1A boys: Klawock's size helps it to state title

Jeremy Peters
Hooper Bay fans celebrate as their boys score at the free throw line against Metlakatla as time winds down during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay players celebrate a win in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay fans celebrate as their boys score at the free throw line against Metlakatla as time winds down during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay fans celebrate as their boys score at the free throw line against Metlakatla as time winds down during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay fans celebrate as their boys score at the free throw line against Metlakatla as time winds down during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay players celebrate as time winds down during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Frances Smith and Max Green of Hooper Bay begin celebrating as time winds down in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay players celebrate a win in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay fans celebrate as their boys hold championship hardware following the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay players take turns cutting the net following their win in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Kacy Green and Hooper Bay players take turns cutting the net following their win in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Kacy Green and Hooper Bay players take turns cutting the net following their win in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
An emotional James Nash celebrates a state title with his Hooper Bay teammates following the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Harold Hoelscher of Hooper Bay drives to the basket but is prevented from scoring by Metlakatla defender Tristan Winter during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay fans celebrate as their boys score at the free throw line against Metlakatla as time winds down during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Hooper Bay players huddle as Metlakatla receives free throws after Hooper Bay received a technical foul for wearing yellow instead of white uniforms as the home team in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Dominique Harrell of Metlakatla puts up a shot between Hooper Bay defenders Kacy Green, left, and Harold Hoelscher during first-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Tristan Winter of Metlakatla drives to the hoop against Hooper Bay during first-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Morgan Lake of Hooper Bay grabs the ball but is then tied up by Tristan Winter, left, and Dominique Harrell of Metlakatla during first-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. The ball was awarded to Metlakatla.
Erik Hill
Tristan Alexander of Metlakatla, center, is surrounded as he battles for a rebound with Hooper Bay defenders under the Metlakatla basket during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Harold Hoelscher of Hooper Bay drives to the basket but is prevented from scoring by Metlakatla defender Tristan Winter during second-half action in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Coach Albert Green gets soaked following a win by Hooper Bay in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Player of the year for 2A Kacy Green is embraced by teammates following a 51-28 win over Metlakatla in the 2A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Katie Dinon of Craig is defended by Bryn Tennyson during second-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Head coach D.J. Hansen, left, assistant coach Ellen Hannan and substitute Effie Chen endure a tense final minute as Craig hangs on for a 31-29 win in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. Chen, a foreign exchange student from China who had never played organized sports before this year, is now an Alaska state champion.
Erik Hill
Katie Dinon and her Craig teammates begin to celebrate their 31-29 win over Dillingham in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Raven Krolikowski and her Craig teammates celebrate a 31-29 win over Dillingham in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Craig players celebrate their 31-29 win over Dillingham in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Drew Carlos of Dillingham launches a jumper against Craig in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Raven Krolikowski of Craig, center, reaches for a ball the eludes Leilani Tennyson of Dillingham during second-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Head coach D.J. Hansen, left, assistant coach Ellen Hannan and substitute Effie Chen endure tense final minutes as Craig hangs on for a 31-29 win in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. Chen, a foreign exchange student from China who had never played organized sports before this year, is now an Alaska state champion.
Erik Hill
The Craig girls receive support from Craig boys in a 31-29 win over Dillingham in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Sydney Dray of Dillingham heads up court with a steal during second-half action against Craig in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Dillingham fans cheer as their team rallies during second-half action against Craig in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Kayla Hamme of Craig takes aim, left, as Sydney Dray of Dillingham defends during first-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Drew Carlos, top, of Dillingham and Marie Yates of Craig tie up the ball during first-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Raven Krolikowski of Craig puts up a shot while defended by Bryn Tennyson of Dillingham during first-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Maggie Dinon of Craig reaches for a loose ball as Bryn Tennyson looks for a Dillingham teammate during first-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Marie Yates of Craig puts up a jumper against Dillingham during first-half action in the 2A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Dylan George of Klawock fires a pass during second-half action in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Danny Wells led his Noorvik team on a second-half charge that fell short against Klawock in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. Klawock won 55-43.
Erik Hill
Danny Wells scored a game-high 25 points, 21 coming in the second half, but Noorvik fell short against Klawock in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Sam Rew and Klawock teammates pin on their state championship medals following their 55-43 win over Noorvik in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Matthew Peters of Klawock cuts a piece of ceremonial net on an adjoining court following a 55-43 win over Noorvik in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Tyrus Morgan of Klawock cuts a piece of ceremonial net on an adjoining court following a 55-43 win over Noorvik in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Klawock players cheer as head coach Jim Holien cuts down a piece of ceremonial net on an adjoining court following a 55-43 win over Noorvik in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Gordon Newlin Jr. of Noorvik, left, steals the ball from Josh Looney of Klawock during second-half action in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. Klawock won 55-43.
Erik Hill
Matthew Peters of Klawock, center right, battles for a rebound with Quincy Williamson of Noorvik during second-half action in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. Klawock won 55-43.
Erik Hill
Nikolaevsk's Serafima Kalugin, left, and Cook Inlet's Ashleigh Hammond dive after a loose ball. Cook Inlet Academy faced Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
The Cook Inlet girls team celebrate's their victory as the Nikolaevsk team consoles one another after the end of the third overtime period. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Greg Brush and David Bunts cheer for the Cook Inlet Academy girls team in the first half. Cook Inlet Academy faced Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Nikolaevsk's Sophia Kalugin, left, tries to rip the ball away from Cook Inlet's Richele McGhan. Cook Inlet Academy faced Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Cook Inlet's Ashleigh Hammond, left, tries to get the ball from Nikolaevsk's Nianiella Dorvall. Cook Inlet Academy faced Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
The Nikolaevsk and Cook Inlet Academy teams show anxiety during an overtime period Wednesday. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Nikolaevsk's Kayla Stafford tries to get rid of the ball as Cook Inlet's Madison Orth (33) defends. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Nikolaevsk's Kilina Klaich tries to keep possession. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Cook Inlet's Megan Bauder moves the ball. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Nikolaevsk's Kilina Klaich, left, and Cook Inlet's Megan Bauder battle for a loose ball. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Luba Dorvall cheers for the Nikolaevsk team in the second half a close state title game that went into triple overtime. Cook Inlet Academy defeated Nikolaevsk in the girls basketball 1A state championship game on March 20, 2013.
Marc Lester
Nicole Moffis, center, and her Cook Inlet Academy teammates begin to celebrate a triple-overtime win over Nikolaevsk in the 1A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. The final score was 43-39. Sophia Kalugin of NIkolaevsk walks off at right.
Erik Hill
Danny Wells of Noorvik drives to the basket during first-half action against Klawock in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Tyrus Morgan of Klawock drives to the basket against Noorvik during first-half action in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Sam Rew of Klawock hits a three-pointer during first-half action against Noorvik in the 1A boys state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Cook Inlet Academy fans celebrate a go-ahead basket that proves to be the difference in the game as the Lady Eagles claim a 43-39 triple overtime win over Nikolaevsk in the 1A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Darlene Bunts of Cook Inlet Academy puts up the winning shot in the third overtime of play against Nikolaevsk in the 1A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. Two free throws extended the winning margin to 43-39.
Erik Hill
Nicole Moffis of Cook Inlet Academy wins a scramble for the ball as time runs down on Nikolaevsk in the third overtime in the 1A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena.
Erik Hill
Megan Bauder, right, and her Cook Inlet Academy teammates begin to celebrate a triple-overtime win over Nikolaevsk in the 1A girls state basketball tournament championship game Wednesday March 20, 2013 at Sullivan Arena. The final score was 43-39.
Erik Hill

Defense and rebounding have been the key to victory all season for the Klawock boys basketball team and in Wednesday's Class 1A state title game against Noorvik, the Chieftains put on a clinic in both.

Klawock held Noorvik to 27 percent shooting at Sullivan Arena and exploited a distinct size advantage in the paint to earn a 55-43 victory and claim the school's second state title.

"Usually, in state, we're a lot bigger than everybody else," said 6-foot-3 Klawock junior Tyrus Morgan, who paired 20 points with 19 rebounds for the game's only double-double. "That's usually our game plan for the whole year, to get (the ball) inside."

The bulk of his shots coming from close range, Morgan made 9 of 16 field goals to help the Chieftains shoot 48 percent, his prowess on the boards contributing to a 45-23 rebounding edge. There were plenty of rebounding opportunities early, with Noorvik hitting just 18 percent of its field goals in the first half.

"We couldn't buy a bucket if we were Donald Trump, I mean it was pretty pitiful," Noorvik coach Darren Zibell said. "We had some quality looks we just missed. They're a match-up nightmare for us and they did a good job defensively."

Klawock's primary mission was to slow prolific Noorvik scorer Danny Wells, a senior with shooting range that stretches to near halfcourt.

"We knew he'd make some shots," Klawock coach Jim Holien said. "We just wanted to make sure the shots he took were tough, they were contested."

Wells finished with a game-high 25 points, but only made 1 of 11 first-half shots as Klawock rolled to a 31-15 halftime lead.

Klawock junior Sam Rew, who was named player of the game after scoring 17 points, was given the unenviable task of guarding Wells.

"That was my main goal of the game, deny him, get in his head, get on him, show him I'm there." Rew said.

Rew also scored some key buckets, including back-to-back 3-pointers to close the first half. When he drained the second with four seconds remaining before intermission, he gave an emphatic fist pump on his way to the other end of the court.

"I'm on fire, that's how I felt," Rew said.

Wells started catching fire for Noorvik early in the fourth quarter, scoring nine unanswered points to cut Klawock's lead to 41-32 with six minutes to play. Klawock stuck to its game plan, however, pounding the paint and holding a double-digit lead for the last five minutes. Wells and the rest of the Bears continued to hoist deep 3-pointers down the stretch and didn't feel they were out of the game until inside the final minute, Wells said.

"We came back from big games this year in less time, so I believed we could do it," Wells said. "They had a really tough team. They had a bigger team, they were quick and they were ready for us."

Wells, who finished this season with 920 points according to Zibell, helped Noorvik claim a Class 2A title last season. As tough as it was to lose this year, he felt fortunate to play in two straight state title games. Noorvik's roster includes five freshmen, two of which are starters, forcing the young team to progress rapidly throughout the season.

"Day one, we couldn't even throw a three-man weave, it was that bad," Wells said.

Klawock is no stranger to championship games, having finished runner-up in the Class 2A state tournament in 2010 and 2011, the Chieftains' only previous state title coming in 1985. This season's championship team only has one senior on the roster, so the Chieftains will be sure to set their sights on a title defense.

"This group of kids, they are such characters behind the scenes," Holien said. "They're a great group of kids, they give you everything they got, they listen well and they do exactly what you ask."

 

Reach Jeremy Peters at jpeters@adn.com or 257-4335.

 

 

 


By JEREMY PETERS
jpeters@adn.com