Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Klukwan brings home third Gold Medal win


March 29, 2018

Tony Tompkins passes around Tyler Swinton of Haines. Michael Penn photo.

Klukwan brought home its third consecutive championship title from the Lions Club 72 Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament in Juneau.

The "B" bracket Haines men's team took first for the second year in a row and the Haines women's team finished second.

Klukwan faced off against Angoon during the championship game, a team they narrowly lost to, by one point, midway through the tournament.

Klukwan maintained a small lead through the bulk of the championship game. They were up 37-33 at halftime. At the end of the third quarter, an Angoon player hit a half-court shot. Angoon carried that momentum into the fourth quarter and continued to score, said Klukwan's Jason Shull.

"All the sudden it was a single possession game for most of the fourth quarter," Shull said. "They took the lead with four or five minutes to go and held it for several minutes. They just were scrappy the whole game and kept it close."

With the score tied and a minute left on the clock, Shull hit a three pointer. Angoon players started fouling and Klukwan converted free throws to secure a four-point lead and the 74-70 win.

Shull was named the tournament MVP and inducted into the Gold Medal Hall of Fame. He said he couldn't have earned that title without his team, who he's played with for 18 years. He cited his team's ability to deliver a balanced attack as their key to success.

"I think that was the key, as it always is, when we play. We all take turns giving it to the other team and they can't make adjustments fast enough," Shull said. "We have so many players capable of having big games and we're all unselfish enough to let that happen. That's the secret to our success."

Shull, who traveled from Washington to compete, scored 18 points and Michael Ganey scored 16 points.

The Haines men's team also won the championship for the second year in a row. Haines played Klukwan in the "B" bracket and held a solid lead the majority of the game. At the half, Haines led 48-27 and scored 31 points in the second quarter, sinking shot after shot.

Klukwan fought back hard in the third quarter, with a 31-1 run cutting Haines' lead to single digits. Haines kept calm and kept the lead, despite a Klukwan full-court press. Haines emerged on top with an 83-66 win. Kyle Rush led Haines with 21 points. Kyle Fossman scored 15. Rush was named the B bracket tournament MVP.

Steve Fossman headed to Juneau to watch the tournament along with many players he's coached over the years. "I coached six of them in high school," Fossman said. "One thing they do is they play really tough defense. They work as a team together. They're pretty well-rounded basketball players. That's what makes them tough to beat. It's nice to see them in good shape and able to get up and down the court well."

Klukwan's Austin Shoemaker scored 17 points; Kaleb Thompkins and Jacob Hotch both scored 12 points in the final game.

The Haines women's team played Yakutat in the final round. The score was tied twice and the lead changed hands three times in first half. A Yakutat score in the final seconds of the second quarter gave the team a two-point lead going into the third quarter.

Yakutat took control in the third, scoring 19 points to Haines' 8 points. Yakutat drilled several three pointers and converted free throws to take the lead 60-47 with three minutes left on the clock during the fourth quarter. Yakutat secured a 65-53 victory over Haines.

Alisa Beske and Fran Daly made the all-tournament team. Daly scored 23 points.

Haines' Krista Kielsmeier said their team's ability to outrun opposing teams gave them the edge in past Gold Medal championships. A combination of injuries and other commitments shrunk their roster this year, she said.

Haines earned a second-place finish by defeating Kake and Hoonah before falling to Yakutat.


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