The Thunder Mountain boys basketball team used an all-around team effort to upset one of the hottest teams in the state on Friday.
Brady Carandang and Bryson Echiverri made deep 3-pointers and Puna and Meki Toutaiolepo finished strong inside to power a 62-55 Falcons win over Ketchikan, who scorched its past two Friday opponents by 40 and 20 points respectively.
“We talk about it a lot, we just haven’t done it very well where you establish inside presence, and that makes the defense make adjustments that will open up your outside game,” TMHS coach John Blasco said. “I was thankful enough we were able to get a little space for our shooters to be able to knock down shots late. Brady and Oliver (Mendoza) and Bryson hit some pretty important threes late in the game.”
Carandang, a junior, finished with 17 points and Echiverri, also a junior, added 16 points while dishing out a number of assists to the Toutaiolepo brothers.
“We had trust in everybody,” Echiverri said. “I would tell every person I pass to, ‘Shoot the ball.’ And they did.”
University of Alaska Fairbanks-bound senior Marcus Lee scored 21 points in the loss. Younger brother Chris Lee, who eclipsed the 1,000-point plateau earlier in the month by averaging 20 points a game, went for 14.
“We tried to fight,” Marcus said. “We were down the whole game pretty much. We made a lot of mistakes tonight, we know we’re not perfect. We’ll lose games sometimes.”
The Falcons closed the third quarter on a 9-2 run to take a 43-40 lead. Carandang, Echiverri and Puna Toutaiolepo each hit a 3-pointer in that stretch.
The Kings twice came within one point of the Falcons in the final frame. The Lee brothers attacked the basket with increasing frequency as the quarter wound down, but many of their shots didn’t fall. Marcus and Chris each scored five in the fourth.
“Fourth quarter was tough — there’s nothing you can do about it,” Marcus said. “I’m not going to say I was trying to put the team on my back. We all tried to step up. As a leader and a point guard on this team, I’ve got to step up sometimes. Tonight, it didn’t happen.”
TMHS began the game on a 7-0 run and led for all but three brief intervals in the first half. TMHS went up 21-16 in the second frame before falling behind 28-26 at halftime.
TMHS (9-9, 2-1 Southeast) took on Kayhi (11-8, 3-2 Southeast) again on Saturday night at 8 p.m.
Across town at Juneau-Douglas High School, the Crimson Bears lost to East Anchorage 66-54.
JDHS, which led 32-28 at halftime, lost the lead in the third quarter as Jaron Williams (13 points) and Kaeleb Johnson (11 points) started to heat up. Williams and Johnson scored seven and six points in the frame, respectively.
Sophomore Brock McCormick scored 15 points to lead all Crimson Bear scorers.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or email@example.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.