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Final day action at Kenai River Classic

Posted: December 15, 2012 - 11:09pm  |  Updated: December 16, 2012 - 12:12am
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Photo by M. Scott Moon Soldotna's Kailee Skjold powers past Service in the first period of Friday's game at the Kenai River Challenge tournament at Kenai Central.  Photo by M. Scott Moon
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Photo by M. Scott Moon Soldotna's Kailee Skjold powers past Service in the first period of Friday's game at the Kenai River Challenge tournament at Kenai Central.

The Soldotna girls basketball team walloped the North Pole Patriots 67-27 on Saturday at the Kenai River Challenge at Kenai Central, finishing off an impressive three-day stretch of games in the tournament. The triumph earned the team first-place honors in the tournament.

On Thursday, Soldotna defeated Mt. Edgecumbe 65-28, and dropped Service 70-24 on Friday. They outscored their opponents by a total of 123 points, and an average of 41 points over the three days, and have so far shown very few, if any, weaknesses early in the season.

SoHi senior Kaillee Skjold and junior Julie Litchfield led the Stars on Saturday with 18 points each.

Erica Croxen had 13 points for North Pole.

The Stars offensive front bolted out early and held a halftime lead of 36-15, 22 of the points coming in the second quarter alone. Soldotna added another 20 in the third frame.

The Soldotna girls scored its most impressive victory at Kenai Central on Friday, crushing Service 70-24.

Soldotna’s Kaillee Skjold led the Stars with 19 points, followed by junior teammates Kelci Benson with 15 points and Katelynn Kerkvliet with 10.

SoHi coach Doug Blossom said his team is really focused and although it’s early in the season, he is happy with how they are operating.

“I think we’re way ahead of where we were last year at this time. The girls are a year older, smarter, stronger, faster and more experienced and confident,” Blossom said. “I had a lot of sophomores last year and I expected a lot out of them and they gave me a lot, and this year we’re pretty much juniors and seniors.”

On Friday, SoHi kept a full-court press on Service for much of the game, which allowed the Cougars almost no chance to get in a rhythm and score points offensively. Holding a 39-16 halftime lead, Soldotna hit a 16-2 run in the third quarter which effectively put the game away by the time the final quarter rolled around.

“I think we’re strongest with our press, it creates a lot of chaos, sometimes for ourselves too, but it just wears on you,” Blossom said. “By the third and fourth quarter, it just wears on these teams.”

Blossom said one of SoHi’s few weaknesses is forcing the issue early on.

“I thought we just got overanxious to get a big lead, instead of letting it come to us, we were forcing things, and had way too many fouls and turnovers in the first half,” Blossom said. “I think they scored 10 of their points from the free-throw line in the first half but didn’t have any in the second.”

Rebecca Hodson led Service’s effort with eight points and teammate Alissa Nanez had seven, and both coaches gave their bench players minutes in the fourth quarter.

Nikiski 51, Service 24

Nikiski junior Alyssa Darch led her team to a resounding win over Service, scoring 22 points along the way Saturday. Sophomore teammate Rachel Thompson put up 11 as well.

The Bulldogs held a 23-12 halftime lead, but it was the third quarter that really put the game out of reach for Service. Darch had six points, Sienna Wallis had five, and Thompson had five as Nikiski outscored Service 19-3 in the third.

Alissa Nanez had nine points to lead the Cougars’ efforts.

Mt. Edgecumbe 44, Kenai 36

Kenai Central ended its tournament play with a loss on Saturday to the Braves, who were led by Taryn White with 12 points and Scarlett Beaver with 11.

Kenai’s top scorer was Cassie Ross with 16 points. Sydney Taylor added 13 points as well.

The second quarter proved the deciding factor, as the Kards were outscored 18-11.

Mt. Edgecumbe 46, Nikiski 27

Sophomore Rachel Thompson’s nine points led the Bulldog’s effort against Mt. Edgecumbe on Friday night, followed by senior Sienna Wallis with eight points and junior Alyssa Darch with seven.

Nikiski was unable to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, being outscored by the Braves 14-6 in the first quarter and 15-4 in the second, which led to a 29-10 halftime lead for the Braves.

“We have a lot of girls who don’t have a lot of varsity experience, they’re kind of learning on the go how to compete and stay in the game,” Nikiski coach Scott Anderson said. “They pressured us a little bit and that gave us some problems, I think more mentally then physically, and then we got in a hole and things escalated.”

The ’Dawgs performed better in the second half, starting with an 8-2 run to close the gap, but the deficit was too large to climb out of.

“At halftime I said I’m going to go back out there and you guys can talk about it and figure it out yourselves,” Anderson said. “You have all the tools and the ability, so this is just a mental issue. They needed to figure it out and they did. They came out more determined and with more effort.”

North Pole 35, Kenai 20

The Kardinals suffered through poor shooting in the second half to drop their Friday matchup against North Pole. Senior Sydney Taylor and junior Caitie Steinbeck both had six points to lead the Kards. Raegan Smothers led North Pole with 11 points.

“It was pretty simple. We did not score in the second half,” Kenai coach Stacia Rustad said. “Ultimately that’s what it comes down to. It’s not a lack of effort or trying. We struggled offensively and we knew that that was going to be a point of emphasis going into this season.”

Kenai did take a 9-8 lead into the second quarter, but trailed the Patriots 20-15 going into halftime. Kenai only managed one basket and two free throws in the second half, that allowed North Pole to pull away. It was Taylor’s 3-pointer with 3:09 left in the game that broke the shooting drought.

“When you score one basket in 15 minutes, that’s a huge concern,” Rustad said. “But it’s not going to be the end of us.”

Rustad said she was pleased Kenai was able to contain North Pole offensively in the second half, but had no explanation for the lack of points from Kenai.

“We took quality, open shots, and they just weren’t dropping,” she said. “We lost 93 percent of our scoring last year, so it’s going to take some time for my kids to figure out that offensive flow.”

Kenai graduated a few key players from a season ago, including Bailey Beeson and Morgan Wensley.

 

Friday

Patriots 35, Kardinals 20

North Pole 8 12 6 9 —35

Kenai 9 6 2 3 —20

NORTH POLE (35) — Smothers 4 3-6 11, Moisan 0 0-0 0, Broderick 5 1-4 13, Croxen 0 4-6 4, Mulcare 1 0-0 2, Stewart 1 1-3 3, Verney 0 2-2 2. Totals — 11 11-21 35.

KENAI CENTRAL (20) — Ostrander 0 2-2 2, English 0 2-2 2, Drury 1 0-0 2, Taylor 2 0-0 6, Steinbeck 2 2-2 6, Norvelle 1 0-2 2, Ross 0 0-0 0, Barcus 0 0-0 0, Every 0 0-0 0. Totals — 6 6-8 20.

3-point goals — North Pole 2 (Broderick 2), Kenai 2 (Taylor 2). Team fouls — North Pole 11, Kenai 19. Fouled out — none.

 

Braves 46, Bulldogs 27

Mt. Edgecumbe 14 15 10 7 —46

Nikiski 6 4 10 7 —27

MT. EDGECUMBE (46) — Beaver 1 0-0 2, Tikiun 0 0-0 0, Olson 1 1-2 3, Kewan 0 0-0 0, White 8 3-3 19, Demosky 0 0-0 0, Kewan 0 0-0 0, Martin 5 0-0 12, Fields 3 2-2 8, Weisz 1 0-0 2. Totals — 19 6-7 46.

NIKISKI (27) — Costello 1 0-0 2, Epperheimer 0 0-0 0, Litke 0 0-0 0, Lynch 0 1-2 1, Thompson 3 2-2 9, Holloway 0 0-0 0, Cook 0 0-2 0, Wallis 3 2-4 8, Litzen 0 0-0 0, Darch 2 3-4 7. Totals — 9 8-14 27.

3-point goals — Mt. Edgecumbe 2 (Martin 2), Nikiski 1 (Thompson 1). Team fouls — Mt. Edgecumbe 9, Nikiski 10. Fouled out — none.

 

Stars 70, Cougars 24

Service 4 12 8 0 —24

Soldotna 19 20 22 9 —70

SERVICE (24) — Nanez 2 3-3 7, Harris 0 1-2 1, Hodson 2 4-8 8, Battle 1 0-0 2, Pearce 0 1-2 1, Harrison-Sorenson 0 0-0 0, Albee 0 0-0 0, Venable 0 1-2 1, Marsh 1 0-0 2, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Messier-Baker 1 0-0 2. Totals — 7 10-17 24.

SOLDOTNA (70) — Prior 0 0-0 0, Benson 4 4-6 15, Kress 2 0-0 4, Litchfield 2 2-5 6, Wong 1 0-0 2, Blossom 0 0-0 0, Shaw 0 0-0 0, Ashe 0 0-0 0, Hendricks 3 0-0 6, Kerkvliet 5 0-0 10, Westerman 3 2-2 8, Skjold 7 3-4 19. Totals — 27 11-17 70.

3-point goals — Soldotna 5 (Benson 3, Skjold 2). Team fouls — Service 18, Soldotna 19. Fouled out — Hodson.

 

Saturday

Braves 44, Kardinals 36

Mt. Edgecumbe 8 18 10 8 —44

Kenai 6 11 10 9 —36

MT. EDGECUMBE (44) — Beaver 5 1-3 11, Tikium 0 1-2 1, Olson 1 0-0 2, R. Kewan 0 0-0 0, White 4 4-7 12, Demoski 1 5-6 7, S. Kewan 0 0-0 0, Martin 2 1-2 5, Fields 1 1-4 3, Weisz 1 1-2 3. Totals — 15 14-26 44.

KENAI (36) — Ostrander 0 0-0 0, English 0 0-0 0, Drury 0 0-0 0, Taylor 4 3-4 13, Steinbeck 0 1-2 1, Norvelle 1 1-2 3, Ross 6 3-3 16, Barcus 1 1-1 3, Every 0 0-0 0. Totals — 12 9-12 36.

3-point goals — Kenai 3 (Taylor 2, Ross). Team fouls — Mt. Edgecumbe 15, Kenai 18. Fouled out — none.

 

Bulldogs 51, Cougars 24

Service 8 4 3 9 —24

Nikiski 12 11 19 9 —51

SERVICE (24) — Nanez 3 3-6 9, Harris 1 0-0 2, Hodson 3 1-3 7, Battle 0 0-0 0, Pearce 0 0-2 0, Harrison-Soreson 1 0-2 2, Albee 1 0-0 2, Verable 0 0-0 0, Marsh 0 0-0 0, Thompson 1 0-2 2, Messier-Baker 0 0-1 0. Totals — 10 4-16 24.

NIKISKI (51) — Costello 0 0-0 0, Epperheimer 1 3-6 5, Litke 1 0-0 2, Lynch 0 2-8 2, Thompson 2 7-14 11, Cook 2 0-0 4, Wallis 2 1-4 5, Litzen 0 0-0 0, Darch 7 8-12 22. Totals 15 21-44 51.

3-point goals —none. Team fouls — Service 30, Nikiski 16. Fouled out — Nanez, Harris, Marsh.

 

Stars 67, Patriots 27

North Pole 5 10 7 5 —27

Soldotna 14 22 20 11 —67

NORTH POLE (27) — Smothers 0 1-4 1, Moisan 0 0-0 0, Broderick 2 0-1 5, Lenz 1 0-0 2, Croxen 5 0-3 13, Mulcare 1 0-0 2, Hutchinson 0 0-0 0, Stewart 2 0-0 4, Verney 0 0-0 0. Totals — 11 1-8 27.

SOLDOTNA (67) — Benson 4 0-1 9, Kress 1 0-0 2, Litchfield 7 3-3 18, Hendricks 1 0-0 2, Kerkvliet 4 0-0 8, Westerman 5 0-0 10, Skjold 7 3-4 18, Miller 0 0-0 0. Totals — 29 6-8 67.

3-point goals — North Pole 4 (Craxen 3, Broderick), Team fouls — North Pole 10, Soldotna 13. Fouled out — Smothers.

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