While the Kenai Central boys were eliminated from Class 4A state championship contention with their loss to Dimond on Thursday, they made the best of their situation by winning Friday against Colony, topping the Knights 58-48 at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.
“Obviously, there was nothing good about yesterday, and there was nothing we could say that would change the outcome,” head coach Ken Felchle said. “So I told the guys in the locker room that we have an opportunity to keep going, and our season is not coming to an end yet.”
Kenai led 26-21 at halftime, but Colony continued to keep it close, and even managed to take a slim lead with 4 minutes, 20 seconds, left in the third quarter.
However, Kenai ended the game on an 11-2 run in the final 3:23 of the game to seal the victory. It was the opposite of what happened in the semifinals of the Northern Lights Conference tournament, when Colony took over a close game at the end.
“Our seniors showed good leadership today, and last night we prepared for Colony, and when it got tight there at the end, we were up by one, and I called a timeout, and told them we have to get a rebound,” Felchle said. “If we don’t get a rebound, we’re not going to win. From there, we finished strong, and I’m proud of them, and we’re going to play in the last game of the season Saturday.”
Senior Bo Reilly had a big game, scoring 32 points to lead Kenai.
“They were playing man-to-man against us, and they were trying not to switch screens because they were worried about mismatches of players, and we were getting open shots,” Reilly said.
Felchle labeled Reilly as one of the team’s most versatile players. Reilly hit 11 of 16 from the floor, including 3 of 4 from 3-point land. He also made 7 of 8 foul shots and led the team with nine rebounds.
“Bo came ready to play, and he has that ability, but it was a team effort today, and Bo can’t play five guys on defense, so they all had to work together to accomplish this,” he said.
Jared Turner and Nathan Umbarger both had 11 points to lead the Knights.
Kenai faces off in the fourth-place consolation game with Juneau-Douglas Saturday at 2 p.m. at the UAA Wells Fargo Sports Arena, and Reilly said the team is going to watch film on the Crimson Bears and figure out a game plan, as Felchle is preparing the team for aggressive play.
“Hey, guess what, Juneau needs to be ready to go tomorrow, because we’re a team that wants and needs to win,” he said. “I watched Juneau play this morning at eight, and they brought their game, so we need to be ready and I think we will.”
ASAA First National Bank Alaska Basketball State Championships
Kardinals 58, Knights 48
KENAI (58) — Springer 0 0-0 0, Hull 2 5-7 9, Fitt 2 0-0 4, Sandahl 0 0-0 0, Reilly 11 7-8 32, Spalding 1 3-4 5, Hayes 3 1-3 8. Totals 19 16-24 58.
COLONY (48) — Smith 3 2-2 9, Fulp 1 2-2 4, Turner 5 0-0 11, Umbarger 3 5-5 11, Peltier 0 0-0 0, Hightower 1 0-2 2, Eisenhower 3 3-4 9, Compton 1 0-0 2. Totals 17 12-15 48.
3-point goals — Kenai 4 (Reilly 3, Hayes 1); Colony 2 (Turner 1, Smith 1).
Team fouls — Kenai 12, Colony 18. Fouled out — Umbarger.