Hoonah’s offense and defense were working in conjunction with one another on Wednesday night.
That wasn’t a good thing for Angoon.
The 2017 Masters champions overwhelmed their neighbors to the south in their second game of the tournament, cruising to a 75-44 win to stay alive in the Masters Bracket. Hoonah takes on Yakutat on Thursday morning, needing three more wins to add another title. Kake and Klukwan are also still going strong in Masters.
Marti Fred and Ken Willard Jr. scored 14 points apiece. For Angoon, Jeff Duncan and Andy Lee each scored 10 points. It was a difficult tournament exit for Angoon, who lost by a similar margin to Kake on Monday.
“Every team in Gold Medal is tough, but I think we got the toughest draw really —open up with the defending champs and then the runner-up,” Angoon guard Paul Johnson said. “Great teams — but you saw the game — we got to get back on defense, and the best defense is making shots, and we didn’t make a whole lot of shots either game (in the) first half.”
Hoonah raced out to a 23-10 lead in the first quarter.
Near the end of the quarter Kamal Lindoff instinctively started running up the court as his teammate stole the ball. There were no Angoon players in his vicinity when he caught the ball and laid the ball in.
Angoon’s deficit swelled to 48-16 at halftime as they managed just six points in the second. Johnson said it was tough to lose a few of his players to other teams, something that regularly happens in the tournament.
“One of our main players is playing with Hoonah, another one is playing with Yakutat,” he said. “You kind of find that with some of the teams there’s a lot of connections in the community.”
Angoon sends Kake to loss
The Gold Medal crowd on Wednesday night didn’t care much for Hydaburg, and they didn’t shy away from expressing their feelings.
The fans — who were there to watch Hydaburg and Kake square off in the B Bracket — were especially antagonistic toward Hydaburg forward Damen Bell-Holter. But no amout of jeering could knock the 28-year-old Haida man off his game on Wednesday. Bell-Holter had 35 points to lead Hydaburg past Kake 86-78.
“Run and gun, that’s the way we always play,” Devin Edenshaw said. “Make sure we feed off the big guy (Bell-Holter) because (by) getting him the ball we’ll get open shots.”
Vinny and Devin Edenshaw combined for all but eight of the rest of the points by Hydaburg, who plays Haines on Thursday.
Tracy Jackson of Kake had 24 points and four 3-pointers.
After leading 42-36 at half, Hydaburg started to pull away in the third quarter. During a 9-0 run to close the period, Bell-Holter threw down a nasty alley-oop from Vinny Edenshaw while also drawing the foul. He would go on to score 10 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the win.
Hoonah eliminates Angoon in women’s bracket
Hoonah’s Zhane White has heard about playing in the Gold Medal Tournament for years.
As a 20-year-old first-year player for her hometown, White now understands why her family and community talk so much about it.
“It is super fun,” she said. “From what everybody has told me, I’m just like, ‘OK, now I get what all the hype is all about.’”
The fun will last at least another day for White, who scored 12 points lift Hoonah over Angoon 58-45 in the women’s bracket. White’s older sister, Taryn, wasn’t able to make the tournament this year due to work, and they clearly missed their former tournament MVP in their 80-42 loss on Tuesday to Skagway.
Now, it’s about building on the momentum of Wednesday’s win to overthrow Haines on Thursday.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.