Klukwan's Daniel Stickler (0) defends a shot by Hoonah's Lucas Johnson (21) during Friday's C Bracket elimination game. Klukwan won 78-65 and will play Juneau Filcom in Saturday's championship. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Klukwan advances to title game, eliminates Hoonah 78-65

Two team members elected to HOF before physical C Bracket court play.

  • By Klas Stolpe For the Juneau Empire
  • Saturday, March 25, 2023 8:49am
  • SportsBasketball

The Juneau Empire’s expanded coverage of the Juneau Lions Club 74th Gold Medal Basketball Tournament is made possible by Sealaska Corp. Thanks to this sponsorship, this article —and all of this year’s Gold Medal coverage — is available online without a subscription to the Empire.

Klukwan’s Andrew Friske and Jesse McGraw had a favorite memory of the Gold Medal Basketball Tournament — hearing the opposing crowd chant Hoonah and then defeating them for their first championship roughly 15 years ago.

“It is my ringtone,” Friske said in jest.

“Those were the battles back in the day,” McGraw said. “They were always fun and that was against mostly against Hoonah in B Bracket Championships.”

Klukwan’s Andrew Friske (44) shoots under pressure from Hoonah’s Lucas Johnson (21) and Donald Dybdahl (8) during Saturday’s C Bracket elimination Gold Medal Basketball game at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Klukwan’s Andrew Friske (44) shoots under pressure from Hoonah’s Lucas Johnson (21) and Donald Dybdahl (8) during Saturday’s C Bracket elimination Gold Medal Basketball game at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

This was no championship game Friday night but the overly partial crowd was chanting “Hoonah, Hoonah” and it echoed through the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé gymnasium, and prior to the game Friske and teammate Jesse McGraw were inducted into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame.

“It means a lot,” Friske said. “My whole life has revolved around basketball…”

The ball revolved in Klukwan’s favor in the first quarter as they held a slim 20-15 advantage behind tough defense from Daniel Stickler and an offense feeding Friske, McGraw and Brian Friske.

Hoonah’s DJ Lindstrom (4) and Braxton Booze (23) defend Klukwan’s Brian Friske (32) during Saturday’s C Bracket elimination game. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

Hoonah’s DJ Lindstrom (4) and Braxton Booze (23) defend Klukwan’s Brian Friske (32) during Saturday’s C Bracket elimination game. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

“I thought Stickler played awesome,” Klukwan’s Stuart Dewitt said. “He had great energy and defense and moved without the ball, which we all don’t seem to do.”

As to the Hoonah crowd chants Dewitt said, “We’ve seen it before. We kind of know what to expect. We pushed through the runs and we shot good free throws at the end, that helped too.”

Hoonah would relay on Anthony Lindoff, DJ Lindstrom and Braxton Booze who each tallied a pair of buckets in the stanza.

The refs were content to let the teams play and Hoonah used that leverage to take a 37-33 first half lead.

“I am used to getting hammered,” Klukwan’s Stickler said. “That is why I wear padding these days. I just played through it and tried to play hard defense. That’s my role.”

Klukwan’s Dewitt hit three shots from past the arch in the third stanza, Friske added another and Stickler found the basket three times to take control of the game 56-44 as Hoonah found just seven points in the quarter.

Hoonah's Anthony Lindoff (0) scores over Klukwan's Kent Larson (9) during Saturday's C Bracket elimination game. (Klas Stolpe/For the Juneau Empire)

The two teams played an even fourth quarter.

Dewitt, Strickler and Friske tallied shots past the arch for Klukwan and Kent Larson found a score inside. The team hit nine free throws in the stanza.

Lindstrom notched two deep shots for Hoonah and Booze, Lindoff, Lucas Johnson and Jon Torres each found the hoop.

Dewitt and Stickler led Klukwan with 17 points apiece, Andrew Friske added 15, Brian Friske 14, McGraw nine, Larson four and Paul Carrington two.

Klukwan hit 21-27 at the free throw line, Hoonah 5-12.

Lindoff led Hoonah with 17 points, Booze added 14, Lindstrom 13, Torres 10, Devin Moritz five, Johnson four, and Donald Dybdahl and Jeremy Martin one apiece.

Klukwan will play Juneau’s Filcom at 6 p.m. Saturday for the C Bracket Championship of the 74th Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.

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