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HomeSportPrep Hoops: Nome rallies to beat Grace while undefeated Mt. Edgecumbe mauls...

Prep Hoops: Nome rallies to beat Grace while undefeated Mt. Edgecumbe mauls Valdez in 3A boys state semifinals

Nome’s Finn Gregg directs traffic on offense. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Finn Gregg put the Nome-Beltz boys basketball team on his back in the second half Thursday night and carried the Nanooks to the Class 3A state title game.

The junior guard poured in 18 of his 24 points after halftime as Nome rallied for a 48-41 victory over Grace Christian in the state tournament semifinals at the Alaska Airlines Center.

Nome stormed back from a 13-point third quarter deficit behind the play of Gregg and a smothering defense that shut down Grace in the fourth quarter.

ASAA/First National Bank Alaska
Class 3A Boys State Tournament
At Alaska Airlines
Thursday
Semifinals

Mt. Edgecumbe 67, Valdez 38
Nome-Beltz 48, Grace Christian 41
Consolation
Barrow 53, Hutchison 35
Seward 51, Houston 43
Friday
11:00am Fourth Place Game
Barrow (16-11) vs. Seward (20-8)
Saturday
10:30am Third Place Game
Grace Christian (23-5) vs. Valdez (22-6)
3:00pm Title Game
Mt. Edgecumbe (26-0) vs. Nome-Beltz (23-4)

The game within the game was between two all-state standouts in Gregg and Grace’s Kellen Jedlicka, who earlier in the day was named 2024 Gatorade Alaska Player of the Year. Both stars shined and shared game-high scoring honors with 24 points.

There were parts of the game when they had their own ‘whatever you can do, I can do better’ duel, matching each other bucket for bucket in a entertaining display of talent.

Nome’s Finn Gregg drives with Grace Christian’s Kellen Jedlicka on defense. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Jedlicka is a 6-foot-5, 210-pound manchild who can score with power and precision. He made 8-of-17 field goals, including three of seven 3-pointers.

He hit two early 3s before going to work in the post, overpowering opponents for layups and putbacks. He followed his own miss and scored through contact and then gave his bench a little flex before completing the three-point play and giving Grace a 30-23 lead.

Jedlicka drained his third 3 followed by another old-fashioned and-1 play to push the Grizzlies’ advantage to 36-23.

Nome needed a spark. Enter Gregg, who scored the next 11 straight points for the Nanooks.

Mt. Edgecumbe players call out a play from the bench. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

The 6-foot playmaker hit a 3 at the end of the third quarter and kept it going early in the fourth with an and-1 followed by a pull-up jumper to cut the deficit to 36-31.

Later, Gregg’s Euro-step finish gave Nome the lead for good at 41-39 with two minutes to play. Richard Cross’ three-point play with 32 seconds left was a dagger and provided a 45-39 cushion.

The loss snapped Grace’s 15-game winning streak.

NOME (48) – Gregg 24, Callahan 0, Hoogenforn 0, Smith 0, Martinson 0, Weyiouanna 5, Schuerch 0, Omedelina 0, Erickson 0, Ongtowasruk 0, Cross 11, Booth 8.
GRACE (41) – B.Clarkson 3, Dale 0, A.Clarkson 0, Tobin 6, Annett 0, Adolfae 0, Rock 0, Malone 4, Jedlicka 24, Beck 4.
Nome-Beltz 8 4 14 22 – 48
Grace Christian 17 2 17 5 – 41

Valdez defender Jarrett Gage makes it tough on Mt. Edgecumbe’s Richard Didrickson Jr. in the lane. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

Mt. Edgecumbe 67, Valdez 38

Kaison Herrmann had the keys to the offense and helped undefeated Mt. Edgecumbe motor into the state championship game after a 67-38 win over Valdez.

The Braves were hitting on all cylinders all night, with Herrmann being the driving force.

The 5-foot-10 playmaker registered 22 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals in an effort every bit as good as the stats.

Herrmann had the offense hummin’ whether he looked for others or called his own number. He was the best player on the court.

Mt. Edgecumbe’s Kaison Herrmann goes for two. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

In the first quarter, he converted a left-hand layup and hit a 3-pointer to help Mt. Edgecumbe to a 16-9 lead. In the second quarter, he grabbed a rebound and hit a tough baseline leaner through contact. Near the end of the quarter, he forced a turnover which led to a bucket with 3 seconds before halftime.

He didn’t slow down in the third quarter.

Herrmann scored a layup, drilled a 3 and set up another basket with a steal-assist sequence. But his cherry on top came later in the quarter when he made his defender fall to the ground off the dribble before draining a midrange jumper in a true ankle-breaking move that gave the Braves a 42-25 lead.

He basically called game at that point.

Mt. Edgecumbe improved to 26-0 on the season and advanced to the state title game for the first time since 1959.

VALDEZ (38) – Gage 8, Tucker 9, Branshaw 2, Ade 4, McCumby 0, Case 2, Alfaro 5, Watson 8, Wade 0, St. Amand 0, Boone 0, Holbrook 0.
MT. EDGECUMBE (67) – Brandall 2, Friske 2, Kai.Herrmann 22, Armstrong 5, Kad.Herrman 6, Didrickson Jr. 14, Otton 0, Cromer 6, Stephan-Standifer 10, Mork 0.
Valdez 9 8 12 9 – 38
Mt. Edgecumbe 16 11 21 19 – 67

Valdez’s Tino Tucker with a beautiful block. Photo by Stephanie Burgoon/Alaska Sports Report

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