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By JOE JUDD
Daily News Sports Editor
The Ketchikan High School boys basketball team took down Thunder Mountain High School 49-47 on Wednesday night at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium in the semifinal round of the Region V (4A) Tournament.
It was a physical and tightly contested game between a pair of schools plenty familiar with one another, and it showed on the scoreboard all night.
Neither team led by more than 10 points the entire game, as the Kings and Falcons spent much of the contest trading baskets on the interior.
After the win, Kayhi head coach Eric Stockhausen said his teams during his tenure at Kayhi have been on the wrong end of some buzzer-beaters, and he feels very fortunate to come out on the positive side of such a close postseason game.
“An ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” Stockhausen said.
In the final five minutes, the Southeast conference opponents went bucket-for-bucket and were tied, until Kayhi went ahead by five points with two minutes left in regulation.
Brothers Chris Lee and Marcus Lee managed to draw contact on their drives through the lane, and extended the the Kayhi lead to three possessions with less than a minute to go in regulation.
Junior Marcus Lee scored seven points in the winning effort, but found himself in foul trouble for the second consecutive night and sat out for most of the second quarter.
With limited action from Marcus Lee in the first half, it was up to the Kayhi bench to fill the offensive void and do what he was unable to do from the bench.
“With the way the game played out, I thought our bench was remarkable,” Stockhausen said. “We kept things in check well when everything was going chaotic around us.”
Much like Tuesday night's effort against Juneau-Douglas High School, sophomore Chris Lee was a force to be reckoned with on offense and defense in the low post.
By the end of the night, Chris Lee had 21 points to his credit to lead the offensive charge for his team against the Falcons. Lee also went 5-for-10 from the foul line in the win.
Kayhi shot 50 percent from the charity stripe, going 8-for-16.
Sophomore Kristian Pihl also found himself in double figures with 12 points scored and three made 3-point field goals.
With the victory, Kayhi will have a day off to rest before it takes to the hardwood again with a shot at a Region V title on the line on Friday night.
The Kings last won a Region V (4A) title in 2015. The Crimson Bears have been the defending region champions for the previous two seasons.
The Kings will either play Juneau-Douglas or Thunder Mountain once again in the championship game on Friday at 8:15 p.m.
“We're fortunate to be in Friday's game,” Stockhausen said. “We had the Friday game last year and lost the game in overtime; we don't want to repeat that, if possible.”
JDHS and TMHS will square off in a losers' bracket matchup at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Clarke Cochrane Gymnasium.
Kayhi: Chris Lee 21, Kristian Pihl 12, Marcus Lee 7, Jake Taylor 5, James Nordlund 2, Gavin Salazar 2.
Thunder Mountain: Josh McAndrews 10, Vaipuna Tautaiolepo 10, Brady Carandang 8, Roy Tupou 6, Luke Clark 6, Owen Mendoza 5, Bryson Echiverri 2.