoying little leads in the second half after clawing back from narrow deficits earlier in the game. When the final whistle blew, the smaller Green Team slipped off the chain with a 67-55 win to take the Masters Bracket title at the 63rd Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
"We wanted to get them running back in transition (defense)," Green's Ethan Billings said. "We knew that's what would tire them out and we have a bigger bench than they do."
Billings led the Green Team with 18 points, including three three-pointers that helped his smaller club shoot over the tall trees that Klawock packed inside with their zone defense.
Green finally clawed out of their shallow early hole and took their first lead of the game with barely five minutes left in the first half at 22-19 on a three-pointer from Billings. Both teams locked down - or maybe tired out - for the rest of the period, though, as Sid Edenshaw's lay-up gave Klawock just a 24-23 lead heading into the break.
The teams traded six lead changes and knotted up the score seven times in the opening ten minutes of the second half, until a 10-2 run finally gave Green a more-than-teetering advantage.
Klawock pulled within two possessions four times before the game was through, but could never get over the hump as Green went to a spread offense and found open lay-ups.
"That's why we need to stay in the winner's bracket," eventual Sportsmanship Award winner Norm Skan said. "It's dog-eat-dog in the loser's bracket and you're always pooped out by the time you get to the title game. They deserve what they got. They're a well-disciplined team."
All-Star Kevin Casperson chipped in 16 points for the Green Team, including four three-pointers. Steve Brandner added 12, while Craig Kahklen had 10.
Sid Edenshaw led Klawock with 19 points, while Sam Peters added 17 and Greg Stigen chipped in 16. Skan finished with three, coming from a bomb in the third quarter.
Klawock 92, Klukwan 59
Blame it on the gleam from the Klawock players' silver hair, or their significant size advantage, but Klukwan never pulled closer than 21 in Friday's loser-out loss.
Edenshaw led Klawock with 29 points, including a trio of three-pointers. Sam Peters added 22 points and John Garvey chipped in 16 in support. Stigen tossed in 14, and Skan nine.
Klukwan was led by 15 points from Chris Wasserman and 13 from Joe Parnell. Rob Hotchlarose added 11, while Larry Sweet tossed in 10 in support.
Hall of Famer and player-coach Dewey Skan entered the blowout for the final thirty seconds, but missed both of the three-pointers his team force-fed him.
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