After losing a seven-point lead late in Tuesday night’s nonconference basketball game against Kenai Central, the Seward boys won 47-45 on a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by Michael Wolfe at Kenai Central High School.
Kenai had taken its first lead of the game with eight seconds to go on a long jumper from freshman Josh Jackman, and the ensuing inbounds pass was knocked out of bounds, then taken from midcourt, where Wolfe was able to find the ball and space from his defender and sink the perimeter shot.
“It was kind of a blur, mainly because ... my team trusted me to take the shot,” Wolfe said. “They were the ones to get us there. I think I just got lucky.”
Wolfe led all scorers with 21 points — including five 3s — while Kenai was led by Jonah Theisen with 11 points. Jackman added 10 as well.
“The final play was desperation, really,” said Seward coach Curtis Berry. “Really, where the game needed to be won, was when we were up by six or seven, our ball, and we made a couple of mistakes.
“Having the ability to come back and keep our composure, that’s a good quality to have.”
Kenai and Seward have not played each other in several years, but the visiting Seahawks have been able to establish themselves as contenders for another Class 3A state tournament appearance with a 4-2 overall record this season. Kenai dropped to a 1-3 record.
With 3:08 left in the game, Wolfe nailed a trey that put Seward up 44-37, and with less than 90 seconds remaining, Seward led by five and it still looked as though the Seahawks would escape with the win.
With 1:19 to go, Kenai’s Trevor Shirnberg hit a layup that closed the gap to three points, but Keith Ivy stole the ball on a Seward mistake on the inbounds pass for another quick layup, putting Kenai within one.
That setup the late go-ahead bucket from Jackman, putting the home crowd into a frenzy.
“One thing we told the kids was we don’t guard the inbounds pass,” said Kenai coach Ken Felchle. “We fall back to the guy on the block and we double-team him because we don’t want a lob coming over the top. As soon as the ball comes into play, now everyone becomes a threat, and we have to find our man quickly.
“We just allowed too much space and we stayed with that double team too long and didn’t find that man quick enough, and as a result he got a very high-quality shot.”
When Wolfe was able to find some space at the top of the key, the shot went uncontested into the basket, and the other end of the gym had their turn to go crazy.
Kenai will get its first taste of Northern Lights Conference play this weekend with games against Palmer and Wasilla on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Kenai girls 26, Seward 24
The Kenai girls hoops team nearly suffered the same fate earlier in the evening, holding off a late charge from Seward to clinch a nonconference win Tuesday at Kenai.
Senior Justice English led the home squad with 16 points, while Seward’s top scorer was Ashley VonBorstel with 13 points. VonBorstel led Seward’s late charge with nine points in the fourth quarter.
“We had an off night on offense,” said Seward coach Mark Clemens. “With nine seconds to go we had a shot there. Just didn’t go.”
Kenai’s stingy defense once again showed its face, holding Seward to only 13 points after three quarters of play — Seward shot 10-of-40 in the game overall — but the Seahawks began to find a groove, and with 56 seconds left in the game, Lindsey Kromrey sank a jumper that closed Kenai’s lead to 25-24.
With 27 seconds to go, Seward had a great opportunity to score denied by one of the unlikeliest of players. Seward’s inbounds pass from midcourt found Maria Jackson directly under the basket, but her layup was blocked by 5-foot-1 junior Allie Ostrander.
Kenai’s Hannah Barcus converted one of two free throws with nine seconds left, giving the Kards a two-point cushion, and Seward’s shot from beyond the arc at the buzzer went wide.
Kenai faces a challenging weekend of Northern Lights Conference action, starting with Palmer on Friday and Wasilla on Saturday.
Skyview girls 29, Homer 28
Joanne Glaves made a pair of foul shots with three seconds remaining to provide the decisive points for the Panthers on Tuesday in Southcentral Conference action in Homer.
Skyview moves to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the league. This is the Panthers’ first Southcentral win. The team went winless in its first year of Southcentral play last year.
The Panthers were up 19-9 at halftime, but Homer stormed back in the third quarter.
Skyview had the ball trailing by one point with 10 seconds left, and got up a shot. The shot missed, but Glaves got the offensive rebound and was fouled.
Sierra Mahan added eight points for Skyview. With normal scorers Hayley Ramsell, Sam Reynolds and Meghan Powers quiet, coach Kyle McFall said Glaves, Jaci Rouse and Mahan stepped up.
“It was huge, a road win and a conference win,” McFall said. “We don’t necessarily like how we played in the second half, but we were able to grind out a victory.
“We won ugly, but the important thing is we are learning to win.”
Homer boys 52, Skyview 45
The host Mariners gradually pulled away for a Southcentral Conference win Tuesday.
Micah Hilbish had 22 points for the Panthers, while Tim Duke added eight.
Skyview coach Jesse Settlemyer said the Mariners gradually pulled away from the Panthers. He said Skyview was hurt by foul trouble, with Homer shooting 30 free throws.
Seahawks 47, Kardinals 45
Seward 15 13 7 12 —47
Kenai 12 14 6 13 —45
SEWARD (47) — Wolfe 7 2-2 21, Marshall 1 0-1 3, Pahno 2 0-3 6, Berry 0 0-1 0, Sieverts 0 0-0 0, Broughton 4 1-2 9, Jackson 2 2-3 8. Totals 16 5-12 47.
KENAI (45) — Theisen 4 0-0 11, Glushkov 1 0-0 2, Shirnberg 2 0-0 4, McKee 0 0-0 0, Jackman 5 0-0 10, Saavedra 2 0-0 6, Ivy 4 0-0 9, Sepulveda 0 0-1 0, Foree 0 0-0 0, Jones 1 0-0 2, Wortham 1 0-0 2. Totals 19 0-1 45.
3-point field goals — Seward 10 (Wolfe 5, Jackson 2, Pahno 2, Marshall 1); Kenai 6 (Theisen 3, Saavedra 2, Ivy 1).
Kardinals 26, Seahawks 24
Seward 5 3 5 11 —24
Kenai 7 7 8 4 —26
SEWARD (24) — VonBorstel6 0-0 13, I. Anderson 0 0-0 0, Kromrey 3 1-2 7, C. Anderson 0 1-2 1, Stallings 0 0-0 0, Jackson 0 0-0 0, Whiteshield 1 1-4 3. Totals — 10 3-8 24.
KENAI (26) – Ostrander 0 0-0 0, English 7 1-2 16, Drury 1 0-0 2, A. Steinbeck 0 0-0 0, C. Steinbeck 1 0-0 2, Barcus 1 1-4 3, Beck 0 0-2 0, Every 1 1-2 3. Totals — 11 3-10 26.
3-point goals — Seward 1 (VonBorstel); Kenai 1 (English). Team fouls — Seward 10, Kenai 10. Fouled out — none.