Kip Howard didn’t know how much time was left.
When he grabbed the offensive rebound with his Kake team down by one, he only knew one thing.
“It needed to be pointed toward the basket again,” Howard said.
Howard landed for a brief moment, took aim and fired. The red lights in the backboard, indicating the final buzzer, lit up as the ball fell through the basket.
It was Kake’s first lead of the half, coming with zero seconds remaining.
At the buzzer! Kake’s Kip Howard gets the offensive board and scores to give Kake the Master’s Bracket championship over Hoonah. Incredible finish to an intense game. #GoldMedal2018 pic.twitter.com/1bPM8X7mK3
With the 63-62 win, Kake defeated Hoonah in the Gold Medal M Bracket championship game Saturday. Hoonah (the defending champion) had led for almost all of the game, seemingly having an answer for every run Kake made.
Hoonah led 59-56 with 52 seconds left, but a short jumper and a three from Kake’s Mike Martin tied the game with 5.6 seconds left. Hoonah’s Albert Hinchman was fouled as Hoonah inbounded the ball, to the shock and dismay of Kake’s fans.
Hinchman made one of his two foul shots, and Kake made the most of those 5.6 seconds. Kamal Lindoff, who led Hoonah with 14 points, said games like this are common in the storied history of the Hoonah-Kake rivalry.
“Ever since I can remember, since high school, coming over and watching, it was always Kake and Hoonah,” Lindoff said. “The biggest rivalry.”
The rivalry felt as intense as ever Saturday, with the two cheering sections sending chants back and forth at each other across the Juneau-Douglas High School gym. The cheers were deafening, especially during the closing minutes.
Peterson, who led Kake with 15 points Saturday, was named to the All-Tournament Team. Kake’s Lloyd Davis also made the All-Tournament Team, as did Lindoff and Mike Mills for Hoonah. Howard, who scored 11 points in the championship game, was named tournament MVP.
Howard was swarmed after the game as people asked for autographs, shook his hand and showed him videos of his final shot they had recorded on their phones.
Videos of the shot included the celebration, with Kake players raising their hands in the air in elation, stunned Hoonah players walking back to their bench and Howard, right fist raised in the air, sprinting up and down the court. In that moment, he said, he could sense the happiness of more than just the players and fans who were in attendance.
“Every time I come out here, it’s for my hometown,” Howard said. “It’s for a reason. I carry people on my shoulder when I play. It just felt like those people on my shoulder were very happy with our play.”
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.