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SoHi girls top Homer, move to 8-1 in NLC

Mariners boys turn back Stars

Posted: February 25, 2012 - 2:19am

Never mind the exclamation point, the Homer boys basketball team will take a win at Soldotna, period.

The Mariners outscored the Stars 22-10 in the final quarter to pick up a 53-41 Northern Lights Conference victory Friday. Devon Kennelty scored 10 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-6 center's only misstep in the final frame was missing a wide-open dunk as time expired.

Kennelty could hardly be faulted for not having his legs fully under him in the final seconds. After breaking a bone in his foot in November, the center did not get on the court for the Mariners until the very end of January.

"He's still getting in shape," Homer coach Mark Casseri said.

As Kennelty shapes up, so do Homer's fortunes. The Mariners moved to 3-6 in the NLC, while SoHi fell to 4-5. The win comes on the heels of a mid-February road win over North Division champs Kenai Central.

"Homer is a scary team right now," Kards head coach Ken Felchle said as he was leaving the gym after the game.

The Stars struggled on offense all night, scoring above 10 points in just one quarter. Evan Withrow led all Stars scorers with nine points.

"I was happy with the looks we were getting," Stars coach Matt Johnson said. "They just weren't going in. That's the way it goes sometimes."

Homer led 6-5 after the first quarter, then Homer went on an 11-1 run in the middle of the second quarter. Sam Reinert capped the spurt with a layup for a 20-11 lead with 3 minutes, 30 seconds, left in the half.

Kennelty drew his second foul with 4:22 left in the half, and sat until halftime. Homer led 16-10 when the center sat down, and 22-15 at halftime.

"They've been doing a lot better at rebounding when I'm out of the game," Kennelty said. "In the past, they'd rely on me to get the rebounds. Now, there's not as big of a drop-off when I'm out of the game."

The Stars outscored the Mariners 16-9 in the third quarter to tie the game at 31. On offense, the Stars attacked the basket and scored six layups, finishing the quarter 7-of-16 from the floor. Soldotna extended its man-to-man defense and put enough pressure on the Mariners to take them out of their offense.

All the momentum the Stars built in the third fizzled in the first 31 seconds of the fourth quarter. Just 13 seconds into the quarter, Kennelty made a rebound layup. The Stars quickly turned the ball over, and Kennelty hit another easy layup for a 35-31 lead.

Johnson said that brief lapse by his team was all it took for Homer to get its edge back.

"I thought the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter was the most important stretch in the game," he said.

The Stars didn't go away, with Cory Carver cutting the gap to 43-41 on a layup with 2:18 to play. The Mariners would score the last 10 points of the game.

Kennelty started the game-ending run with a pair of free throws and a layup, and Dyllan Day, who had 16 points, scored the last six points of the game. Two of those points were free throws after a SoHi bench technical foul.

"The difference from the last few years was composure," Kennelty said. "The coaching staff has done a great job of teaching us how to keep cool and just go play the game."

The loss meant Tanner Fowler, Jake Darrow, Garrett Bosick and Evan Withrow came up short on senior night.

"I'm proud of the seniors," Johnson said. "It's been a blast."

Soldotna girls 54, Homer 12

Kaillee Skjold poured in 20 points as the Stars moved to 8-1 in the NLC and 18-3 overall.

With just two losses to Class 4A teams and the final two spots at state determined by the Winning Percentage Index against 4A teams, the Stars have put themselves in an increasingly favorable position to make a return trip to state.

The Stars have thrived all season with a fast, physical full-court presence, and Friday was no exception as Homer fell behind 24-6 after one quarter on the way to falling to 1-8 in the NLC.

"That SoHi team is a good team," Homer coach Tim Daugharty said. "They've worked hard and they've earned everything they've gotten."

SoHi girls coach Doug Blossom said the squad has received a boost from SoHi grad Jenni Stenga helping out at practice. Blossom said Stenga has helped integrate conditioning drills into defensive drills.

"The team is in great shape right now and it's making a big difference for us," Blossom said.

In addition to getting scoring from players like Skjold, Blossom said the team is getting great effort from players like Natalie Kress, who is 5-4 and had nine rebounds in the first half.

"We're playing great as a team, and not as individuals," said the coach, whose last loss came on Jan. 27 against Wasilla.

SoHi, which normally plays four sophomores and three juniors, honored Savannah Smith on senior night. Smith recorded four points in the contest.

Daugherty said his team is young and should improve as it moves to Class 3A next season.

"They worked really hard," he said. "That's the one thing we've focused on in the last few weeks."

 

Friday girls

Stars 54, Mariners 12

Homer6042—12

Soldotna2415132—54

HOMER (12) — Oliver 2 0-0 4, Gee 0 0-0 0, Tutt 0 0-0 0, Graham 0 0-0 0, Hill 0 0-0 0, Beach 2 0-0 4, Bowen 0 0-0 0, Fellows 0 0-0 0, Mastolier 0 0-0 0, Turner 1 0-2 2, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Kopplin 0 0-0 0, Cabana 1 0-1 2. Totals — 6 0-3 12.

SOLDOTNA (54) — Prior 0 0-0 0, Benson 1 0-0 2, Kress 0 1-2 1, Litchfield 3 2-5 8, Wong 3 0-0 6, Smith 0 0-0 0, Hendricks 2 1-1 5, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Kerkvliet 0 0-0 0, Westerman 4 0-0 8, Skjold 9 1-3 20, Miller 0 0-0 0, Tachick 0 0-0 0, Smith 2 0-2 4, Shaw 0 0-0 0, Ashe 0 0-0 0. Totals — 24 5-13 54.

3-point goals — Soldotna 1 (Skjold 1). Team fouls — Homer 15, Soldotna 9. Fouled out — none.

 

Friday boys

Mariners 53, Stars 41

Homer616922—53

Soldotna5101610—41

HOMER (53) — Reutov 1 0-0 2, Daugherty 0 0-0 0, Cotney 2 0-2 5, Reinert 3 1-1 7, Day 5 4-5 16, R. Glosser 1 2-2 4, Kennelty 8 3-3 19. Totals — 20 10-13 53.

SOLDOTNA (41) — T. Fowler 3 1-1 7, Young 2 0-0 5, Darrow 2 0-0 4, Carver 3 2-4 8, Withrow 3 1-2 9, N. Fowler 0 0-0 0, Bosick 4 0-0 8, McElroy 0 0-0 0. Totals — 17 4-7 41.

3-point goals — Homer 3 (Day 2, Cotney 1); Soldotna 3 (Withrow 2, Young 1). Team fouls — Homer 8, Soldotna 12. Fouled out — Bosick.

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