Angoon continues to come together as a viable qualifier for their second Women’s Bracket title as they held off a quality Kake team 54-51 in the 74th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium.
“It was incredibly physical,” Angoon’s Tasha Heumann said. “That was intense… I mean, that’s why you come here to compete, right? You come here to have a good time and compete and get physical and let out all that aggression. Kake is super tough… they are super tough.”
Angoon held a slim 52-48 lead on a free throw by Cheyenne Kookesh with 27 seconds left, but Kake worked the ball and Willow Jackson buried a shot past the arch with 10 seconds left to pull her team to 52-51.
Angoon couldn’t get a clean inbounds pass against the Kake full-court pressure and the ball was awarded to Kake.
Kake’s Courtney James was fouled on a shot inside with six seconds remaining but both free throws went in and out.
Angoon’s Heumann rebounded and was fouled, hitting both for the 54-51 final score.
Kake had one last desperation shot that just missed as time expired.
“It was a good close game,” Kake’s Willow Jackson said. “But that’s how we like them, good and close for the fans to watch. Unfortunately it didn’t end how we wanted it to but we still had fun. We missed a couple easy buckets down at the end of the stretch but it happens. It was a good game. I had fun. I know my team had fun as well.”
Angoon held a 40-32 lead heading into the fourth quarter and pushed that to a 10 point advantage on shots by Ladonna Byers and Heumann.
Kake’s Jackson hit from deep to cut the margin to nine, 44-35, but Heumann was fouled and sank both to put Angoon up by 11, 46-35.
Kake went on a 6-0 run with Monica Ashenfelter hitting from deep and then adding three free throws when fouled on another arch shot to close to 46-41.
Angoon’s Samara Kookesh pushed the lead to 48-41 and Kayla Woodbury added a free throw for 49-41.
Kake’s pressure defense resulted in a steal and basket by Jackson but Angoon’s C. Kookesh made a pair of free throws for a 51-43 lead with 59 seconds remaining.
Kake’s Ashenfelter pulled up from deep and closed the gap to 51-46 and Kake rebounded a missed free throw by Angoon’s Patricia O’Brien to fast break for a Mamie Crooks basket and a 51-48 deficit with 30 seconds remaining and they would foul C. Kookesh, setting up the aforementioned ending.
“A little too close for comfort,” Angoon’s Carmeleeda Estrada said. “A little too exciting. I like it when I am in the stands and it is that exciting, not when you are playing. Kake played amazing defense, I respect that. They really put the pressure on us and made us work for it today for sure.”
Angoon opened the game with a strong inside presence and led 12-2 after the first 10 minutes which included two blocked shots by Heumann who would finish the game with eight shots deflected.
“I just try to anticipate when they are going to shoot,” Heumann said. “They have incredible shooters. They probably could have got me with a shot fake honestly on a couple more fouls, but they are just incredible shooters. I just try to do my best and anticipate and not let them get that shot off… you saw Monica (Kake’s Ashenfelter), Krystle (DeWitt) is also incredible, Louise (Kadake), they are all just really really good shooters.”
Kake would score 13 points in the second quarter as their press started to work on Angoon who kept the lead at 24-15 heading into half time.
Angoon opened the third period with a run of scores by Cheyenne Kookesh, Heumann and Samara Kookesh but Kake answered with a shot past the arch by Ashenfelter and a rebound basket and foul shot by Heather Gatti to trail by 10, 31-21.
Kake’s team defensive pressure resulted in an exchange of baskets down the stretch and Ashenfelter buried another deep shot to cut the lead to 40-32 at the end of the third stanza.
Heumann led Angoon with 17 points, S. Kookesh and Byers added eight apiece, C. Kookesh seven, Samantha Raney four, Estrada and Lizzy O’Brien three apiece, and Patricia O’Brien and Frances Dowd two apiece.
Angoon hit 12-22 at the free throw line, Kake 6-7.
Ashenfelter led Kake with 16 points and three steals, Jackson added 12 points and two steals, Crooks 10 points and a steal, Dewitt six points, James four and Gatti three.
“It was fun,” Kake’s Mamie Crooks said. “It was new for me so I was kind of nervous but overall I had a good time. Honestly the physical play was kind of similar to high school so I didn’t mind it. It was still a good game, they played pretty hard.”
Angoon advances to play an elimination game at 2:00 p.m. Friday.
Angoon (14 Gold Medal titles) won the Women’s Bracket in 2004 and the town’s last championship was in the B Bracket in 2016.
Kake (21 titles) has not won a Women’s championship, the town’s last title was 2019 in the Masters.