The Mighty B Bracket championship of the Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Tournament took place between Haines Merchants and Hydaburg on Saturday, but not until 40 minutes later than the fans and players expected.
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Hydaburg walked off the court prior to the game and then came back, delaying the start time. Then Haines prevailed in a 103-90 victory.
"This wasn't just a great team win," Haines' Andrew Friske said. "It was a great community win."
Haines never lost the lead it gained in the first half, when the Merchants went up 14-12 just minutes into the game.
Haines controlled the game's tempo with fundamentally sound offense and defense. Led by All Tournament selection Friske, the team worked the ball to its players evenly, with eight players putting up points, five in the double digits.
"We've been playing together for a long time now," Friske said. "This was a total team effort. ... Everyone played their part."
Haines ran an efficient half-court offense but also scored on fast breaks when the opportunity arose. Although Haines scored more than 100 points, it was its defense that sealed the victory as Will Egolf and tournament MVP Ben Egolf controlled the post.
The Egolf brothers rarely let Hydaburg players drive to the lane uncontested and garnered most of the rebounds on the night.
"We played exceptionally well on defense," Friske said.
Hydaburg was never down by more than 10 points for most of the game, due in large part to the brilliant play of point guard Devin Edenshaw.
The All Tournament selection kept his team in the game by scoring 25 on the night, with most of his points coming off of the dribble. Hydaburg also had strong offensive performances from Darren Edenshaw, who scored 21, as well as All Tournament selection Sid Edenshaw, who scored 16.
The game almost didn't take place after a controversy emerged prior to Saturday's final.
Hydaburg's Matt Carle received two technical fouls in Friday's win and was ejected from that game.
Mighty B bracket
All Tournament team
Matt Burrows, Sitka
Travis Dybdahl, Hoonah
Curtis Lane, Angoon
Willie Hayward, Metlakatla
Cameron Cook, Metlakatla
Devin Edenshaw, Hydaburg
George Peratrovich, Hydaburg
Sid Edenshaw, Hydaburg
Will Egolf, Haines
Andrew Friske, Haines
Stan Johnson, Jr., Angoon
Ben Egolf, Haines
According to Juneau Lions Club director Steve Brandner, Gold Medal is played under two sets of rules - the National Federation of High Schools and the Alaska School Activities Association.
Article 7, Section 3 of the NFHS rulebook states, "...the second technical foul charged to a player results in a disqualification of the offender to the team bench." Under ASAA rules, however, two technical fouls results in ejection from the game being played as well as the following game.
The reason for the delay was because the Gold Medal officials didn't have the documentation at the start of the game to verify that Carle could even be allowed on the Hydaburg bench.
Hydaburg completely left the building in protest of the ruling and the game was going to be forfeited. After 40 minutes, Gold Medal officials ruled the game would be played under protest.
Carle was also allowed to play in Saturday's championship game.
"The game was played under protest," Brandner said. "That allowed the game to be played until we could find the documentation."
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