Juneau’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament B Bracket team poses for a group photo after winning the B bracket championship game in this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament Saturday night at JDHS. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament B Bracket team poses for a group photo after winning the B bracket championship game in this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament Saturday night at JDHS. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau rides second half surge to Gold Medal B Bracket title

Saturday night win over Hydaburg concluded the 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.

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 went from a late addition to the 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament’s B Bracket, to champs following a Saturday night win against Hydaburg.

Juneau’s 86-62 win against Hydaburg Saturday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé concluded this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament, which marked a return after a three year hiatus due to the pandemic for the historic competition that draws together communities from around Southeast Alaska.

Juneau’s Chase Saviers said while the win feels good, he and his team are mostly just grateful they were invited to compete since they were a fill-in team.

Juneau’s Terrence Wheat takes the ball to the basket for 2 points Saturday night against Hydaburg in the B bracket championship game for this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at JDHS. Wheat finished the game with 5 points. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Terrence Wheat takes the ball to the basket for 2 points Saturday night against Hydaburg in the B bracket championship game for this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at JDHS. Wheat finished the game with 5 points. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“It was fun to come and compete in Gold Medal, especially after it hadn’t been around for the last few years, but it felt good,” Saviers said.

While Juneau ultimately came out on the winning side of a 24-point game, the win was anything but certain at the midpoint of the contest.

For a moment, a Hydaburg comeback seemed inevitable, but in the second half of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament’s B Bracket championship Juneau went pedal to the metal while their opponents ran out of gas.

In the first half of Gold Medal’s premier game, crowd-favorite Hydaburg came within a score of erasing an early 17-point deficit for a score of 37-36 at the half.

Montae Edenshaw, 8, runs with a Council of the Haida Nation flag while cheering on Hydaburg and his father, Vinny Edenshaw, during the Gold Medal B Bracket championship game on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Montae Edenshaw, 8, runs with a Council of the Haida Nation flag while cheering on Hydaburg and his father, Vinny Edenshaw, during the Gold Medal B Bracket championship game on Saturday. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

But in the second half, Juneau found another gear and established a commanding lead.

“We kind of had a sloppy second quarter but we came out of halftime and put the pedal to the metal and came home with the win,” Saviers said.

Juneau’s Chase Saviers looks for an open pass during Saturday’s championship game against Hydaburg in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Saviers finished the game with 12 points and earned all-tournament honors, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Chase Saviers looks for an open pass during Saturday’s championship game against Hydaburg in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Saviers finished the game with 12 points and earned all-tournament honors, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Saturday’s game came the day after Hydaburg authored a double-overtime victory against Angoon to advance to the B Bracket title game. Juneau punched its ticket to the game with a Thursday win over the same Hydaburg team dispatched on Saturday.

The third and fourth quarters were all Juneau. Stewart Conn and Matt Seymour took turns adding points to the board to get the third quarter started while Hydaburg struggled to get momentum going. Vinny Edenshaw would score 2 points for Hydaburg from the free throw line but that would be the last points for Hydaburg for the quarter, 65-43 Juneau’s lead.

Despite the deficit, Hydaburg soldiered on through the fourth quarter with strong shooting from the Edenshaw brothers but as time faded from the clock, so did Hydaburg’s chances of catching up. With less than five minutes left in the game, Juneau had a 20 point lead that they would hold onto until the very end for the 86-62 finish.

Juneau’s Mahina Toutaiolepo drives for a 2 point shot against Hydaburg Saturday night for the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament’s B bracket championship game. Toutaiolepo finished the game with 12 points and earned Allstar honors, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Mahina Toutaiolepo drives for a 2 point shot against Hydaburg Saturday night for the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament’s B bracket championship game. Toutaiolepo finished the game with 12 points and earned Allstar honors, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

For Juneau, Saviers and Mahina Toutaiolepo received All-Tournament honors. Juneau’s Conn led with 19 points with Seymour not far behind with 15 and Kaleb Tompkins had 14. Tompkins also received MVP honors and said it felt great to be back on the court after so many years off. Tompkins said he played with Klukwan five years ago and this year was his first year back in the tournament.

“Feels great, team wins are great,” Tompkins said. “ I couldn’t have done it without my team. Last time I played we lost in the championship, so it feels nice to bring this one home.”

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins poses for a photo with his MVP and B Bracket championship trophies on Saturday night after winning the B bracket championship game against Hydaburg to conclude this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Tompkins finished the game with 14 points. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins poses for a photo with his MVP and B Bracket championship trophies on Saturday night after winning the B bracket championship game against Hydaburg to conclude this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Tompkins finished the game with 14 points. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins drives toward the basket while defended by Hydaburg’s Claude Young and George Peratrovich in the first quarter of Juneau’s eventual Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Tournament B Bracket championship. Tompkins took home B Bracket MVP honors following the Saturday night game. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s Kaleb Tompkins drives toward the basket while defended by Hydaburg’s Claude Young and George Peratrovich in the first quarter of Juneau’s eventual Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Tournament B Bracket championship. Tompkins took home B Bracket MVP honors following the Saturday night game. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

For Hydaburg, Jaren Carle, Vinny Edenshaw and Darren Edenshaw received All-Tournament honors. Vinny Edenshaw led all scorers with 24 points and Darren Edenshaw had 21.

Others receiving all-tournament honors in the B Bracket included: Simon Friday, Kake; Tyler Swinton, Haines; Archie Dundas, Metlakatla; and J.J. Nixon, Angoon. The Sportsmanship Award went to Colton Hayward, Metlakatla.

Hydaburg coach Al Nix said it might not have been the outcome the team was looking for, but regardless of the end result, it’s always an honor to play in the tournament.

Hydaburg’s Vinny Edenshaw runs in for a layup against Juneau in the B bracket championship game in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday. Edenshaw led his team in scoring for a total of 24 points and earned All-Tournament honors, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Hydaburg’s Vinny Edenshaw runs in for a layup against Juneau in the B bracket championship game in the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament on Saturday. Edenshaw led his team in scoring for a total of 24 points and earned All-Tournament honors, as well. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“We love to be here, we love to play in the Gold Medal Tournament,” Nix said. “We’ve got a good group of guys this year, a mix of old vets and young guys. We always make it to the big game but it’s never going to be easy, no one is ever going to roll over and just give us the game, we have to take it ourselves. After the double overtime Friday night, I think it wore out of the guys a little bit, not to make excuses and Angoon is great, too. It’s always fun to get up here and play this tournament, the guys always really look forward to it. I think it’s always a learning experience.”

Hydaburg’s Darren Edenshaw looks to take a 3-point shot against Juneau Saturday night for the final game of this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Edenshaw would finish with the second most points on his team, just under his brother Vinny with 21. Edenshaw also earned all-tournament honors at the award ceremony following the game. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Hydaburg’s Darren Edenshaw looks to take a 3-point shot against Juneau Saturday night for the final game of this year’s Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. Edenshaw would finish with the second most points on his team, just under his brother Vinny with 21. Edenshaw also earned all-tournament honors at the award ceremony following the game. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

The Gold Medal title is Juneau’s 35th with this year marking the first time Juneau has won the B Bracket. Hydaburg last won the B Bracket in 2015, and its most recent title came in 2019 in the C Bracket.

• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

Juneau Lions Club President Edward Hotch wheels out awards following Juneau’s B Bracket victory in the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. At halftime, Hotch received an award of his own when Sen. Jesse Kiehl presented Edward and Janice Hotch with a legislative citation recognizing the Hotches longtime work in making Gold Medal a possibility. Kiehl said there’s not much universally agreed upon in the Capitol, but the goodness of the return of Gold Medal is an exception. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau Lions Club President Edward Hotch wheels out awards following Juneau’s B Bracket victory in the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament. At halftime, Hotch received an award of his own when Sen. Jesse Kiehl presented Edward and Janice Hotch with a legislative citation recognizing the Hotches longtime work in making Gold Medal a possibility. Kiehl said there’s not much universally agreed upon in the Capitol, but the goodness of the return of Gold Medal is an exception. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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