Nikiski hoops sweep Houston, Seward

The Nikiski boys are rolling up some momentum at just the right time.

 

Following up a crucial victory Tuesday night over Homer, the Bulldogs prevailed 48-28 Friday night at home over Houston and 57-50 on Saturday against Seward, lifting their Southcentral Conference record to 7-5 and their overall mark to 9-13.

Homer and Nikiski both finish at 7-5 in the conference, but Nikiski coach Reid Kornstad said the Mariners own the tiebreaker.

Still, Kornstad and the Bulldogs are feeling good.

“It feels like we’re about to peak at the right time,” Kornstad said. “They’re playing the best basketball that they have all season.”

Friday, junior Jace Kornstad provided a spark with 20 points for Nikiski, connecting on four 3-pointers on the night. Kornstad had 15 by halftime and said the Bulldogs’ attempt to quicken the pace worked well.

“We’ve been working on that in practice, getting faster,” Kornstad said. “We moved the ball more and had a lot of patience and good on-ball defense.”

Kornstad said the emergence of several improved players like Noah and Tyler Litke and Garrett Ellis has been a nice addition to the older veterans like Ian Johnson and Cody Handley. Johnson finished with 13 points Friday.

“I like how we’re playing,” Kornstad said. “We have some good chemistry.”

Houston, which dropped to 1-8 in the conference and 3-15 overall, got 12 points from Cameron Wyrick.

Nikiski squirted out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter and extended it to 13-3 by the end of the frame with a late corner 3 from Ellis.

Kornstad hit a trey of his own late in the second quarter to push the lead to 18-9, then added a driving layup with an assist from Johnson and a Noah Litke layup made it 22-9 with 2:11 left in the first half. Another corner 3 and a driving layup from Kornstad in the final 35 seconds left the lead at 27-12 at the break.

Litke swished in a triple from the corner in the first minute of the third quarter to get Nikiski going after the break, and the Bulldogs used a 7-0 run at the end of the third to go up 37-15.

A corner 3 from Kornstad with three minutes left in the fourth essentially provided the dagger moment.

Saturday, Seward led 13-7 after the first quarter, but Nikiski led 26-22 at halftime and 43-32 after three quarters.

Noah Litke had 19 points for the Bulldogs, while Jace Kornstad had 14 points and Ian Johnson added 13 points.

For Seward, Zen Petrosius had 19 and Connor Spanos added 10.

Nikiski girls 64, Houston 23

Bethany Carstens fueled the Bulldogs to another Southcentral Conference win Friday night at home with 36 points. The victory lifted Nikiski to 9-2 in the conference, solidly in second place, and 18-3 overall.

Carstens poured in 26 points by halftime and finished the night a perfect 11 for 11 from the free-throw line. Carstens also reached the 1,000-point mark in her prep career, doing so in 46 games, just less than two seasons for her. Carstens missed her freshman campaign to injury.

Nikiski head coach Scott Anderson said Carstens has been a big part of the team since her first year at Nikiski.

“She’s a scorer,” Anderson said. “She looks for her opportunities and takes them.”

In averaging a little over 20 points per game in her career, Carstens has often been the go-to player in Nikiski’s system, but both her and Anderson know that the Bulldogs feature a pass attack that will leave opponents breathless in short order. Friday night against a winless Houston squad, Anderson said Carstens was able to free herself more.

“Tonight was a chance for her to work through screens, because teams like to really box her in and she can feel a bit overwhelmed with that,” he said.

The Hawks dropped to 0-10 in the conference and 0-21 overall, and were paced Friday by Mary Graham, who notched six of her seven points in the first quarter.

It didn’t take long for the Bulldogs to distance themselves. Carstens drilled three triples in the first quarter to put Nikiski on top 18-4 in the first seven minutes, adding to a pair of transition layups.

Once it was clear that Carstens was not going to be stopped, Houston began turning up the pressure, leading to fouls. In the second quarter alone, Carstens hit seven free throws, helping to push the lead to 30-11 with three minutes left in the half.

Nikiski led 35-12 at halftime, and a jumper by Carstens in the opening two minutes of the third quarter continued the momentum. Emma Wik and Kaycee Bostic also got buckets to go, with Kaitlyn Johnson and America Jeffreys playing supportive roles, each doling out numerous assists.

Anderson said it is this team cohesiveness that has him feeling confident about his team’s chances leading into the Southcentral Conference tournament next weekend. As the No. 2 seed, Nikiski could face Houston again in the first round.

“We were moving the ball and being patient,” he said. “And we were able to get other kids looks.”

A baseline layup by Carstens at the third-quarter buzzer provided the Bulldogs a 53-20 lead, all but assuring Nikiski the victory.

Nikiski girls 61, Seward 16

The Bulldogs moved to 10-2 and 19-3 with a big Saturday home victory over the Seahawks.

Nikiski put nine players in the scoring column: Bethany Carstens with 15, American Jeffreys and Emma Wik with 13, Kaycee Bostic and Angela Druesdow with six, Kaitlyn Johnson with three, Lillian Carstens and Bailey Epperheimer with two and Rylee Jackson with one.

Homer girls 52, Seward 22

The host Mariners notched a Southcentral Conference victory over the Seahawks on Friday.

Alissa Cole paced the Mariners with 20 points. Homer, which also received 11 points from Rylee Doughty, jumped out to a 10-4 lead after a quarter and then led 29-12 at halftime.

Seward was led by 12 points from Coral Petrosius.

Homer boys 70, Seward 38

The host Mariners rolled to a Southcentral Conference victory over the Seahawks on Friday.

Homer led 15-8 after a quarter and 33-18 at halftime.

Koby Etzwiler poured in 24 points to lead Homer, while Stanley Swoboda had 12, Japheth McGhee had 11 and Joel Carroll had 10.

For Seward, Zen Petrosius had 16 points, while Connor Spanos pitched in 12.

Friday girls

Bulldogs 64, Hawks 23

Houston 6 6 8 3 —23

Nikiski 18 17 18 11 —64

HOUSTON (23) — Malidore 1 2-5 4, Graham 3 1-5 7, Davis 0 0-0 0, Crowford 0 0-0 0, Whitted 2 0-1 5, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Winzenberg 1 0-2 2, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Ritchie 2 1-2 5, Hull 0 0-0 0, Luafulu 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 4-15 23.

NIKISKI (64) — Jeffreys 1 1-2 3, Wik 3 1-4 7, L. Carstens 1 2-2 4, Bostic 2 2-2 6, Johnson 0 0-0 0, B. Carstens 11 11-11 36, Epperheimer 0 0-0 0, Druesedow 2 3-4 8, Glaves 0 0-0 0, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 20-25 64.

3-point goals — Houston 1 (Whitted); Nikiski 4 (B. Carstens 3, Druesedow 1).

Team fouls — Houston 21, Nikiski 16. Fouled out — Graham, Winzenberg.

Mariners 52, Seahawks 22

Seward 4 8 1 9 — 22

Homer 10 19 13 10 — 52

SEWARD (22) — Dow 0 0-0 0, Terry 1 0-0 3, Von Borstel 1 0-2 3, Sieverts 1 0-0 2, Sullivan 1 0-0 2, Cassagranda 0 0-0 0, Petrosius 5 2-3 12. Totals — 9 2-5 22.

HOMER (52) — Bales 0 0-0 0, A. Godfrey 3 0-0 6, Bishop 0 0-0 0, G. Godfrey 1 1-3 3, Doughty 5 1-3 11, Todd 1 3-4 5, Parish 0 0-0 0, Carroll 1 0-0 2, Veldstra 2 0-0 4, Cole 9 1-2 20, Box 0 1-2 1. Totals — 22 7-14 52.

3-point goals — Seward 2 (Terry, Von Borstel); Homer 1 (Cole). Team fouls — Seward 15, Homer 11. Fouled out — Sullivan.

Friday boys

Bulldogs 48, Hawks 28

Houston 3 9 3 13 —28

Nikiski 13 14 10 11 —48

HOUSTON (28) — Wyrick 4 2-5 12, Wilson 0 0-0 0, Sasiu 1 3-4 5, Welsh 0 0-0 0, Warner 0 0-0 0, Croghan 1 0-0 3, Mulhaney 2 0-0 5, Mose 1 0-1 2, Mulhaney 0 0-2 0, Graham 0 1-2 1, Ritter 0 0-0 0, Croghan 0 0-2 0. Totals 9 6-16 28.

NIKISKI (48) — Johnson 5 3-5 13, Weathers 0 2-2 2, Ellis 1 0-1 3, Kornstad 8 0-0 20, T. Litke 1 0-0 2, Handley 1 1-4 3, N. Litke 2 0-0 5, Mysing 0 0-0 0, DeSiena 0 0-0 0, Bridges 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 6-12 48.

3-point goals — Houston 4 (Wyrick 2, Croghan 1, Mulhaney 1); Nikiski 6 (Kornstad 4, Ellis 1, N. Litke 1).

Team fouls — Houston 11, Nikiski 18. Fouled out — none.

Mariners 70, Seahawks 38

Seward 8 10 11 9 — 38

Homer 15 18 10 27 — 70

SEWARD (38) — Koster 0 0-0 0, Moriarity 0 1-2 1, S. Estes 0 0-0 0, C. Estes 1 0-0 2, Ingalls 0 0-0 0, Spanos 5 1-1 12, Pfeiffenberger 1 0-0 2, Jarvis 2 1-3 5, McMurray 0 0-0 0, Petrosius 8 0-0 16. Totals — 17 3-6 38.

HOMER (70) — Rohr 2 0-0 5, C. Beachy 0 0-0 0, Etzwiler 7 4-4 24, Adkins 0 0-0 0, Reutov 2 0-0 4, Carroll 5 0-1 10, Anderson 1 0-0 2, Davis 1 0-0 2, J. Beachy 5 0-0 11, McGhee 5 3-5 12, Swoboda 0 0-0 0. Totals — 28 7-10 70.

3-point goals — Seward 1 (Spanos); Homer 8 (Etzwiler 6, Rohr, Beachy). Team fouls — Seward 12, Homer 9. Fouled out — none.

Saturday boys

Bulldogs 57, Seahawks 50

Seward 13 9 10 18 — 50

Nikiski 7 19 17 14 — 57

SEWARD (50) — Koster 0 0-2 0, Moriarity 0 0-0 0, S. Estes 1 0-0 3, C. Estes 2 1-3 5, Ingalls 0 0-0 0, Spanos 5 0-0 10, Pfeiffenberger 3 0-0 7, Jarvis 2 2-3 6, Petrosius 8 3-6 19. Totals — 21 6-14 50.

NIKISKI (57) — Johnson 4 5-6 13, Weathers 0 0-0 0, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Kornstad 4 2-2 14, T. Litke 1 0-1 2, Handley 3 0-0 7, N. Litke 7 2-2 19, Bridges 0 0-0 0, Sullenger 0 0-0 0. Totals — 20 9-11 57.

3-point goals — Seward 2 (S. Estes, Pfeiffenberger); Nikiski 8 (Kornstad 4, N. Litke 3, Handley). Team fouls — Seward 14, Nikiski 12. Fouled out — none.

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