A strong inside presence and hot outside shooting lifted Kake to the finals of the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament's inaugural intermediate bracket on Thursday.
Sound off on the important issues at
Kake defeated Angoon 88-72 to advance to Saturday's championship game.
"Usually, we're a running team," Kake's Shane Padgett said. "But against these guys we had to get the half-court game going.
Padgett scored a game-high 27 points, and Kake immediately asserted its inside strength. Both Padgett and forward Derek Knudsen attacked the rim immediately, scoring inside and getting to the free throw line.
By attacking the middle, Kake got Angoon into foul trouble almost moments after the opening tip. Kake started shooting one-and-one free throws just 5:10 into the game, when Angoon picked up its seventh foul.
Kake took an early 14-4 lead as Knudsen hit 7 of 9 free throws in nearly a two-minute span early in the first quarter.
"They don't really have any big guys," Padgett said of Angoon. "I'm used to playing on the outside but against the smaller guys you have to go down low a little bit."
Kake led by as many as 15 in the first half. Angoon battled back to cut the lead to eight points late in the first half and trailed 39-29 at halftime.
"We just didn't start with the heart we had yesterday (a 53-47 win over Yakutat on Wednesday)," Angoon's Jay Johnson said. "We started kind of slow. We didn't get going until the second half."
After scoring inside, Kake opened the second half hot from beyond the 3-point arc.
Tim Demmert hit four 3-pointers. Kake knocked down seven long-distance bombs in the second half's first 10 minutes, extending the lead to 70-42.
Instead of giving up, Angoon showed tremendous fighting spirit late in the game.
The team switched to a trapping defense, which propelled Angoon's transition game. Angoon's quick guards started to force steals and run the floor.
Angoon's hustle fired-up the team's fan base, as it cut Kake's lead to 79-65 with 5:50 remaining in regulation.
The lead, however, proved to wide a chasm for Angoon to close.
"They started pressing," Padgett said of Angoon. "They're tough. That's all we were worried about, them running us off the floor."
Demmert scored 19 points for Kake and Knudsen added 13. Also for Kake, Tracy Jackson scored six points, Shawn Jackson had five points and two blocked shots, Kelly Brown scored four points, Cyruss Mills added three points and Larry Jackson hit a field goal.
Stephen Johnson led Angoon with 29 points, while Alper Johnson added 15 points and Bailey Johnson hit 11. Adam Johnson tallied eight points, Loren Sands scored seven and Jay Johnson chipped in two in defeat.
Kake awaits the winner of today's game between Angoon and Yakutat. Kake will play in the championship final on Saturday.
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com