After getting a scare in the semifinals, the Kake boys basketball team looked scary-good in Saturday’s state final.
Senior sharpshooter Ethan Kadake outscored Aniak by himself in the first half and the Thunderbirds used a ten-point run to start the third quarter to fly away with a 67-49 victory over Aniak in the Class 1A title game of the ASAA/First National Bank Alaska state tournament in Anchorage.
Kake finished the season with a 24-0 record under coach Anthony Ross and secured the team’s first state championship since 1987, when it was in the 2A classification (the team also won in 1984).
Kake survived a semifinal scare on Friday night to keep their undefeated season alive, pulling out a 61-56 victory over Tri-Valley thanks to a 21-9 rally in the fourth.
The T-birds smothered Aniak from the jump, seizing a 26-12 lead after the first quarter and creating separation in the second quarter after the Southeast squad made it rain from 3-point land.
Kadake pumped in 31 points, including 11 in the second quarter when he knocked down three 3s and a heat-check jumper. Dude was feeling it.
Kake came into the title game having averaged six 3s in its three previous games at the state tournament. Then the T-birds made four in the second quarter – three by Kadake and another by Tristian Ross-Shaquanie.
Kadake was 5-of-8 from downtown in the first half and scored 25 points as Kake carried a 43-21 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, his layup made it 47-25 as he provided 27 of his team’s first 47 points.
Teammate Brandon Ward added 14 points, including eight during a 14-4 run to start the third quarter. Keontay Jackson added 10 points and Ross-Shaquanie added eight points and took a charge with his team ahead by 27 points.
When somebody asks what it takes to have an undefeated season, point to that.
Aniak’s loss snapped a five-game winning streak as the Halfbreeds finished the season with a 19-5 record.
Ryan Steeves led his team with 19 points and lost a shoe four or five times during the game. Dylan Nicholson chipped in 11 points.
Just a freshman, Nicholson’s 3-pointer pulled Aniak within 61-41. Moments later Steeves hit a pair of free throws to make it 63-45 as the Halfbreeds had sliced a 32-point deficit down to 18 with 3:35 to play.