Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Friday night lights shone bright on the Thunder Mountain High School gym as the Falcons girls flirted with a victory against Colony but fell 60-52; the Falcons boys defeated Nikiski 68-42 at Barrow; and the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé boys fell to Lathrop 58-53 at the Alaska Airlines Classic in Anchorage.
Thunder Mountain senior Sydney Strong and freshman Cailynn Baxter did all they could to disrupt the hot-shooting Colony Knights in the Falcons nest by tidying up the inside and scoring 16 points apiece but Colony freshmen Hallie Clark and Ally Shelley dominated outside the key with 27 and 23 points respectively to give the Knights the win.
“My babies are growing up,” Thunder Mountain coach Andy Lee said. “They can almost repeat it when I start to say it, my line is ‘I’m happy but I’m not satisfied.’ Tonight I was neither happy or satisfied but I was proud.”
Colony led 18-4 with 1:24 remaining in the first quarter behind five straight shots by Shelley, including three past the arch and two opening deep shots by Clark. But Falcons senior Grace Sikes hit from deep Baxter notched two free-throws and freshman Mika Caradang scored to close to within 20-11 when the period ended.
The Falcons kept a zone defense in play and tried to stop the Knights but Clark buried four shots from the field and junior Emma Hopkins three more.
TMHS pounded the ball inside and went to the charity stripe to hit 7-8 in the stanza and Strong added two more baskets inside, Sikes a rebound score and freshman Jaya Caradang a deep three to help the Falcons close to 35-31 at the half.
Strong and Baxter tied the game at 35-35 with 6:51 remaining in the third quarter.
Clark and Shelley put the Knights up 38-35 and C. Baxter and freshman twin Kerra Baxter put the Falcons back on top 39-38.
Shelley got loose for two straight deep shots for a 44-41 Knights lead and they would not relinquish the advantage again, closing the quarter ahead 48-42.
The Falcons had three quick turnovers to start the final eight minutes as the Knights increased their full court pressure and jumped out to a 53-42 lead.
“They just haven’t been in those situations, handling the ball and making good decisions,” Lee said. “We got it into Syd’s hands and that really paid dividends for us. But when all three of your primary ball handlers are into their first year of varsity basketball… for our freshmen and sophomores, every time down the floor is a like a brand new possession for them. They have no recollection of who just hit three 3’s from a spot. They are playing the spot not the player and no recognition of who that is and why it is important to deny her the ball. So we are reacting late to shooters and we gave up some wide open clutch three’s. We did force them to turn the ball over too, we made some clutch free throws..”
The TMHS pep band and cheer squad were boisterous and loud. Something the Colony Knights, who feature five freshmen, three sophomores, four juniors and no seniors, had to adjust too.
“It is a lot tougher when you are on the road,” Colony coach Candice Kelly said. “But you have to weather the storm and that’s what we kept doing and we pulled off another win. And I’m proud of the girls.”
TMHS’ Strong and C. Baxter would score six points for the Falcons but Colony’s Clark matched that with six of her own, including a spin-move layup around a defender, to keep the Knights in front 59-48 midway through the fourth quarter.
“I love the environment,” Clark said when asked what she thought of southeast gyms. “The gym’s super loud. It was really fun playing here. We have a lot to work on but we’re getting there.
Four straight free-throws by Falcons’ J. Caradang and C. Baxter cut the lead to 59-52 with 1:24 to play but two more TMHS turnovers gave Clark a chance to drive the floor and convert one-of-two free throws for the final tally.
“Just keep shooting,” Clark said when asked what her team expects of her. “Allie (Shelley) was hitting a lot of three’s and we just got to keep finding the hot hands.”
TMHS Scoring - Strong 16, C. Baxter 16, J. Caradang seven, K. Baxter six, Sikes five, M. Caradang 2. Free-throws: 14-19. Turnovers - 19.
Colony Scoring - Clark 27, Shelley 23, Hopkins six, junior Lainey Suaava four. FT - 4-10. Turnovers - 9.
“Colony is a reflection of player development and competition in the valley,” TMHS coach Lee said. “And we’ve just gotten a really up close and personal view of Wasilla, Palmer and Colony, and ACS is in that conference. There is not a player out there that didn’t get 30-50 games a year of middle school basketball. And we didn’t get 30 as a team, combined. Their skills are a reflection of week after week, night after night, of high level middle school competition. Our girls are first timers to managing the clock with 30 seconds to go in a quarter or even identifying a good shooter… but what I saw was an improving Thunder Mountain team and I’m happy with that.”
The Falcons and Knights play again Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
JDHS CRIMSON BEARS 53, LATHROP MALEMUTES 58
The JDHS boys basketball team fell to the Lathrop Malemutes 58-53 in their second game at the Alaska Airlines Classic at West Anchorage High School.
JDHS led 14-10 after the first quarter and 32-24 at the half behind sophomore Sean Oliver’s seven points. Senior Alyx Bohulano scored 10 points in the first half included a steal near half court that he brought to the basket for a score and a free-throw.
Crimson Bears sophomore Alwen Carrillo added eight points in the third quarter but Lathrop junior Earl Parker notched 10 to help the Malemutes get within two points, 44-42 at the end of the stanza.
Lathrop would outscore JDHS 14-9 in the final eight minutes of play, including the Malemutes going 6-12 at the line in the quarter (15-25 total) while the Crimson Bears did not reach the charity stripe in the stanza and were 1-1 in the game. Oliver hit a deep three to put JDHS ahead 51-50 with 3:54 to play but Lathrop would outscore the Crimson Bears 8-2 down the stretch.
JDHS Scoring - Oliver 14, Carrillo 10, senior Alyx Bohulano 10, senior Jake Sleppy 4, junior Joseph Aline 4, senior Porter Nelson 3, senior Tias Carney 2, junior Chris Harris 2, junior Orion Dybdahl 2, junior Kai Hargrave 2.
Lathrop Scoring - Parker 18, junior Peyton George 13, Jayce Slifer 10, senior Jaylen Thomas 7, sophomore Atticus Foley 6, senior Rylee Corbett 3, senior Asher James 1.
JDHS will next face the Colony Knights in the 7th/8th place game today.
“We are young when it comes to experience, so these games have to serve as learning opportunities,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “We have to learn that consistency matters. Consistency in communication. Consistency in effort. Consistency in execution. I'm curious to see how we will respond and perform against a disciplined and competitive Colony team tomorrow.”
In other Alaska Airlines Classic Scores:
Thursday - West 55, Lathrop 42; East 70, JDHS 34; St. Joseph (CA) 72, Dimond 56; ThunderRidge (Co) 66, Colony 44.
Friday - Lathrop 58, Juneau 53; Dimond 54, Colony 30; St. Joseph 62, ThunderRidge 50; East 60, West 41.
Saturday - 7th place, JDHS vs Colony; 4th place, Lathrop vs Dimond; 3rd place, West vs ThunderRidge; 1st place, East vs St. Joseph.
TMHS FALCONS 68, NIKISKI BULLDOGS 42
The Thunder Mountain Falcons boys topped the Nikiski Bulldogs 68-42 in the second day of action at the Barrow Whalers Invitational at Barrow.
TMHS was too strong for Nikiski in the first half, leading 17-9 after the first quarter and 30-12 at the half.
A 22-point TMHS third quarter, including six shots past the arch - two apiece by sophomore Thomas Baxter and junior MJ Tupou, and one apiece from sophomore’s Sam Lockhart and Lance Nierra - gave the Falcons a 52-24 lead to start the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs outscored the Falcons 18-16 in the final eight minutes of action. TMHS senior Matthew Harstock scored all eight of his points in the final stanza and sophomore James Polasky all of his five.
Falcons Scoring - Lockhart 12, Baxter 10, Tupou 10, Hartstock 8, senior Wallace Adams 6, Polasky 5, senior Storm Aguirre 5, Nierra 5, senior Matthew Johns 4, senior Isaiah Nelson 2, sophomore Owen Adams 1. FT 9-13.
Bulldogs Scoring - Brady Bostic 17, Braedon Porter 10, Simon Grenier 4, Seth Payne 4, Drew Handley 3, Dillon Handley 2, Charlie Chamberlain 2. FT 3-3.