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By JOE JUDD
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School boys basketball team defeated the Juneau-Douglas High School Crimson Bears 58-54 in the opening round of the Region V (2A, 3A, 4A) basketball tournament on Tuesday night at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
After splitting the regular season series at two wins a piece, the Southeast conference rivals fought their way through 32 back-and-forth minutes, with the Kings eventually emerging on top.
With the win, Kayhi advances to the second round of the tournament to play the No. 1-seeded Thunder Mountain High School Falcons on Wednesday night.
Kayhi junior Marcus Lee supplied the team’s first six points of the game, which erased a 6-0 run by Juneau-Douglas to open the game.
Lee was able to penetrate and draw contact throughout the rivalry matchup, which resulted in six trips to the foul line for Kayhi’s leading score on the season.
When Lee found himself in foul trouble his brother, sophomore Chris Lee, handled some of the offensive slack, and went on to score 20 points and make a pair of 3-pointers in the winning effort.
Kayhi trailed by just four points at the half, and went into the locker room within striking distance of a home-court victory over its rivals from Alaska’s capital city.
The Kings came alive from beyond the arc in the second half of play, as Kayhi sank five 3-pointers in the third quarter, to eventually grab a nine-point lead — its largest of the game to that point.
Kayhi outscored JDHS by a margin of 27-11 in the third quarter.
After a strong showing from the field to open up the second half, the Kings went into the fourth quarter leading by 12 points, but the Crimson Bears opened the frame on a 4-0 run to cut the difference back down to single digits.
Even though Juneau-Douglas cut into the late Kayhi lead, the Crimson Bears squandered their opportunities in the game’s final minutes with bad passes and turnovers.
As a team, Kayhi went to the free-throw line 29 times and converted 15 of their opportunities.
The Kings and Falcons will tip off the semifinal round at 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
Kayhi: Chris Lee 20, Marcus Lee 15, Jake Taylor 5, James Nordlund 5, Kristian Pihl 4, Cody Kemble 4.
Juneau-Douglas: Erik Kelly 15, Kolby Hoover 12, Luke Mallinger 10, Cooper Kriegmont 7, Kasey Watis 2, Philip Gonzales 2.