Thunder Mountain High School boys endured their second straight loss at the hands of Colony at TMHS on Saturday, losing 51-35.
Thunder Mountain, who lost 46-27 on Friday, drop to 6-6 overall as they get ready for conference play against Juneau-Douglas High School in two weeks. Colony, the No. 1 team in Alaska, improved to 11-1 overall. The Knights defeated Juneau-Douglas 66-40 on Thursday.
“Colony is very well coached and [has] very good players, and I got a lot of respect for their system,” TMHS coach John Blasco said. “To me, it’s just a matter of you got to learn — you got to learn from these games and get better and hope that that’s a team you get to see later in the season.”
The Toutaiolepo brothers, senior Puna and sophomore Meki, combined for 15 points. Junior Bryson Echiverri had eight points.
The Knights were led by Jeremiah Hersrud with 13 points. Super sophomore Patrick McMahon tallied 12 points and junior Colton Spencer had 11 points.
“Jeremiah’s our floor general, he’s got a great basketball IQ,” Colony coach Tom Berg said. “He made some shots tonight — a lot of people don’t know he can make shots because he does such a great job of distributing.”
The Knights’ high-point man was someone new in all three of their Juneau wins — McMahon (20 points) on Thursday, Sullivan Menard on Friday (12 points) and Hersrud on Saturday. One thing that remained constant throughout was exceptional defense — the Knights held JDHS and TMHS to 40 or fewer points per game.
“Lots of coaches will tell you that defense is something that can show up every night, and this group’s bought into that,” Berg said. “If we can guard, we’re long, we’re athletic, we can limit paint touches, make you shoot over us, I think we have a great chance to win most nights.”
Spencer couldn’t miss for about a five minute stretch in the first half. The junior sharpshooter’s third trey gave him 11 points and his team a 22-11 lead with 5:45 left in the second.
“Colton’s been shooting the lights out all year for us,” Berg said. “He’s worked hard in the offseason to put himself in that position and our guys do a good job of finding him.”
The Knights held the momentum for the next two quarters and were up big —45-16 — to start the fourth.
But the Falcons saved the strongest quarter for last, outscoring the Knights 15-6, with reserves Meki Toutaiolepo, Oliver Mendoza and Hansel Hinckle playing a big part in the resurgence.
“They were playing hard defense, and they played unselfish offense,” Blasco said. “They found each other and moved the ball quickly and well, and Meki stepped up in that fourth quarter and made the most of his minutes.”
JDHS boys, TMHS girls fall
The Juneau-Douglas boys and Thunder Mountain girls also lost by wide margins on Saturday night.
The Crimson Bears fell 65-32 to Ketchikan while the Falcons lost 48-28 to Colony.
Sophomore Cooper Kriegmont led JDHS with 16 points and Philip Gonzales had seven points. Ketchikan had three players in double figures: junior Chris Lee (17 points), junior Kristian Pihl (11 points) and senior Jake Taylor (11 points).
Senior Nina Fenumiai scored 10 points in the other loss and junior Tzadi Hauck scored six points. Freshman Indiya Clarke recorded a team-high of 11 points for the Knights.
All four Juneau prep basketball teams are on the road this week. The JDHS boys take part in South Anchorage High School’s O’Brady’s Invitational Tournament; the JDHS girls play at Ketchikan; the TMHS boys and girls play at Wasilla, Bartlett and Barrow.
The JDHS boys and TMHS girls host conference series next week against Thunder Mountain and Ketchikan, respectively. The varsity games take place at 8 p.m. both nights at both gyms.
• Contact sports reporter Nolin Ainsworth at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Empire Sports on Twitter at @akempiresports.