THE LEGENDARY 'C' BRACKET
Nineteen years had passed since the Klawock Old Totems won a championship in the Lendary C Bracket at the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. On Saturday, the Old Totems ended their championship drought with an impressive 105-69 victory over Yakutat ANS.
The Old Totems were led by Sid Edenshaw who scored 33 points to bring his tournament scoring average to 29.5 points. After the game, Edenshaw was awarded the most valuable player award for the bracket. He is the only player to win the MVP trophy in all three men's brackets in Gold Medal play.
"I don't know how many I've won," a puzzled Edenshaw said. "I can't remember if it's one in the A and three in the B or four in the B. It's a few anyway."
"It's a good feeling," Klawock's Gold Medal legend Dewey Skan said. "But the most important thing we preach in respect for the other players. We've been in a friendly rivalry since 1979. I don't know who said this was a grudge match. This was the most relaxing Gold Medal I can remember. We gave it our best shot."
Klawock defeated Yakutat three nights earlier with a 84-70 win that sent Yakutat into the losers' bracket. Yakutat defeated Kake 117-88 on Friday to set up the rematch between the two squads.
The game was close at the beginning with Klawock holding a slim 23-22 lead with 4 minutes, 36 seconds to go in the half. But Klawock broke the game open by going on a 18-8 run to take a 41-30 half-time lead.
High jumper: Klawock's Sam Peters (24) goes up for a shot over Yakutat's Mike Jensen.
BRIAN WALLACE / THE JUNEAU EMPIRE
Klawock opened the second half by getting on Yakutat with another 13-5 run behind the play of Norm Skan who finished the game with 21 points. By then, Klawock led by 19 points and the Old Totems never looked back.
Edenshaw relentlessly got the ball down low where he would take it to the hole, scoring a lot, sometimes missing and drawing many fouls. He was 17-12 from the charity line for a respectable 70-percent free throw average.
"How to stop Sid? We talked about it, thought about it, talked about it some more and I think there is no solution," Yakutat's James Bremner said. "Just play straight up defense and try to stop the other guys."
"We would be very competitive anyway," Norm Skan said. "But Sid puts us over the hump."
Yakutat tried desperately to get back into the game. Mike Jensen, who made the tournament's First Team, scored 16 of his team-high 23 points in the second half, but Klawock's defense held Yakutat at bay.
"We ran out of steam there at the end," James Bremner said. "At the start of the game we played real close and I don't know when it was that we fell apart."
"I think the biggest factor in the game was the fatigue," Norm Skan said. "Yakutat had come a long way through the losers' bracket. You can't take anything away from them. We've developed a lot of friendships throughout the years but someone had to lose.
Behind Mike Jensen, Yakutat's Bremner and Kevin Sathar were the only players to score in double figures with 10 points each. Bremner joined Mike Jensen on the all-tournament's first team and Jon Jensen was named to the second team for his efforts.
Klawock's Sam Peters was also named to the second team by averaging 18.3 points throughout the tournament.
"We try to stay in shape," Edenshaw said. "We have real good players that stay focused. They talk together, hang out together. They are a real good bunch."
"It really means a lot since it's only my third championship since I've been coming here since 1975," Norm Skan said. "This is the most focused bunch of player I have ever been with. We're lucky to have what we have. We're getting older, but we can't help that."
Jeff Kasper can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.