SoHi cagers split with Kodiak

Led by sneak attacks and superb shooting, the Soldotna girls basketball team took a convincing 69-39 win over Northern Lights Conference opponent Kodiak on Friday night at SoHi.


The Stars followed that up with a 41-36 victory over the Bears on Saturday, with Kailee Skjold scoring 17 points and Kelci Benson adding 10.

The victories improve the Lady Stars’ record to 13-8 as the high school hoops season enters the final month of action.

On Friday night, Katelynn Kerkvliet pumped in 17 points on 8-for-12 shooting to lead Soldotna, and teammates Kelci Benson and Julie Litchfield each added 13. Kodiak's top scorer was Jerica Nelson with 10 points.

"I thought our defense was good tonight. We didn't get off them and didn't let them get any momentum, which helped," SoHi coach Doug Blossom said. "I'm positive. One thing I really liked seeing tonight was three of our main ball-handlers getting assists."

The Stars found a lot of success moving the ball on Friday, as Kaillee Skjold provided seven assists, Litchfield had five and Benson had four.

"When they're getting the ball to the other kids, it makes us a tougher team."

SoHi got off to a hot start with a 20-7 run to start the game in the first quarter. Kerkvliet hit all four shots she attempted.

In the second quarter, SoHi scored 13 unanswered points enroute to a 33-14 halftime lead.

Litchfield was the one with the hot hand in the third quarter, hitting all three of her field goal attempts to notch seven points, which helped Soldotna to a 22-point performance in the third.

Blossom said he still has the confidence in his team that he's had since the beginning.

"I thought that our weekend at the Dimond tournament (last week), things were starting to turn around, even though we lost two of the four games," Blossom said. "The two we lost, one was by three points, one was by four points, and we scored 47 points in one and 48 in the other, so even in those two losses, our scoring has been much better.

"I'd rather be starting to play some of our best ball now than a month ago."

Kodiak boys 66, Soldotna 46

The Soldotna boys suffered at the sharp-shooting hands of Kodiak on Friday night, dropping their conference game against the Bears. The Stars also lost Saturday, but the score was much closer.

Austin Frick led the way for Kodiak, hitting four three's and scoring 13 points, while teammates Jemuel Medina and Elijah Hiner each chipped in 12.

"(Shooting) was the difference in the game," said Kodiak coach David Anderson. "We upped our ante here after the last couple games we played, where we took Colony to overtime and lost by one, then Palmer last week where we lost in overtime."

Soldotna's leading scorer was Cory Carver with 14 points, and teammate Daniel McElroy followed with 12.
"Just speeding the game up really benefits us, getting down the court, and we have great shooters," Anderson said.

SoHi started slow, with only two points in the first quarter, and trailing 27-14 at halftime.

"I thought we let their shooters get some easy looks early that got them going, and once they get going they shoot well," said SoHi coach Matt Johnson. "They also have three or four kids that can really break it down off the boards, and I thought our rotations were kind of slow."

The closest the Stars came to recovering from the deficit in the second half was when Noah Fowler sunk a jumper with 5 minutes, 22 seconds left in the third quarter, closing the gap to 12.

The only problem was that every time Soldotna managed to score, Kodiak had an answer to it, as Medina and Frick received numerous layups and open jumpers. Kodiak put up 25 points in the third quarter.

"It's a team concept, is what it comes down to, and it comes down to each guy doing their job covering their man, and I thought we did a poor job at containing penetration," Johnson said. "Early on, I thought we had good looks, but it just wasn't working."

It's also been a while since the Stars have played. The last time the Soldotna boys saw action was against Seward on Jan. 29, getting a 55-35 win.

"We've had a long layoff, so it almost had the feeling of playing the first game of the year, so it was kind of weird," Johnson said. "It's been a full two and a half weeks. We were kind of thrown off."

Soldotna (9-10 overall) will get a chance at redemption on Saturday as they will play Kodiak  again at SoHi.

Friday girls
Stars 69, Bears 39
Soldotna    20    13    22    14    —69
Kodiak    7    7    12    13    —39
SOLDOTNA (69) — Kerkvliet 8 1-3 17, Benson 5 0-0 13, Litchfield 5 3-3 13, Skjold 3 2-4 8, Prior 0 0-0 0, Kress 0 0-0 0, Wong 4 2-4 10, Blossom 0 0-0 0, Hendricks 0 2-2 2, Westerman 2 0-0 4, Miller 1 0-0 2. Totals 28 10-16 69.
KODIAK (39) — Nelson 3 2-4 10, Cannon 2 3-5 8, Fabricante 0 0-2 0, Horn 2 2-3 6, Eng 2 1-2 6, Catt 0 1-2 1, Patterson 2 0-0 4, Hiner 0 0-0 0, Pyles 2 0-1 4. Totals 13 9-19 39.
3-point goals — Soldotna 3 (Benson 3); Kodiak 4 (Nelson 2, Cannon 1, Eng 1).
Team fouls — Soldotna 16; Kodiak 9. Fouled out — none.

Friday boys
Bears 66, Stars 46
Kodiak    13    14    25    14    —66
Soldotna    2    12    19    13    —46
KODIAK (66) — Frick 4 1-5 13, Mangalus 2 0-0 4, Medina 5 2-4 12, Jimenez 2 2-2 7, Obas 3 2-2 8, Lenon 2 0-0 4, Hall 2 0-0 4, Hiner 5 2-3 12, Garacia 0 2-2 2. Totals 25 11-18 66.
SOLDOTNA (46) — Carver 4 3-4 14, McElroy 6 0-2 12, Tovoli 1 0-0 2, Penrod 2 1-2 5, Young 3 0-0 7, Conradi 1 0-1 2, Kruse 0 0-0 0, Martin 0 0-0 0, Fowler 2 0-2 4. Totals 19 4-11 46.
3-point goals — Soldotna 4 (Carver 3, Young 1); Kodiak 5 (Frick 4, Jimenez 1).
Team fouls — Soldotna 13; Kodiak 13. Fouled out — none.


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