For a few tense moments in Friday’s Region V Class 4A boys championship game it looked like history might repeat itself.
Juneau-Douglas and Ketchikan were in the middle of their third-consecutive meeting on the second-to-last day of the tournament. The Crimson Bears rebounded from a first-round loss with three consecutive wins — one over Thunder Mountain and two against Ketchikan — in each of the past two years.
Ketchikan decided enough was enough — and after all but blowing a 16-point lead — escaped with a 66-60 victory to win the Region V championship.
“I guarantee you the Ketchikan kids know their history, they know what’s happened the last couple of years in this play-back game that we’ve had the opportunity to play in,” JDHS coach Robert Casperson said. “When it got tight like that I felt like we had some momentum and we the opportunity (to win).”
Philip Gonzales scored 21 points, Cooper Kriegmont scored 14 points, Krishant Samtani scored 12 points.
“Our coach always says when we lose that first game (in the tournament) we’re like an animal,” Kriegmont said. “(Our) back’s against the wall. We only have one way to go and that’s forward. I think we really banded together, we beat (Thunder Mountain), we just couldn’t pull it together tonight.”
Kristian Pihl led the Kings with 20 points, Chris Lee scored 15 points and Marcus Lee scored 11 points.
Pihl went on a 14-point tear in the second quarter that ballooned Ketchikan’s lead to 31-18. But the Crimson Bears closed the gap to 42-36 by half, and drew within 58-57 on Gonzales’ fadeaway 3-pointer with just under three minutes left. Gonzales had just saved the ball from going out of bounds.
JDHS missed several open looks at the basket after Marcus Lee bumped up the Kings’ lead to 60-57, and watched their comeback hopes fade at their opposition’s free-throw line.
Ketchikan shot 17 of 23 from the free-throw line, while JDHS just shot 3 of 9.
JDHS graduates seniors Gonzales, Samtani, Israel Yadao and Tristan Bryant.
“In the end I truly believe these guys got to the farthest point they could’ve,” Casperson said. “A couple more of those shots fall in that fourth quarter, that’s totally a different game.”
Metlakatla was crowned as the 2A champions later in the day. The Chiefs defeated Petersburg 64-63 for their fifth title in seven years.
JDHS 13 23 10 16 — 60: Gonzales 21, Kriegmont 14, Samtani 12, Yadao 4, McCormick 4, T. Bryant 4, G. Bryant 1.
KAYHI 19 23 12 12 — 66: Pihl 20, C. Lee 15, M. Lee 11, Taylor 6, Kemble 4, Smith 3, Barajas 3, Salazar 2.
Region V Basketball Tournament boys scores
Thunder Mountain 52, Juneau-Douglas 51
Haines 64, Craig 55
Ketchikan 55, Thunder Mountain 37
Petersburg 42, Wrangell 38
Juneau-Douglas 60, Thunder Mountain 55
Metlakatla 61, Haines 53
Wrangell 73, Craig 39
Mt. Edgecumbe 39, Sitka 36
Haines 69, Wrangell 35
Ketchikan 66, Juneau-Douglas 60 (4A championship)
Metlakatla 64, Petersburg 62 (2A championship)
Sitka 56, Mt. Edgecumbe 53
Haines vs. Petersburg (2A second-place)
Sitka vs. Mt. Edgecumbe (3A championship)
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.