The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team stand on the Arctic Ocean. (Courtesy Photo)

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team stand on the Arctic Ocean. (Courtesy Photo)

Falcons come up just shy of tournament win

Close game in the far north.

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team fell a few points short of a tournament championship over the weekend in Utqiagvik.

The Falcons bested Nikiski High School 68-42 on Thursday and Barrow High School 73-68 on Friday. Thunder Mountain lost the championship game to West Valley High School 50-47 in overtime. The loss in the championship game to West Valley is the second time Thunder Mountain has played the Fairbanks team. TMHS also lost the first tilt in the recent Palmer tournament. The rematch was more competitive.

[Boys basketball hits the road]

“We had a good showing and came up 3 points shy with a tournament trophy,” said coach John Blasco. “It was a heckuva game. It stayed tight all the way through to the fourth quarter. None of our opportunities in overtime fell.”

The Falcons record is now 5-6.

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team prepares to try muktuk given to the team by an Utqiagvik local. (Courtesy Photo)

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team prepares to try muktuk given to the team by an Utqiagvik local. (Courtesy Photo)

Samuel Lockhart and Thomas Baxter were named to the all-tournament team.

Baxter had a monster game against the Barrow Whalers tying a TMHS record with 40 points while grabbing 16 rebounds.

Blasco said the Falcons went with a super small, all-guard lineup against the Whalers, and Baxter’s rebounding was critical in making it work and praised the sophomore’s ability to score in different ways.

“He really had multiple aspects of his offense flowing, his ability to get to the rim and his shooting,” Blasco said.

Lockhart was also a consistent contributor in the tournament, breaking double digits in scoring in every contest, including six 3-pointer barrage in the championship game.

Blasco said James Polasky also played well in the tournament contributing rebounding and blocked shots.

Next up, THMS will host Petersburg on Thursday, Feb. 3 before a pair of games against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Feb. 4 and 5.

Due to cancellations, these will be the Falcons’ first home games of the season.

“I’ve been pleased. 11 games on the road to start the season is kind of a whirlwind,” Blasco said. “We’re looking forward to being home for a bit. Looking forward to being able to play in front of our own family and friends.”

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

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