Thunder Mountain head coach John Blasco knew his team had to limit its turnovers in a rematch with the Ketchikan Kings on Saturday.
They had over 15 Friday night and still won, but by Saturday’s halftime, the Falcons were on pace for 20.
Blasco talked to his players, the turnovers dried up, and Thunder Mountain defeated Kayhi 79-67 to remain unbeaten in Region V play.
“We went into the locker room down three; we hadn’t played very good,” senior Falcon Chase Saviers said. “I think we had 10 turnovers at half, a couple missed free throws, a couple missed layups. We just went in there and said, ‘We need to come out hot,’ and that’s what we did.”
TMHS outscored the Kings by 14 points in third quarter and continued to roll in the fourth.
Saviers, playing with his typical gusto, finished with 31 points. Senior teammate Noah Reishus-O’Brien had 15, Garth Tupou 9 and Josh McAndrews 8.
“We knew they were going to get out and push it, and we just didn’t respond,” Ketchikan guard Jake Smith said.
Ketchikan’s Marcus Lee finished with 19 points but was kept scoreless in the decisive third quarter. Jake Smith and Brent Tayler added 14 apiece on a night when the Kings received no points off the bench.
Despite missing their first four three-point attempts, the Kings went on a 10-3 run to end the first quarter. Brent Tayler was fouled on a last-second three-pointer that turned into a four-point play.
Saviers knocked down a pair of threes just over a minute apart to keep the Falcons afloat in the second quarter. Ketchikan shooters went cold from the field to end the quarter, but still led 31-28 at half.
McAndrews gave the Falcons their first lead of the third quarter with a baseline runner. The Kings turned the ball over and Saviers scored a floater while getting fouled. Luke Olsen, Tupou and McAndrews soon got in on the act, and the Falcons closed the quarter on an 8-1 run.
“A lot of us have played together since sixth grade in Hooptime and we trust each other a lot, especially with breaking that press. I mean, we emphasize that a lot in practice, and moving the ball is just key to getting open looks,” Saviers said.
Up 53-42 to start the fourth quarter, TMHS continued to rally and pushed the lead to 21 with just over 3 minutes in the game.
The Falcons now take their eight-game win streak on the road. TMHS plays Mt. Edgecumbe on Thursday before taking on Sitka the next two nights.
Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com