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There were too many heroes in Hydaburg’s 94-89 Friday night double-overtime elimination game win over Angoon at the 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium.
Let’s just start with 0.3 seconds remaining in the first overtime and Hydaburg trailing by two points, 79-77, and Hydaburg’s – and half the countries – star guard Vinny Edenshaw on the line with two free throws.
Edenshaw would miss the first… and have to miss the second.
“I usually never miss free throws,” Edenshaw said. “I don’t know what was going on… I think the crowd was getting to me, because I was talking to the crowd the whole game, I think it was that…”
There would only be time to tip the ball in if missed and Hydaburg’s George Peratrovich kept Hydaburg’s title chase alive among a gaggle of players, tying the score at 79-79 for a second overtime.
“Oh man that was crazy,” Peratrovich said. “I never imagined that with Vinny on the line. After he missed the first one I was like, ‘if you get the right bounce I’m going to get it and I’m going to put it up.’ Man, that was crazy man. It was a good game. We put up a heck of a battle… hopefully we can get it done tomorrow.”
In the second OT Hydaburg’s Peratrovich had a free throw to start but Angoon’s JJ Nixon and Aquino Brinson scored for an 83-80 lead.
Darren Edenshaw brought Hydaburg to 83-82 and after one free throw from Angoon’s Duncan O’Brien, Hydaburg’s Jaren Carle hit past the arch for an 85-84 lead that would never be surrendered.
Vinny Edenshaw would go 5-6 at the charity stripe in the final two minutes and Carle 2-2, and Claude Young put their 94th point in the hoop. Angoon would get a bucket in the middle of that action on a drive by Brinson and a final shot at the buzzer by Nixon drew Angoon to their 89th point.
Angoon’s Kendrick Payton would foul out of the game in the first overtime after putting his team up multiple times by scores of 69-68, 73-72 and 79-74.
“That was a great game,” Payton said. “Both teams battled hard, two overtimes, couldn’t ask any more from the guys, they just gave it their all.”
Each time Hydaburg would answer and Vinny Edenshaw drew Payton’s sixth foul but only converted one free throw.
Hydaburg’s Carle would steal the inbounds pass and make two free throws to cut the deficit to 79-77 and set the stage for the Peratrovich tip in.
Angoon led in the fourth quarter 66-58 on a basket by Anthony Snow with little time left but Hydaburg’s Carle buried a shot past the arch and V. Edenshaw scored a layup and then stole the ball and fed D. Edenshaw to tie the game and force the first overtime.
At the end of the third quarter Hydaburg led 50-45 but Angoon’s Payton scored inside, Brinson hit from past the arch to tie the game and Nixon hit farther out for a 53-50 end.
“Tough game,” Brinson said. “It was just a fun tournament to play in, competitive, that’s how basketball is.”
At the end of the second quarter Hydaburg trailed 35-33 but Peratrovich hit a free throw and TJ Young stole a ball and hit an underhand running shot by the side of the back board for a 36-35 lead at the buzzer.
At the end of the first quarter Hydaburg’s Vinny Edenshaw put the ball between his legs multiple times and Angoon’s Brinson was broken down and could only sit and watch a three-point shot go in.
Brinson would answer with a basket and a free throw and Hydaburg’s Vinny Edenshaw hit another free throw for a 21-19 lead after 10 minutes of action.
Those were just the endings of the stanzas. In between was a classic Gold Medal basketball game. With 23 lead changes, nine ties and no lead greater than 7 points, until Hydaburg’s final basket of the game changed the score clock to 94-86 and Angoon’s final basket cut it back to 94-89.
“You know, there were times in the game where I thought it was over,” Vinny Edenshaw said. “But we are a fighting team, we fight back. We are a second half team. I have always known we are a second half team. We never give up… If we are down 20, that is only 10 buckets. That is what I tell my team. We get stops, that is only 10 buckets.”
Vinny Edenshaw would lead Hydaburg with a game-high 40 points, Carle added 20 points, Darren Edenshaw 18, Peratrovich eight, Claude Young four, and Trev Olson and TJ Young two apiece.
“Oh man what a fight,” Hydaburg coach Al Nix said. “This is great for the fans, great for the community, great for everybody… they wanted to see a good game and both teams brought it… hats off to Angoon, it could have gone either way, they are as deserving as we are.”
Hydaburg hit 21-32 at the free throw line, Angoon 14-30.
Brinson led Angoon with 30 points, Payton added 22, Nixon 20, O’Brien and Snow six apiece, Michael Croasmun three and Julian Duncan two.
“It should have been the championship game,” Angoon coach Brenda Jack said. “I feel really bad, but they did really good. They are an awesome bunch of guys. They hustle, they play right to the end. They didn’t give up half way through, they played all the way, used all the time and did what they could. And I’m proud of them. We represented our village well.”
Hydaburg will face Juneau in Saturday’s 8 p.m. B Bracket Gold Medal championship game.
And earlier in the day Angoon’s Matt Carle was entered into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame along with two other heroes: Klukwan’s Jesse McGraw and Andrew Friske. But that is a story for another day.