Thunder Mountain's Siniva Maka shoots against Ketchikan's Courtney Kemble during their game Friday night at TMHS. Ketchikan won 53-37 on Friday, and 55-33 on Saturday.

Thunder Mountain's Siniva Maka shoots against Ketchikan's Courtney Kemble during their game Friday night at TMHS. Ketchikan won 53-37 on Friday, and 55-33 on Saturday.

Ketchikan bests Thunder Mountain

The Thunderdome was packed with friends and family for senior night Saturday, as the Thunder Mountain High School girls basketball team fell to Ketchikan High School in their final home game of the season.

The Falcons took much of their damage in the second period, as Ketchikan — looking to redeem a slow first half on Friday — took hold of the game early and didn’t let go, leading to a final score of 55-33 favoring the Kings.

Ketchikan once again ran the court hard and looked to hamper Thunder Mountain with their full-court press. The Falcons tried to break Kayhi’s press with open-court screens and deft passing. In a repeat of Friday night’s game, Kayhi’s junior shooter AJ Dela Cruz lit up the scoreboard for a 14-point second period to help her team cement its lead.

Ketchikan coach Kelly Smith summarized the differences in his team’s play between Friday and Saturday: “The ball went through the basket in the first half.”

On the hot shooting of guard Dela Cruz, coach Smith added, “She does it every day in practice. … When she has to do it, it opens every lane up. Against Mt. Edgecumbe last Friday, she had six three-pointers in the first half and since then she’s starting to get her confidence.”

Dela Cruz led all scorers with 16 points. Senior teammate Eliah Anderson scored 13, senior Courtney Kemble added 10 and senior Charley Edwardson put up nine.

Thunder Mountain was led by senior Ava Tompkins with 10, senior Maya Heyward with seven, senior Siniva “Nini” Maka with five and junior Alondra Echiverri with five.

Saturday marked the last time Thunder Mountain seniors Ava Tompkins, Siniva Maka, Maya Heyward and Harriet Martin will suit up in their home colors. It was an emotional night for all four graduating seniors.

“It doesn’t feel real,” Tompkins said, “it hasn’t really set in yet.”

Tompkins, who has been a leader for her team in scoring and attitude, had some advice for her younger teammates: “Enjoy it while they can because it goes by a lot faster than anyone will tell you.”

Harriet Martin wished to thank coach Nizich for turning her into a “real AK 907 baller,” while coach Nizich thanked Martin for her work ethic and contagious laugh.

Maya Hayward, who took up basketball her sophomore year, expressed her happiness to be a part of this team: “Basketball is confusing, but I’m starting to like it.”

Said coach Nizich of Hayward: “(She) makes you smile every day.”

Siniva Maka’s family and friends filled a whole quarter of the Thunderdome.

“It feels good; people care about me,” Maka said.

For her part, Nizich said she will miss Maka, who has been a “key asset to the team.”

The Falcons (4-14) play Mt. Edgecumbe at 7 p.m. Thursday in Sitka, followed by two games against Sitka High School at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.