The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team battled the state’s No. 1 ranked team Friday, falling to the Ketchikan Kings but proving they could compete with Alaska’s best.
The TMHS Falcons lost to the Kayhi Kings 65-76 in a high-scoring game of well-executed basketball.
Both teams stuck to their game plans despite momentum swings for each side. Ketchikan ran the fast break for easy buckets and used their size advantage to defend the glass, limiting the Falcon’s shot attempts. TMHS looked to swing the ball around the perimeter, forcing a bigger Kayhi team to defend out of its comfort zone.
TMHS junior Noah Reishus-O’Brien found his shot fake worked to draw a tall Kings team out of position.
“They’re big, they’re expecting to block shots,” Reishus-O’Brien said, “so I’d drive by and hopefully put up a good jumper.”
Reishus-O’Brien had 15 in the game. Junior teammate Chase Saviers led TMHS with 17, senior Shane Mielke had 12 and junior Riley Olsen added 10.
Ketchikan senior Jason James led his team with 24 points. Seniors Nathan Bonck scored 15, Mo Bullock had 12 and Isaac Johnson added 11.
Kayhi coach Eric Stockhausen was impressed with the level of play at Thunder Mountain.
“I give coach Blasco and the Falcons a ton of credit. … they had a plan, they worked it, the kids played with a ton of energy. … As coaches, we’ll always look for what kids need to improve, but I think both teams played very hard. It was a typical Southeast Conference game, and we we’re fortunate to come out with the win,” he said.
Ketchikan started the game hot, putting up 25 points in the first quarter by finding easy buckets in the transition game. Thunder Mountain went into the second quarter down 12-25, but found their offense and kept it clicking throughout the last three quarters.
The Falcons played well enough on the perimeter in the second quarter to stop the bleeding. TMHS drove inside and kicked the ball out to open shooters, or shot faked their way inside for open jumpers. By the end of the third, TMHS was within spitting distance of their opponents, down 52-62.
Thunder Mountain went on a run at the start of the final period as Saviers picked off his man in the backcourt and scored an easy layup. After another turnover, Mielke hit a three-pointer to put the Falcons within six with 4:30 to go. Kayhi slowed the game down in the last few minutes, forcing TMHS to foul and stop the clock. Kayhi hit their free-throws and finished the game on top by a score of 65-76.
Not counting the first quarter, the Falcons outscored Ketchikan 53-51.