Falcons Boys Fall Again on Ketchikan Court

    Thunder Mountain High School senior Wallace Adams (12) shoots a two-point basket against Ketchikan High School on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2022 at Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - Thunder Mountain sophomore Thomas Baxter controlled the opening tip in Saturday’s road game at Ketchikan and classmate Sam Lockhart buried a deep shot for the first points in the first quarter and the Falcons looked to be on a path to their first Southeast Conference win after a 22-19 halftime lead, but the Kings flipped the switch in the second half for a 60-46 win, the second in two days over Thunder Mountain.

      “Kayhi is definitely a very strong team,” Thunder Mountain coach John Blasco said. The Falcons also lost to the Kings 50-43 on Friday. “We knew that coming in this weekend with all the returners that they had. They had a lot of offensive weapons. They played a really tough defense that is hard to emulate in practice.”

      Baxter would hit two shots from past the arch in the first quarter, senior Wallace Adams scored inside, and sophomore Lance Nierra and junior MJ Tupou got through the lane for a 15-11 Falcons lead after eight minutes of action.

    Baxter then hit the first bucket of the second quarter, followed that with a steal and a free-throw, Adams stole a pass and Tupou gave the Falcons a 20-11 lead.

      Ketchikan juniors Clayton Olstad and Archie Dundas and senior Zach Hanchey scored in succession to keep pace but Thunder Mountain’s Nierra put the Falcons on top 22-17.

      Ketchikan junior JJ Parker hit two free-throws to end the first half but the Kings trailed 22-19 and the Thunder Mountain defense kept the Kings from hitting a shot from past the arch for the first time all season.

    That drought would change in the second half as Parker led Ketchikan on a 13-0 run to open the third quarter started by a 3-point shot by Olstad and another one closer, and were soon ahead 32-22.

      “I even said that to assistant coach Seymour that we didn’t give up a three in the first half and I bet they would come out and hit one to start, and they did,” Blasco said. “Parker is a really strong guard. His control and creativity with the ball allows him to get separation for his jumper as well and defensively he gives you no breathing room.”

      The Kings would lose Olstad for the game with a cut-injury above his eye when he was fouled, but freshman Marcus Stockhausen came off the bench for Ketchikan to hit the free-throws. Parker and Stockhausen would steal the next two possessions for the Kings as well.

    “The third quarter was a little rough,” Blasco said. “We kept the game at a pace we like in the first half. I was really pleased with our defense and our intensity. Then going into the second half we just expended a lot of energy and they had game plan that attacked strong and you can see everything fall apart in that third quarter.”

      Lockhart, Tupou and Baxter tried to keep pace, pulling Thunder Mountain to 34-29 on consecutive baskets but Ketchikan went on a 5-0 run for a 39-29 advantage with a minute remaining in the stanza topped with a Parker steal and a feed to Stockhausen.

      Parker grabbed his sixth offensive rebound for the Kings to earn a last second shot for Ketchikan and senior Josh Rhoads hit a shot at the arch on a dime by Parker for a 42-29 lead as the Kings outscored Thunder Mountain 23-7 in the stanza.

      Baxter scored the opening basket of the fourth quarter for Thunder Mountain and Lockhart buried a deep shot from an Adams rebound and pass, but Ketchikan would maintain a 13-point advantage through most of the final eight minutes of action, at one point leading 58-40 with 1:30 remaining to play.

      Baxter and Adams kept the Thunder Mountain in the action down the stretch, closing the gap to 58-44.

      Ketchikan’s Stockhausen, who played the second half for the injured Olstad, put the final two points on the board for the Kings with a pair of free-throws and Baxter followed with his final bucket of the game for Thunder Mountain in defeat.

      “They got their energy level up in the second half and we got ourselves into a hole there was no digging out of,” Blasco said. “I am pleased with how we battled. Wallace (Adams) got some good opportunities as Ketchikan adjusted to Sam (Lockhart) and Thomas (Baxter). There is so much focus on those two that other guys have to contribute when opportunities present themselves within the game. I thought Lance (Nierra) had some nice drives tonight too.”

      Baxter led the Falcons with 18 points (4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal), Lockhart added 11 (2 rb, 1 ast), Adams eight (5 rb, 1 ast, 4 stl), Tupou five (2 rb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Nierra four (5 ast, 1 stl).

      Thunder Mountain hit 3-6 from the charity stripe, Ketchikan 9-14. The Falcons had just six turnovers in the first half, nine in the second.

      “They disrupt our guards and how we get into sets,” Blasco said. “Which is something we have got to work on. But also we had four turnovers just on inbounds passes. It’s a matter of mental focus and execution. We’ve got to clean up our game for sure because Kayhi is a team that will pressure and once they get that turnover they will capitalize.”

      Dundas led the Kings with 14 points (2 rb, 4 ast), Stockhausen 11 (2 rb, 4 ast, 2 stl), Parker 10 (9 rb, 8 ast. 3 stl), Josh Rhoads nine (3 rb, 2 stl), Olstad seven (4 rb, 2 stl), Hanchey four (2 rb, 1 ast, 2 stl), Jared Rhoads three (1 rb), Bubba Williams two.

    Thunder Mountain is 1-4 overall, 0-2 in conference; Ketchikan is 6-3 overall, 2-0 in conference.

      “It is a whole different level of intensity playing conference games,” Blasco said. “Now we are going to hit the road again and play four games up north. Hopefully the things we did here we can improve upon.”

      The Falcons play at Service on Wednesday and are in a Palmer tournament Thursday-Saturday with Palmer, West Valley and Nome. The following week they play at Barrow.

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