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.
It was a coin toss kind of game between Metlakatla and Hoonah Sunday afternoon in the second B Bracket game of the 74th Juneau Lions Club Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.
Each quarter of the game seemed to finish tight and tighter as Metlakatla pushed to keep its lead starting early on in the first quarter and in the end, proved fruitful as it managed to best Hoonah 75-70.
Hoonah’s Malakai Nichols played a major role in the team’s ability to keep the gap slim, scoring 22 points, followed by Joseph Cornell with 14 points.
Metlakatla’s Willie Hayward led the team scoring 18 points almost all during the first and second quarters. He was followed closely by Archie Dundas with 15 points and Coelton Hayward with 14.
Anthony Lindoff, Hoonah’s coach, said despite the close loss, he thinks the game allowed the team to gauge how they need to perform moving forward and allowed them to shake off some rust after a few years apart.
“We were on the short end of the stick for sure, but it’s not like we don’t have anything good to write home about,” he said. “I think it just gives our guys confidence that they can play with anybody and that’s what we need.”
Joe Tompkins, Metlakatla’s coach, agreed and said it was a nerve-wracking game as both teams brought tough competition that only got tougher as the game went on.
“It was a good game — they always come to play,” he said.
He said moving forward in the winning bracket is exciting but is going to prove tough as they face Juneau in their next game. He said the team’s “going to need a game plan” if they want to come out on top.
• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (651)-528-1807. Follow her on Twitter at @clariselarson.