Late in the third quarter of Saturday night’s game between Thunder Mountain and Juneau-Douglas, the pace of play — and scoring — picked up dramatically.
With a turnover-filled first half behind them, the Juneau squads heated up at the exact same time, scoring 55 points over the final 11 minutes of the game.
The Falcons, including Brady Carandang (20 points) and Puna Toutaiolepo (18 points), made a few more of their shots in fourth, however, to secure a 66-56 victory at the Thunderdome. TMHS, who travels to Ketchikan this weekend to play the Kings, took three of four games from their crosstown rivals this season. The Falcons won 69-59 on Friday night.
“We knew it was going to be a battle,” TMHS coach John Blasco said. “A team like that is never going to quit with conference games, rivalry games, so all the credit to them for battling for the whole game. I really never felt it was in control until about 12 seconds left.”
Cooper Kriegmont scored 18 points for JDHS, who’s now lost four consecutive conference games: two against Ketchikan, and two against Thunder Mountain. The Crimson Bears travel to Sitka two out of the next three weeks, first for nonconference games this weekend, and two weeks later for the Region V Southeast Tournament.
“I’m absolutely pleased with the way our guys played,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “Thunder Mountain had to win that game — that’s not a game that we lost — we forced them to make plays to win and they made free throws down the stretch.”
Thunder Mountain’s Carandang and Juneau-Douglas’ Philip Gonzales both hit buzzer-beating 3-pointers. Carandang ignited the home crowd with his half-court heave that fell through the nets as time expired on the first half. The basket put the Falcons up 26-22.
Gonzales’ shot, while much closer in, gave the Crimson Bears a 44-42 lead to start the fourth.
JDHS lost the lead about a minute into the fourth, and never got it back thanks in part to the strong foul shooting of TMHS (15 of 21) in the fourth.
The Crimson Bears were hit for several fouls to begin the final session, awarding free throws to Toutaiolepo, who scored seven of the Falcons’ first 10 points of the frame.
“Third and fourth quarter we limited turnovers,” Toutaiolepo said. “We only had four turnovers in the half — that helped a lot.”
JUNEAU-DOUGLAS 7 15 22 12 — 56: Kriegmont 18, Gonzales 9, Yadao 9, McCormick 9, Samtani 7, Bryant 2, Nichols 2.
THUNDER MOUNTAIN 11 15 16 24 — 66: Carandang 20, P. Toutaiolepo 18, Echiverri 15, Jenkins 6, Hinckle 4, Yadao 3.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.