Thomas Baxter scores on a breakaway dunk for Thunder Mountain High School during Saturday’s game against Sitka High School at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Thomas Baxter scores on a breakaway dunk for Thunder Mountain High School during Saturday’s game against Sitka High School at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

TMHS boys’ basketball scores pair of double-digit wins over Sitka

Falcons go on 18-0 run in third quarter to break open tie game during Saturday’s rematch.

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team, after coasting to a 64-47 win over Sitka High School on Friday night, found itself deadlocked 37-37 midway through the third quarter during a rematch Saturday night at TMHS. But the Falcons then went on an 18-0 run and held off Sitka’s late attempts at a rally en route to a 61-49 final score.

After Sitka narrowed the lead to 55-43 with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter Saturday, the Falcons’ Samuel Lockhart, a 5’10” senior guard, hit a 3-point shot, stole Sitka’s inbound pass and hit a second 3-point shot seconds later to extend the margin back to 18. Lockhart led TMHS scorers in the game with 20 points, including four 3-pointers.

“He’s a solid shooter for us and what I like about his game right now is he’s playing a lot on the defense, and getting a lot of deflections and getting a lot of defensive rebounds,” TMHS Head Coach John Blasco said after Saturday’s game. “I mean he’s just kind of all over the floor.

Senior forward James Polasky and senior guard Thomas Baxter also scored in double figures for the Falcons with 13 points each.

Playing an effective full-court pressure defense after a timeout when the score was tied in the third quarter is what led to the scoring run that lasted well into the fourth quarter, Blasco said.

“They all committed to picking up full together and they applied a lot of pressure,” he said. “And we were able to force some turnovers, we got some great steals at about mid-court which got us some layups and guys were able to finish, which was exciting. We started knocking down some threes off of some turnovers. They were able to capitalize on quite a bit of defense in the full-court pressure.”

However, up until that point Sitka played far tougher than on Friday, when TMHS took an early lead and extended it steadily throughout the game. On Saturday the Falcons occasionally took leads of a half-dozen points or so, only to see the Wolves close the gap repeatedly.

Much of that was due to Sitka’s Trey Johnson, a sophomore center who led all scorers Saturday with 31 points.

“They kept getting deep post-ups for him and he was able to finish at the rim,” Blasco said.

Also making a difference was Sitka had more of a chance to rest compared to Friday when they had to travel to Juneau.

“Their game plan today was much more downhill on us and I just don’t think we were ready for it,” Blasco said. “We probably had nine turnovers in the first half, which is on us to clean up our game. I knew they were going to come ready to play today. Yesterday was a travel day — while it’s only a 28-minute flight from Sitka they still have to get up at 4 a.m. to get to the airport — so we knew that today it’d be tougher.”

Polasky led all scorers in Friday’s game with 26 points, while Trey Demmert led Sitka with 14 points.

The Falcons, 6-3 this season, next play at Chugiak High School on Wednesday and then in the Wolverine Classic Tournament at South Anchorage High School starting Thursday.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Thunder Mountain High School’s James Polasky goes up for a shot against Sitka High School during Saturday’s game at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School’s James Polasky goes up for a shot against Sitka High School during Saturday’s game at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

T.J. Guevarra takes the ball into the lane for Thunder Mountain High School during Saturday’s game against Sitka high School at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

T.J. Guevarra takes the ball into the lane for Thunder Mountain High School during Saturday’s game against Sitka high School at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School’s Lance Nierra gets hit with a charging foul during Saturday’s game against Sitka High School at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School’s Lance Nierra gets hit with a charging foul during Saturday’s game against Sitka High School at TMHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sitka High School’s Jayden Costello goes up for a shot under the basket during Saturday’s game at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sitka High School’s Jayden Costello goes up for a shot under the basket during Saturday’s game at Thunder Mountain High School. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

More in Sports

The author’s wife fights a steelhead while the author contemplates fly selection. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: The fear of missing fish

Student: “You know, FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out” Me: “I know… Continue reading

Astrophysicists Lindsay Glesener, left, and Sabrina Savage enjoy the sunshine on an observation deck at the Neil Davis Science Center on a hilltop at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Waiting for the sun at Poker Flat

POKER FLAT RESEARCH RANGE — Under a bluebird sky and perched above… Continue reading

Maddy Fortunato, a Chickaloon middle school student, sets to attempt the one-hand reach by touching a suspended ball while remaining balanced on the other hand during the Traditional Games on Sunday at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Striving for the perfect balance of competition, camaraderie at seventh annual Traditional Games

More than 250 participants pursue personal goals while helping others during Indigenous events.

Purple mountain saxifrage blooms on cliffs along Perseverance Trail in early April. (Photo by Pam Bergeson)
On the Trails: Flowers and their visitors

Flowers influence their visitors in several ways. Visitors may be attracted by… Continue reading

Elias Lowell, 15, balances his way to the end of the pond during the annual Slush Cup at Eaglecrest Ski Area on Sunday, the last day of what officials called and up-and-down season. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Up-and-down season at Eaglecrest ends on splashy note with Slush Cup

Ski area’s annual beach party features ice-filled water, snowy shores and showboating skimmers.

Aren Gunderson of the UA Museum of the North inspects the back paw of a Siberian tiger donated recently by officials of the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage after the tiger died at age 19. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Siberian tiger takes final rest at museum

It’s a safe bet that Aren Gunderson’s Toyota Tundra is the only… Continue reading

A rainbow connects with Kajson Cunningham (30) as he connects with the ball for Thunder Mountain High School during Tuesday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé at JDHS, the opening match of the season for both teams. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
High school soccer season starts with a spectrum of goals and milestones

JDHS boys begin state title defense with 4-0 victory over TMHS, which is playing its final season.

Donovan Jackson, 12, of Juneau competes in the one-foot high kick during the 2022 Traditional Games on April 2, 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire file photo)
Record number of participants expected for seventh annual Traditional Games

Teams from Alaska, Canada and Lower 48 to compete in 12 Indigenous skills events starting Friday.

Alwen Carrillo, a senior at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé, signs a letter of intent on Monday to play college basketball at Edmond College in Lynnwood, Washington. (Photo courtesy of Annie Lazo-Chappell)
Alwen Carrillo signs letter of intent to play basketball for Edmond College

All-state JDHS guard averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 assists during senior season.

Most Read