1A boys: Klawock defends its title

Mike Nesper
Klawock's Tyrus Morgan (1) is stripped of the ball by Toksook Bay's John Chakuchin during their boys' Division 1A championship basketball game on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Michael Dinneen
Klawock's Dylan George (32) makes a layup against the defense of Toksook Bay's Isaiah Pitka, left, and John Chakuchin during their boys' Division 1A championship basketball game on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Michael Dinneen
Toksook Bay's Trevor Felix, left, drives past the defense of Klawock's Tyrus Morgan during their boys' Division 1A championship basketball game on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/Michael Dinneen)
Michael Dinneen

The defending boys Class 1A state basketball champion Klawock Chieftains repeated history Wednesday at Sullivan Arena.

Almost exactly.

The same five Klawock starters won by the same margin as last year -- the only difference was the team on the losing end.

This year, the Chieftains downed Toksook Bay 55-43 for Klawock's third state title. Last year, the same score propelled Klawock past Noorvik for the Chieftains' second state championship and first since 1985.

After defending their title Wednesday, Klawock's five starters huddled at center court before celebrating with the rest of the team.

They did it again.

Seniors Tyrus Morgan, Sam Rew and Matthew Peters and juniors Josh Marvin-Looney and Dylan George played the entire 32 minutes for Klawock. Winning another state title is a fitting end for the group that's played together the past three varsity seasons, Chieftains' coach Doug Edenshaw said.

"For the last three years they've been the fab five," he said. "They deserve it."

Toksook Bay couldn't counteract the Chieftains' height. Three Klawock starters are 6-foot or taller, with Peters and Morgan both 6-foot-4.

Matthew Pitka is the Islanders' tallest starter at 6-foot. Klawock's height helped it control the glass, it outrebounded the Islanders 47-34, Toksook coach Simeon Lincoln said.

"They weren't boxing out like I was telling them to," he said of his team.

The height advantage also led to easy buckets -- Klawock scored 34 points in the paint while Toksook Bay had 12.

"It's nice to have big guys inside to take it home for us," Edenshaw said.

Toksook was the quicker team, Lincoln said, but shooting 33.3 percent from the field won't win a championship.

"We missed open threes, open twos," he said. "Missed some easy layups."

Klawock, which never trailed, took a 29-15 advantage into the half. After lackluster starts in the first three games of the tournament, Klawock came out strong against Toksook, Morgan said.

"That gave us a good start," he said.

Klawock extended the lead to 45-21 by the end of the third quarter. A Toksook fourth-quarter rally brought the Islanders within eight with under a minute to go, but the deficit was too great to recover from, Lincoln said.

Lincoln said he was proud of his team's effort in Toksook's first state title game and happy to come away with a trophy.

"It's nice hardware to bring home," he said.

Klawock's championship experience aided it the entire tournament, Morgan said.

"Some teams might be scared of the bright lights," he said. "We settled down."

Morgan led all players in scoring (20 points) and rebounding (16) and was one of three Chieftains with double-doubles. Peters pumped in 14 points and 11 rebounds for Klawock, which got 11 points and 11 boards from Marvin-Looney.

Pitka, Toksook Bay's lone senior, paced the Islanders with a double-double, 14 points, 12 rebounds. Byron Nicholai added 13 points for Toksook.

After waiting as every 1A participant filed onto the floor of Sullivan Arena and sitting through multiple award presentations, Edenshaw still had difficulty describing the accomplishment of winning consecutive state titles.

"Words can't explain what it feels like," he said.

Third place

Sophomore Aidan Philpot ripped down 22 rebounds and scored 18 points to carry Seldovia to a 66-55 victory over Shaktookik in the third-place game.

Seth O'Leary turned in a big game too, hitting 11 of 18 field goals for a game-high 27 points. Calem Collier chipped in 18 points, an effort that included four 3-pointers.

Shaktoolik, outscored 22-14 in the fourth quarter, got a boost from Veron Rock (21 points, 7 assists) and Alex Sampson (14 rebounds).

Fourth place

Fort Yukon outscored Wainwright 20-9 in the fourth quarter to earn a 63-51 win the fourth-place game at West.

For Yukon held a 43-42 lead going into the fourth. The Eagles outscored Wainwright 14-7 through the first five and a half minutes to put the game out of reach.

Aaron Solomon (18 points, 15 rebounds) and Jerry Carroll (13 points, 13 rebounds) led Fort Yukon with double-doubles. Franklin Carroll poured in 18 points for the Eagles.

Half of Wainwright's points came from Burton Nayakik, who pumped in a game-high 26 and hauled in 11 rebounds. Brenton Nayakik added 11 points for the Huskies.

Consolation championship

King Cove's Paul Hamilton delivered 22 points and 11 rebounds, propelling the T-Jacks past Nikolaevsk 62-51 in the consolation-bracket championship game.

Both teams lost play-in games Saturday, falling into the consolation bracket at West High. Victories on Monday and Tuesday put the teams in the finale at Sullivan Arena.

Ian Samuelson's 19 and five steals and Jaimen Newman's 10 assists helped power the T-Jacks, who led 35-23 at the half.

Jaruby Nelson poured in 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had four steals for Nikolaevsk.

Reach Mike Nesper at mnesper@adn.com or 257-4335. Sports editor Beth Bragg contributed to this report.