Thunder Mountain looks for first McKinley Bank title

Falcons boys only prep team in action

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team embarked on its second four-game roadtrip in as many weeks on Wednesday.

After a 2-2 showing at the Franklin High School Tournament of Champions in Seattle last week, the Falcons are off to Fairbanks and the 2019 Mt. McKinley Bank Holiday Classic.

It will be coach John Blasco’s third time bringing a team to the tournament, which kicks off with two boys and two girls contests at Monroe Catholic High School today, including Thunder Mountain versus Monroe Catholic at 8 p.m.

TMHS squared off against West Valley in non-tournament action Wednesday night.

“Monroe and Coach (Frank) Ostanik put on a great tournament,” Blasco said by cellphone. “They’re bringing very good competition and it’s a real fun environment because it’s a real small gym.”

This year the competition includes Monroe Catholic, Thunder Mountain, Colony and Lathrop for the boys, and Monroe Catholic, Valdez, Colony and Lathrop for the girls.

Seattle tourney

Blasco called the four games in Seattle a great experience, even if things got off to a rocky start in the form of a 69-30 loss to Stanwood High School (Tacoma, Washington).

The Falcons were awarded the Randall Morris Sportsmanship Award out of 16 teams, and are much more attuned to how quickly a game can change — for better or worse.

After their setback against Stanwood, Thunder Mountain was on track for another double-digit loss to Cleveland High School (Seattle). However, “in about a four-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, we got the game to seven,” Blasco said. “You just realize how fast runs can happen in a game.”

Thunder Mountain went on to defeat New Port (Bellevue, Washington) and Summit Sierra (Seattle) to close out the tournament. All games were played at Franklin High School, a historic school near the downtown region.

Coming up soon

The TMHS boys and girls and JDHS boys all play home series next weekend. The TMHS girls and boys take on Colony at 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. The JDHS boys will face Ketchikan at 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

The Juneau-Douglas girls return to action for the 2019 Ice Jam Tournament in Fairbanks starting next Thursday.


• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or nainsworth@juneauempire.com. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.


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