Juneau’s Mahina Toutaiolepo peers through the arms of Kake defenders during the second half of a Juneau win in the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Mahina Toutaiolepo peers through the arms of Kake defenders during the second half of a Juneau win in the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Big fourth quarter pushes Juneau past Kake

Game was tied at the end of the third.

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament is made possible by Sealaska Corp. Thanks to this sponsorship, this article —and all of this year’s Gold Medal coverage — is available online without a subscription to the Empire.

Juneau’s Gold Medal Tournament basketball team played together for the first time on Sunday, but you wouldn’t know it from the final score.

In the first B Bracket game of the 74th Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament — a Sunday morning tilt between Kake and Juneau at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé—Juneau emerged with an 86-67 win. Despite the 19-point gap by the end of the game, it was a classic “closer than the score” contest. The game was tied at 53 entering the fourth quarter and stayed competitive for much of the final frame.

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins boxes out while teammate Chase Saviers comes down with a rebound in the first half of a Juneau win against Kake in the first round of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins boxes out while teammate Chase Saviers comes down with a rebound in the first half of a Juneau win against Kake in the first round of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

However, down the stretch, Juneau capitalized on turnovers for good looks at the basket and trips to the free-throw line.

“We put on some pressure, full-court trap and kind of sped things up,” said Chase Saviers, one of several Juneau players to reach double figures in scoring, after the game.

Saviers said some of Juneau’s players had played together in city league, but the team had come together with about a month of notice and Sunday’s game was the first time the full team had played together.

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins cuts through Kake defenders on his way to the hoop in a Sunday win in the first B Bracket game of the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins cuts through Kake defenders on his way to the hoop in a Sunday win in the first B Bracket game of the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“We’ll come back tomorrow, and hopefully have the same result,” Saviers said.

Stewart Conn led Juneau in scoring with 19 points, followed closely by Kaleb Tompkins with 18 points. Mahina Toutaiolepo chipped in 13 points, including a 5-point fourth quarter, and Saviers put up 12.

Kake’s Simon Friday (40) makes his down the court to take a shot at the basket with time expiring in the second half in a losing effort against Juneau in the first B Bracket game of this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Kake’s Simon Friday (40) makes his down the court to take a shot at the basket with time expiring in the second half in a losing effort against Juneau in the first B Bracket game of this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Shawn Merry led Kake with 20 points in the game with 16 points coming in the second half, and Simon Friday was not far behind with 17 points, including two 3-pointers, and Jonah Davis put up 13 points, including a slam dunk.

Juneau will go on to play Metlakatla at a 2:30 p.m. Monday game. Kake will play an elimination game Hoonah at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Contact Ben Hohenstatt at bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com or (907)308-4895. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt.

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