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They gave it their all and then some.
Angoon and Kake went the C Bracket distance on Tuesday in the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, and then they played an extra five minutes of fan-enthused overtime that saw Angoon leaving the gym with a 63-57 win.
“Oh man so happy about it,” Angoon’s Levi Johnson said. “Yeah it was an exciting game. It is always fun to play against Kake. I don’t know who we got next but it is going to be another tough one whoever it is. I can’t wait.”
Johnson had grabbed a rebound and was fouled with 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Angoon up 50-48. Johnson hit one of two free throws for a 51-48 advantage but with seven seconds remaining Kake’s Kelly Brown hit from past the arch to knot the score and send the crowd into pandemonium.
“It was amazing,” Kake’s Brown said. “We’re just happy to play again after the pandemic hit. It is good to see all the people again. They were all excited and we are excited to see everybody again.”
The excitement carried into overtime with Johnson hitting another free throw for a 52-51 Angoon lead.
Kake’s Kevin Aceveda took it back with a score for a 53-52 advantage.
Angoon’s Stephen Johnson connected past the arch for a 55-52 lead and teammate Ivan Raney rebounded a miss and scored for 57-52.
A deep three by Kake’s Joshua Jackson cut the lead to 57-55 with under a minute remaining but Angoon would connect on four straight free throws by James Wilson and Curtis Lane to lead 61-55.
Wilson was hobbled with a bad back and didn’t get the start but he came through in the clutch with seven points in the fourth quarter and solid defense that carried into overtime.
“It took a while to get loose,” Wilson said. “We need to get used to each other. No one really plays together, half the people live here and half the people live in Angoon, so this was really fun.”
Kake’s Byron Jack put their final two points in and Angoon’s Raney finished with two free throws to seal the win.
“It means a lot,” Angoon’s John Crossman Jr. said. “Yeah, it means a lot.”
Crossman Jr. was a physical mainstay in the middle and led Angoon with 17 points. He fouled out with 26 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter after giving Angoon a 50-48 advantage.
“The refs this year are letting us play,” he said. “But I still used all six of my fouls.. my fouls were a lot more obvious. They are letting a lot of stuff go this year so that’s why I have kind of been a little bit more physical.”
The physical play started from the tip off and saw Angoon take a 16-14 lead after 10 minutes with neither team getting more than a three-point advantage. Angoon lead at the half 28-25.
Kake took their second lead of the game in the third quarter as Aceveda pulled the squad to 28-27 and Brown hit from distance for a 30-28 advantage.
Kake’s Brandon Jackson would add another deep shot past the arch and Brown two more deep shots for a 39-35 advantage starting the final quarter.
“It was close, so close,” Kake’s Brandon Jackson said. “We grew up playing against these boys so we all know how each other plays. The ball rolled their way tonight, a little bit.”
Brandon Jackson noted the special atmosphere of the packed gymnasium.
“That’s what it is about,” he said. “That’s why we are here… that is why we are here. You love it right? That’s what the crowds come out for… not to see blow outs. And it is just good to play.”
Angoon’s Crossman Jr. scored from the floor and the line to start the fourth quarter and a 9-2 run that put Angoon up 44-41 with three minutes left in regulation.
A short shot by Kake’s Jess Ross and another from distance by B. Jackson gave Kake a 46-44 lead.
Angoon’s Wilson stole the ball and was fouled, hitting one free throw to cut the Kake lead to 46-45.
Kake’s Joshua Jackson hit two free throws for a 48-45 advantage but Wilson connected for Angoon from long range to tie the score at 48-48.
An Angoon rebound and timeout set up the Crossman Jr. bucket, his subsequent foul out, teammate L. Johnson’s free throw for a 51-48 lead and then the tying three-pointer by Kake’s Brown to force the extra stanza.
Angoon was led by Crossman Jr. with 17 points, Wilson added 13, Levi Johnson nine, Stephen Johnson and Ramey eight apiece, C. Lane six and Frank Lane two.
Angoon hit 17-27 at the free throw line, Kake 5-15.
Brown led Kake with 15 points, Joshua Jackson added 12, Kevin Aceveda nine, B. Jackson six, Kevin Milton, Jess Ross and Byron Jack Jr. four each, and Jesse Parr three.
Angoon plays another elimination game at 1:00 p.m. Thursday against Hoonah. Hoonah eliminated Yakutat 87-75 Tuesday.
Angoon is looking to add their 15th Gold Medal title and sixth C Bracket championship – the last was 1989. Angoon’s last championship was in the B Bracket in 2016. Hoonah is looking for their 28th title and seventh in the C Bracket. Hoonah’s last title was 2017 in the Masters Bracket.
Kake was looking to add to their 21 Gold Medal titles and win their 10th C Bracket championship — the last was in 2012. The town’s last Gold Medal title was in the Masters Bracket in 2019.