Kenai boys, SoHi girls secure NLC wins

Kardinals boys prevail in OT thriller

Both Kenai Central and Soldotna boys put on a shooting display as the Kardinals secured the win in an overtime thriller Tuesday night at Kenai, topping the Stars 71-67 in Northern Lights Conference action. 

Earlier in the night, Soldotna’s girls team topped Kenai 51-43.

Jake Darrow from Soldotna sank a 3-pointer to tie it with eight seconds remaining in regulation. Withrow ended with 18 points of his own.  

Senior AJ Hull from Kenai amassed 28 points in the game, many of them coming on quick drives to the basket that proved to be unstoppable. 

“We knew we had to jump out on top, they had a little run they started going off on, and if we let them continue like that in overtime, it would have been kinda hard to dig ourselves out of a hole, so we made it to where they were the ones digging out of a hole,” Hull said.

Even with a second 3-pointer by Withrow with 15 seconds left in overtime to bring Soldotna within three points of the lead, Kenai stood strong. 

“Basically I said we’re playing to win, we’re not playing to not lose,” Kenai head coach Ken Felchle said. “The difference between us this year and last year, is that we probably would lose that basketball last year. We used to hang our head and play the ‘What if’ game, but this year, the mentality is, ‘It’s over, we get past it, and we get the win.’”

Felchle said the shooting display from Soldotna was outstanding.

“They could’ve shot from half court and it would’ve gone in,” he said.

Senior Tanner Fowler was Soldotna’s highest scorer, racking up 21 points. 

“We had a shot to get to overtime, and AJ was the difference maker,” Soldotna head coach Matthew Johnson said. “Defensively, he caused havoc. When they get those transitions, he is difficult to stop.”

Kenai Central girls 43, Soldotna 51

Junior Kaillee Skjold of Soldotna collected 19 points on the court to lead the Stars to the win.

Kenai senior Carolyn Kiefer made two free throws with less than three minutes to go to trail Soldotna by a point. However, Soldotna benefited from free throws of its own to put the game out of reach at the end. 

“When they made their push, our coach really had us focus on controlling the ball, taking it easy, and doing what we know how to do,” Skjold said. “We were playing smart, opening up on their screens when they run that, and being in the middle the whole game.”

Soldotna head coach Doug Blossom gave Kenai due credit.

“We’re both really good defensive teams, so we’re pretty even, and they played us tough,” he said.

Senior Morgan Wensley was Kenai’s top scorer with 10 points. 


Tuesday girls

Stars 51, Kardinals 43



Kenai (43) — Wensley 4 0-0 10, Beeson 4 0-1 8, Kiefer 4 2-4 9, Taylor 2 0-1 4, Ross 1 0-0 2, Tieaskie 3 0-0 6, English 0 0-1 0. Totals 18 2-6 43. 

Soldotna (51) — Skjold 11 3-4 19, Benson 3 0-0 7, Kress 2 0-1 3, Litchfield 2 0-2 4, Wong 1 0-0 2, Kerkvliet 1 0-0 2, Westerman 1 1-2 1, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 4-9 51. 

3-point goals — Kenai 2 (Kiefer 1, Beeson 1); Soldotna 3 (Wensley 2, Skjold 1). Team fouls — Kenai 10, Soldotna 12. 


Tuesday boys

Kardinals 71, Stars 67, OT



SOLDOTNA (67) — T. Fowler 7 1-2 21, Young 0 0-0 0, Darrow 1 1-1 3, Carver 5 2-3 13, Daugherty 0 0-0 0, Withrow 5 1-3 18, N. Fowler 0 0-0 0, Bosick 5 2-4 12.

KENAI CENTRAL (71) — McKee 0 2-2 2, Hull 10 8-11 28, Fitt 0 0-0 0, Sandahl 0 4-6 4, Reilly 5 4-5 14, Spalding 5 1-5 11, Hayes 4 3-5 14. Totals — 24 20-32 71.

3-point goals — Soldotna 11 (T. Fowler 6, E. Withrow 4, Carver 1); Kenai Central 3 (Hayes 3). Team fouls — Soldotna 24, Kenai 13. Fouled out — Carver, Bosick.


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