Nikiski, Seward split in Saturday hoops action

The Nikiski girls basketball rallied back from a deficit in the fourth quarter and beat the Seward Seahawks 34-29 on Friday night at Nikiski in a game when points were at a premium.


The Bulldogs kept their season rolling with the win and improved their overall record to 14-5, and 6-2 in the Southcentral Conference. The victory also extended their win streak to seven straight.

The loss leaves Seward with a 4-2 conference record.

“We really battled through a lot of things,” Nikiski coach Scott Anderson said. “One of the things the girls have been learning to do throughout the year is to compete and really be at their best selves all the time. Sometimes we pressure ourselves and we have some self-doubt, but they did a nice job of stepping up and saying we’re going to get this done.”

Seward was the better team early in the game, but neither team was scoring much. The Seahawks led 16-11 at halftime, and in the third quarter, only seven points were scored between the two teams.

“It was just a battle to try and score points,” Anderson said. “I think we shot 8-for-53, so anytime you win a game shooting 8-for-53 you should feel pretty happy, and a lot of those didn’t even come until the fourth quarter.”

The Bulldogs managed to stay within striking distance of the Seahawks, and when the fourth quarter rolled around, Nikiski struck.

Nikiski scored more points in the fourth quarter than it had all game, and it started when Rachel Thompson hit a big 3-pointer 20 seconds into the period to tie the game at 19. Thompson led Nikiski with 11 points and five rebounds, and teammate Alyssa Darch had seven points and grabbed 14 boards.

After Seward’s Tessa Adelmann had a free throw, Taylor Holloway knocked down a jumper with 6:18 remaining in the game to give Nikiski the lead for good. The shot began a 7-0 Nikiski run, and the two teams combined for 29 points in the fourth quarter.

Adelmann ended with eight points, while teammate Ashley VonBorstel led Seward with nine.

Seward coach Mark Clemens said the difference in the game was the 16 points Nikiski got from the free throw line.

“When they have 16 points from free throws, it’ll hurt you,” Clemens said. “We were being a little aggressive on reaching in and it cost us fouls.

“It was an important game, they move to 6-2 in regions and we’re 4-2. We got to catch back up.”

As the region tournament approaches, Nikiski seems a strong contender to advance to the state tournament with the record the Bulldogs have, but Anderson isn’t worried about the postseason yet.

“We’ve been talking about the fact that we want to play every game and enjoy every game, because if you put all the emphasis on the end, you’re going to miss all the fun during the season,” he said. “But we have talked about it and we’re taking it one game at a time, but we also know that it’s coming up and we have to be at our best.”

Nikiski faces a tough test on Monday when the Bulldogs play the Soldotna girls at 6 p.m. at Nikiski.

Seward boys 67, Nikiski 34

Like the girls, the Nikiski boys also scored 34 points, but that won’t work when your opponent puts up 67. The Seahawks almost doubled Nikiski’s points on Friday night en route to the win in Southcentral Conference action.

Matthew Moore led the Seahawks with 20 points, and teammate Jeff Buchanan added 13.

“Seward was just on fire,” Nikiski coach Reid Kornstad said. “They shot over 50 percent. It’s hard to deal with that.”

Seward wasted no time in building a lead, scoring 26 points to Nikiski’s seven in the first quarter. Buchanan had all six of his field goal shots (13 points) in the first period.

By halftime, the Seahawks had 42 points and a 27-point lead.

“It was defense. We try to put a lot of emphasis on defense, and we wanted to try and shut them down,” said Seward coach Curtis Berry. “Offense usually takes care of itself. It’s usually on or it’s off, and last night (against Skyview) was an example of the off variety. We shot 22 percent from the field, and they played well.”

Seward dropped its conference matchup 48-46 with Skyview on Friday, and decided to make up for on Saturday.

“We talked before the game about everyone playing together and we’ve struggled with that sometimes,” Berry said. “But when we got guys coming off the bench and doing their job, we go into halftime and how can you be negative about that?”

Nikiski attempted a rally by outscoring Seward 12-8 in the third quarter, helped by Seth Carstens’ shooting, but Seward ended the game with a 17-point fourth-quarter performance. Carstens ended with 12 points to lead the Bulldogs.

Seward is currently 5-1 in the conference, and Berry said if his team plays like they did on Saturday, a state berth is possible.

“If this is an indication, then yes. If this is a blip on the radar, and we have performance like last night, then the answer is no,” he said. “This is high school basketball, so we want to take them one at a time.”


Saturday girls

Bulldogs 34, Seahawks 29

Nikiski 4 7 4 19 —34

Seward 7 9 3 10 —29

NIKISKI (34) — Thompson 2 5-9 11, Epperheimer 1 2-2 4, Lynch 2 0-0 4, Holloway 2 2-6 6, Cook 0 0-0 0, Wallis 0 0-1 0, Darch 0 7-10 7. Totals 8 16-28 34.

SEWARD (29) — VonBorstel 4 0-0 9, Adelmann 2 2-4 8, Perea 1 0-0 2, Clemens 2 0-0 4, Kromrey 0 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-1 0, Whiteshield 1 0-0 2, Brockman 2 0-0 4. Totals 12 2-5 29.

3-point goals — Nikiski 2 (Thompson 2); Seward 3 (Adelmann 2, VonBorstel 1).

Team fouls — Nikiski 11; Seward 20. Fouled out — none.


Saturday boys

Seahawks 67, Bulldogs 34

Seward 26 16 8 17 —67

Nikiski 7 8 12 7 —34

SEWARD (67) — Moore 8 2-2 20, Buchanan 6 0-0 13, Marshall 3 0-0 5, Pahno 1 6-8 8, Thomassen 3 1-2 7, Atherton 2 0-0 5, Berry 0 2-2 2, Wolfe 1 4-5 6, Ivy 0 1-2 1, Broughton 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 16-21 67.

NIKISKI (34) — Carstens 6 0-1 12, Li. Johnson 0 3-6 3, Lu. Johnson 1 0-0 3, Hartley 1 0-0 2, Ross 2 2-2 6, Griffith 3 0-2 6, Wallis 1 0-0 2, Stangel 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0. Totals 14 5-11 34.

3-point goals — Seward 5 (Moore 2, Buchanan 1, Marshall 1, Atherton 1); Nikiski 1 (Lu. Johnson).

Team fouls — Seward 9; Nikiski 19. Fouled out — Carstens.


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