Thunder Mountain High School seniors for the boys’ basketball team, their families and other supporters fill the Thunderdome for a Senior Night recognition before Friday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. It was possibly the final home game for the Falcons team due to a pending decision to put all high school students at JDHS starting with the next school year. The Falcons girls’ team will play their final home games of the season — and possibly ever — next Friday and Saturday against North Pole High School. (Screenshot from NFHS Network)

Thunder Mountain High School seniors for the boys’ basketball team, their families and other supporters fill the Thunderdome for a Senior Night recognition before Friday’s game against Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. It was possibly the final home game for the Falcons team due to a pending decision to put all high school students at JDHS starting with the next school year. The Falcons girls’ team will play their final home games of the season — and possibly ever — next Friday and Saturday against North Pole High School. (Screenshot from NFHS Network)

TMHS boys prevail in possibly their final home game ever against JDHS, with merger of schools pending

Girls play final home games next weekend; both local schools play each other again tonight at JDHS.

In what may have been the Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team’s final game on their home court on Friday night, the Falcons rallied to beat Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé only hours after a decision was made that may merge all students into JDHS starting next school year.

TMHS won 83-73 on what was the Falcons’ Senior Night, but the mood in the packed Thunderdome was heightened by the belief that — while the consolidation isn’t yet official — it was indeed the final boys’ game at the school, said TMHS Head Coach John Blasco.

“It’s a huge change for the kids that aren’t graduating,” he said. “It’s kind of an emotional thing for the seniors that are graduating. Senior night is already kind of an emotional event celebration. And then you had that 15 years of our programs coming to an end is a big deal. And I’m very proud of the guys. They embraced it and they they made the most of the moment. I think we’ve truly had a special night in front of all of our family and friends.”

It wasn’t the final basketball game to be played at TMHS if the consolidation occurs. The girls’ team, which defeated JDHS 49-35 on Friday, is scheduled to play North Pole High School next Friday and Saturday, with the latter game being that team’s Senior Night.

Both TMHS teams are scheduled to play the Crimson Bears at JDHS this Saturday, with the girls tipoff at 5:45 p.m. and the boys at 7:15 p.m. A social media notice sent out by JDHS states admission will be free — as it was during Friday’s games in recognition of the significance of the occasion.

“Even though our emotions are still raw, it would be monumental for our students to see positive support from their community,” the notice states. “Please refrain from any negative cheers or signs during these games. We want to do our best to support the Juneau community and the students as a whole.”

Blasco said in recognition of the potential home finale for the team “we started five seniors that hadn’t had a chance to start all season, which was a special moment for them.”

Beyond that the game got off to a rough start for the Falcons as they trailed 20-9 after the first quarter. But they rallied to tie the score at halftime before taking control during the second half.

“Thankfully we were hitting a lot of shots and being really aggressive, and able to build a lead going down the stretch,” he said.

Blasco said he plans to treat Saturday’s game at JDHS like a normal regular season game since it is important for seedings going into the regional tournament, which will be played at Mt. Edgecumbe High School in Sitka. TMHS, JDHS and Ketchikan High School all had .500 records entering the weekend, so a victory by the Falcons on Saturday would assure them of the top seed.

Plans for the TMHS girls’ home finale next weekend are still in the works, given that the consolidation decision occurred less than a day before Friday’s games took place, said Head Coach Andy Lee. The Juneau Board of Education, shortly after midnight on Friday, voted to conceptually consolidate students in grades 9-12 at JDHS, and put students in grade 7-8 and HomeBRIDGE at TMHS, but the budget approving that plan still needs final approval from the board, Juneau Assembly and state education officials.

“We haven’t had a chance to get our footing in terms of transition in terms of wrapping up — or giving up even,” he said. “There are people that haven’t given up.”

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

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