Kardinals take out Seahawks

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2007

Despite beating Seward by 29 points in the season opener, Kenai boys coach Jim Beeson didn’t think Thursday night’s contest against the Seahawks would be as simple.

Unfortunately, he was right.

Somehow, though, the Kardinals still found a way to win.

Juniors Daniel Gustkey and Cory Toombs scored 18 and 17 points, respectively, and Kenai forced 26 turnovers en route to a 64-51 victory in the opening round of the Subway SoHi 2007 Tip-Off Tournament.

“We didn’t practice well (Wednesday) night. I told a couple of people I talked to on the phone (Wednesday) night, I told them we were not going to play well. We practiced terrible,” Beeson said. “I just didn’t think we were going to come out and play very well. Unfortunately, we proved me right.”

The Kardinals (3-0) off night could also be attributed to the long layoff they endured since their last game against Skyview on Dec. 15 when they shot around 40 percent from the field.

On Thursday, Kenai was only 19-of-65 (29 percent).

“We were just out of sorts the whole night. Whether it was shooting the basketball, rebounding the basketball, playing defense ... some of that I guess we can attribute to not having played in three weeks,” Beeson said. “Coming back after not playing for that length of time is just like starting over again.

“We obviously didn’t play our best basketball, but to win the basketball game, that’s what I told the kids,” he added. “We just played terrible. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We didn’t rebound the ball well. But we played well enough to win the game and that’s what we have to take from it.”

In other opening round action, Skyview topped Nikiski, 45-28; Homer edged Kodiak, 66-64; and Soldotna defeated Seldovia, 87-14.

Trailing by one at halftime, the Kardinals jumped in front only 11 seconds into the third quarter on a bucket by Nathan Byrd, but the Seahawks quickly answered when senior Caleb Adelman netted two of his game-high 29 points, regaining a 29-28 Seahawks’ lead.

But Kenai — who will take on Soldotna in the second round today at 8:15 p.m. — finally found its stroke, stringing together a 7-0 run and eventually owned a 50-42 lead after three periods.

A miserable fourth quarter ensued for both squads, though, as Kenai connected on only 2-of-8 shots, one by Nate Saltzgiver, who collected 13 points, while Seward sank a mere 3-of-18.

“You’ve got to give them credit because I think they caused some havoc with their defense and as a result, that gave them some good transition offense,” said Seward coach Dan Krier, whose team plays Seldovia today at 4:45 p.m.

Billy Beck banked in a jumper to give the Seahawks an 8-2 lead midway through the opening period, but five turnovers allowed the Kardinals to crawl back and own a 12-10 lead after eight minutes.

Gustkey then sank two 3-pointers and added two free throws to help Kenai maintain its two-point advantage with 4:55 to play in the first half. That lead dwindled as Beck notched three more points and Adelman added three of his own in the final 1:14 for the one-point halftime edge.

Krier was pleased with his team’s man-to-man defense Thursday night after having played zone in the teams’ first matchup.

“I was happy with our man-to-man defense for the first two-and-a-half quarters,” he explained. “The other thing is, the biggie is, if we hit some shots, a couple of 3s in the first half and a couple of our 3s in in the second half, we probably win the game.”

There’s little question, however, as to what the difference was.

“We had way too many turnovers,” Krier said matter-of-factly. “You can’t turn the ball over like that and win a game. Bottom line.”

Skyview 45, Nikiski 28

It didn’t seem to matter when Skyview’s Richie Shirnberg missed a shot.

He was always there to follow it up.

The 6-foot-4 junior scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down an exorbitant amount of rebounds in leading Skyview to a dominating victory Thursday night.

From the opening possession, there was no doubt where the ball would be going most of the game, as Shirnberg collected nine of the Panthers’ first 12 points in guiding them to a 16-3 lead after the first period.

“We will ride him. He’s our horse. Everybody knows it,” said first-year Skyview coach Red Goodwin. “But the key to it is we’ve got other options. We just need to develop them. And they’ll come along.”

But when Shirnberg wasn’t on the floor, the Panthers (2-1) looked rather lost.

He started the second quarter on the bench and the Bulldogs (0-2) outscored the Skyview 4-2. Kenny Fagan led the Bulldogs with 11 points.

“We were definitely calling plays on the offensive end to try to take advantage of mismatches while he was out,” said Nikiski coach Reid Kornstad, whose team plays Kodiak today at 3 p.m.

He re-entered with 4:14 remaining in the half, but didn’t make much noise as the Panthers held on for a 20-9 edge at the break.

The third quarter, however, was a different story.

Shirnberg strung together six consecutive points and senior Gregor Bosick added three of his nine points for a commanding 38-18 lead entering the final frame.

It didn’t take long for Shirnberg to dazzle the crowd again.

Only 24 seconds in the quarter, he received a pass in the paint and spun through the air with two men draped over him, sinking the bucket and drawing the foul.

“Every single time,” Goodwin said of when they want to get Shirnberg the ball. “The tough part is balancing that in keeping the other kids’ heads in the game. But they know who our horse is. Again, we don’t want to be one-dimensional.”

Other than shooting nearly 30 percent for the game, the Panthers — who will take on Homer in the second round today at 6:30 p.m. — only committed 13 turnovers, six occurring after the bench was emptied.

“Development of understanding of the game and turnovers, but they go hand in hand,” Goodwin said of keys to their success. “As we get a better understanding of the game, turnovers will go down because we know where the ball needs to go.

“For this team, it’s about development. It truly is. Each step along the way, it’s about development,” he added. “And we’re getting there. They’re starting to recognize where our strengths are. It’s inside.”

Homer 66, Kodiak 64

After owning a 48-41 edge after three quarters, Homer was outscored 23-18 by Kodiak in the fourth but held on for the victory Thursday night.

Senior Jesse Leman led the Mariners with 25 points, seniors Taylor Layland and Noah McWilliams each collected 11 and junior Deonte Powe added 10.

Senior Curtis Catt scored a game-high 27 points for the Bears in the loss, while senior Michael Thomas notched 16.

Soldotna 87, Seldovia 14

The Stars jumped out to a 33-2 lead after the first eight minutes and never looked back in pounding Seldovia on Thursday night.

Senior Kelly Seggerman paced SoHi with 24 points, junior Brad Blossom scored 15, senior Tony Besse added 14 and junior Larsen Kohler chipped in 13.

Junior Levi Harkness scored nine points for the Sea Otters in the loss.

Matthew Carroll can be reached at matthew.carroll @peninsulaclarion.com.

Thursday boys

KARDINALS 64, SEAHAWKS 51

Kenai 12 14 24 14 — 64

Seward 10 17 15 9 — 51

SEWARD (51) — Beck 3 3-6 9, Price 1 0-2 2, Olsen 1 0-0 3, Cinerski 1 1-1 3, Perea 1 1-3 3, Long 0 0-0 0, O’Brikis 1 0-0 2, Adelman 12 5-6 29. Totals — 20 10-18 51.

KENAI (64) — Saltzgiver 4 5-6 13. Toombs 4 6-8 17, Beeson 2 1-2 5, Ellis 0 2-2 4, Gustkey 6 5-8 18, Byrd 3 1-2 7, Chimpalee 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 20-28 64.

3-point goals — Seward 1 (Olsen), Kenai 4 (Toombs 3, Gustkey 1). Total fouls — Seward 22, Kenai 20. Fouled out — Beck, O’Brikis.

PANTHERS 45, BULLDOGS 28

Nikiski 3 6 9 10 — 28

Skyview 16 4 18 7 — 45

NIKISKI (28) — Olson 0 2-4 2, Smith 1 2-2 4, Wik 1 0-0 2, Fagan 4 3-9, 11, Wheeler 0 0-0 0, Cook 0 3-4 3, Vance 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 2-2 2, Payment 2 0-1 4, Burns 0 0-0 0. Totals — 8 12-22 28.

SKYVIEW (45) — West 1 0-2 3, Daltman 0 0-0 0, Hatten 1 0-0 2, Duke 0 1-2 1, Nelson 0 0-1 0, Bosick 3 2-2 9, Blossom 2 4-8 8, Singleton 0 0-0 0, Shirnberg 10 2-3 22. Totals — 17 9-18 45.

3-point goals — Skyview 2 (West, Bosick). Total fouls — Nikiski 17, Skyview 18. Fouled out — Cook.

MARINERS 66, BEARS 64

Homer 15 14 19 18 — 66

Kodiak 17 8 16 23 — 64

HOMER (66) — Ketelle 1 0-0 3, Sutherland 0 2-3 2, Edens 1 0-0 2, Leman 7 7-8 25, Tutt 0 2-2 2, Powe 4 0-0 10, Layland 5 1-7 11, Fielding 0 0-0 0, McWilliams 5 1-2 11. Totals — 23 13-22 66.

KODIAK (64) — Catt 12 2-3 27, Cratty 3 0-1 7, Alegado 3 0-0 6, Thomas 7 2-4 16, Merick 1 0-0 2, Sweeney 3 0-0 6, Bryant 0 0-0 0. Totals — 29 4-8 64.

3-point goals — Homer 7 (Leman 4, Powe 2, Ketelle 1), Kodiak 2 (Catt, Cratty). Total fouls — Homer 14, Kodiak 19. Fouled out — Layland, Thomas.

STARS 87, SEA OTTERS 14

Soldotna 33 19 25 10 — 87

Seldovia 2 6 1 5 — 14

SOLDOTNA (87) —Blossom 6 0-0 15, Grubb 3 0-0 6, Carver 2 1-1 5, Besse 6 2-4 14, Syverspm 1 0-0 2, Barkman 1 0-0 2, Kohler 5 2-2 13, Roberts 1 2-2 4, Andrus 1 0-0 2, Seggerman 10 0-1 24. Totals — 36 7-10 87.

SELDOVIA (14) — Burt 1 0-0 2, Geagel 0 0-0 0, O’Leary 1 0-0 2, Baines 0 0-0 0, Harkness 3 2-2 9, Chissus 0 1-2 1. Totals — 5 3-4 14.

3-point goals — Soldotna 8 (Seggerman 4, Blossom 3, Kohler 1). Total fouls — Soldotna 4, Seldovia 8. Fouled out — none.



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