Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The Thunder Mountain boys' basketball team fell behind early and never caught up to the defending state champion Ketchikan Kings on Friday night.
The Falcons fell in a 17-point hole by halftime, eventually falling to the Kings 67-42 in the squads’ first conference games of the year. Kayhi took four of five games from Thunder Mountain last season before winning their first state title in over four decades.
“They did a good job defensively quickly quieting us down,” TMHS coach John Blasco said. “We had 10 turnovers in the first half and your goal is to have less than 10 in a game. I don’t know how many of those turnovers resulted in points for them, but I would guess it’s probably 50 percent of them.”
Senior Chris Lee scored a game-high 30 points for Kayhi, rising to third on Kayhi boys basketball all-time scoring list. Lee has 1,547 career points, just ahead of older brother Marcus’ 1,530.
With Marcus Lee playing at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the Kings now start 5-foot-5 point guard Joeben Lorenzo.
“Right now on paper we’re replacing Marcus Lee, a three-time all-state player with a 5-5 freshman,” Ketchikan coach Eric Stockhausen said. “Maybe on paper I’ve lost my mind.”
“But Joeben hit two free throws with 11 seconds to go to seal a game for us in a one-point win against West at the (Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic). The kid’s in the gym all the time.”
Both teams were coming off 1-2 finishes at the O’Brady Invitational at South Anchorage High School. Both teams have winning records on the season, with TMHS sitting at 9-5 and Ketchikan at 7-5.
The Falcons won eight of nine to begin the year. Stockhausen expects the home team to rebound on Saturday night.
“Anybody that’s been in Southeast the last 60 years knows the more you play, the tighter games get,” Stockhausen said. “The score could be completely reversed tomorrow. Thunder Mountain is 9-4 coming in, they’ve beat some good teams.”
After a rematch Saturday, the two sides will square off in Ketchikan late next month to conclude the regular-season series. Thunder Mountain plays at Juneau-Douglas High School next Friday and Saturday. Ketchikan will be in Metlakatla on Thursday for a nonconference game. The Kings then host Metlakatla Saturday.
In girls' basketball action from Friday night, the Juneau Douglas Lady Crimson Bears beat the Lady Kings at home, 51-46. The teams were tied 23-23 at the half before JDHS ran away with it.