SoHi girls top defending champs Wasilla to win Doc Larson tourney

WASILLA — After Soldotna graduated three starters, some might assume the Stars might take a hit in the Northern Lights Conference season. But opponents can’t forget about the three big pieces still left in the Soldotna program.


Katelynn Kerkvliet, Kelci Benson and Julie Litchfield all scored in double digits and Kerkvliet pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds to lead the Stars to a 57-51 win over host Wasilla during the championship game of Doc Larson’s Roundball Classic at Wasilla High School Saturday.

Kerkvliet, the most valuable player of the four-team, round-robin tournament, scored nine of her 11 points during the first half. Benson and Litchfield, both all-tourney selections, combined for 27 second-half points.

Benson and Litchfield also helped Soldotna put together a key six-point run at the end of the half. SoHi trailed 24-18 during the final moments, before the run. Litchfield went to the basket during the rally. She also grabbed a steal at the defensive end, to set up a fast-break basket for Benson.

“We had a few turnovers,” Wasilla head coach Jennie Hebert-Truax said.

But beyond the turnovers, the longtime Warrior mentor noted the opportunities that her team allowed Soldotna to have.

“We gave them way too many open shots in my opinion,” Hebert-Truax said. “We let them get to the basket.”

Soldotna shot 50 percent from the field in the second half, and Benson and Litchfield led Soldotna during its big fourth quarter. Benson hit three timely 3-pointers during the fourth. Litchfield, who finished 10 of 17 from the floor, scored eight points in the fourth.

Two of her 3-pointers turned a one-point deficit into a five-point advantage. With the Stars trailing by one, Benson buried a 3 to give Soldotna the 40-38 lead. Moments later, Benson knocked down another shot from beyond the arc to push her team’s lead to 43-38.

Benson’s third 3-pointer of the fourth also gave Soldotna a five-point lead. Wasilla’s Catherine Baham cut SoHi’s advantage to 47-45, and Benson followed with a 3-pointer to give her team a 50-45 lead.

Both Soldotna and Wasilla took a hit with graduation last year. But Wasilla graduated all five starters from a team that captured the program’s third straight 4A state title last season. Hebert-Truax, which returned only three players with any varsity experience, used the tournament as a way to get her new players experience. Ten different players hit the court Saturday against Soldotna. Hebert-Truax played 14 players during a lopsided win over Galena on Friday.

Of the 10 who played Saturday, four were freshman. One freshman, McKenna Dinkel, started and saw 24 minutes of playing time. Baham, another freshman, was on the floor for nearly 17 minutes. Some coaches try to avoid seeing a conference rival in a nonconference tournament, but Hebert-Truax said she’s not fixated on the fact Soldotna is a Northern Lights Conference rival.

“My philosophy is if you’re going to get better, you’ve got to play the top teams. I think Soldotna is one of the top five, six teams in the state right now,” she said.

Senior Shayla Johnson hit six 3-pointers and led Soldotna with 18 points. Senior Amanda Hutchins added six points, four rebounds and three assists for Wasilla. Johnson and Hutchins were both named all-tournament.

It will not be long before the NLC rivals meet again. SoHi returns to the Valley to face Wasilla on Saturday at WHS.

Soldotna girls 45, Juneau 31

Sparked by stifling defense, Soldotna scored a 45-31 win over Juneau-Douglas during the second day of Doc Larson’s Roundball Classic at Wasilla High School Friday.

Soldotna forced 21 turnovers and held Juneau to less than 30 percent shooting in the game. Juneau managed only two field goals and seven first-half points.

Kerkvliet helped Soldotna improved to 2-0 in the round-robin tourney with 16 points and eight rebounds. Haley Miller added 11 points and four rebounds. Litchfield grabbed a game-best 12 boards.

Benson knocked down a trio of 3’s for SoHi.


Doc Larson’s Roundball Classic

Saturday, Wasilla High

Stars 57, Warriors 51

Soldotna 10 16 11 20 —57

Wasilla 14 10 14 13 —51

Soldotna (57) — Benson 5 5-6 18, Litchfield 10 4-7 24, Wong 1 0-0 2, Hendrick 0 1-2 1, Kerkvliet 4 3-5 11, Miller 0 1-2 1. Totals 20 14-22 57.

Wasilla (51) — Heath 1 0-1 2, Johnson 6 0-0 18, Baham 3 1-2 8, Toews 2 0-0 4, Hutchins 3 0-0 6, Dinkel 2 3-4 7, Edwards 3 0-0 6. Totals 20 4-7 51.

3-point field goals — Soldotna 3 (Benson 3); Wasilla 7 (Johnson 6). Total fouls — Soldotna 14, Wasilla 20


Friday, Wasilla High School

Stars 45, Crimson Bears 31

Soldotna 15 13 6 11 —45

Juneau 5 2 6 16 —31

SOLDOTNA (45) — Benson 3 0-0 9, M. Wong 3 0-2 6, L. Wong 1 1-2 3, Kerkvliet 6 4-6 16, Miller 5 1-4 11; Totals: 18 6-16 45.

JUNEAU (31) — Kelly 3 4-10 10, McKeowen 1 0-0 2, Fogg 1 1-2 4, Roldan 1 0-1 2, Fagerstrom 4 1-2 10, Heisendorf 1 1-3 3; Totals: 11 7-21 31.

3-point field goals — Soldotna 3 (Benson 3), Juneau 2 (Fogg, Fagerstrom 1); Total fouls: Soldotna 21, Juneau 12.


Wed, 06/20/2018 - 00:44

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