Soldotna cagers sweep Skyview

Posted: Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Soldotna boys basketball team held off a pesky Skyview squad for a 58-44 victory Tuesday at Skyview in the Northern Lights Conference opener for both sides.

In a back-and-forth game in which the Panthers held a four-point lead after the first quarter, it was the Stars' experience that proved the difference.

SoHi (2-2 overall, 1-0 league) received a pair of timely baskets from senior guard Zach Jackson to pull away in the fourth quarter.

With the Stars leading 44-42 at the four-minute mark, Jackson finished on a drive to the hoop to put his team up four following a timeout. Then on the next possession, he hit one of the Stars' four 3-pointers to bump the cushion to seven. That was all SoHi needed as the Panthers managed just one field goal over the final four minutes.

"He's really playing like a senior," SoHi coach Matt Johnson said of the guard. "We needed that, and those were big senior plays -- hitting those shots."

Despite the win, Johnson said he wasn't pleased with his team's effort. The Stars, he said, weren't aggressive enough with their rebounding, giving the Panthers too many second chances.

"They outworked us most of the night," Johnson said of Skyview, which dropped to 0-4 after a winless trip to a tournament in San Diego, where it lost three games -- two of them by a combined three points, according to athletic director Eric Pomerleau.

Coming off a winless season, the Panthers were competitive from the opening whistle. Forced to foul late in the game, the final spread didn't show how close the game really was.

Albert White scored a game-high 18 points, including three 3-pointers, while DJ Diaz added 9. Diaz scored three straight baskets for Skyview at one point in the fourth, keeping the Panthers in the game.

Cory Carver scored 13 points for SoHi, joining Jackson as the team's co-leading scorer. Evan Withrow added 11, while center Garrett Bosick chipped in nine.

Although the Panthers fell to 0-4, Johnson said they are an improved bunch after struggling in 2009-10.

He noticed the difference from the get-go.

"They are a year older and a year stronger," he said. "The worked really hard tonight."

Johnson said he hopes the squad learns from the win, and despite the fact he thought the team was outworked, he was happy to secure the victory.

"A win is a win," he said. "Especially in league play, we'll take it."

Soldotna girls 61, Skyview 17

The Soldotna girls basketball team jumped out to a 15-0 lead and scored 17 points in the first quarter Tuesday against Skyview.

That was all the Stars needed.

Kailee Skjold scored 20 points to go with six rebounds, six assists and five steals, and Kaili Sholin added 13 points as the Stars delivered a decisive victory against the Panthers in Northern Lights Conference action at Skyview.

The game was never in doubt after SoHi opened with a 15-0 run over the first five minutes behind a combined 11 points from Skjold and Sholin, who pushed the pace from the opening whistle.

"It took a little pressure off, being the first region game and stuff like that," SoHi coach Mark Tuter said of the fast start, which was sparked by the Stars' up-tempo flow. "That's one of the main emphases this year. We're not a big team compared to a lot of the teams we are going to play, so we need to get out and run."

The Stars ran away with the game over the first eight minutes, scoring 17 points to equal the Panthers' output over the entire four quarters.

Skjold had three of her six assists in the first period, setting up easy baskets for Sholin, who scored 10 in the first half -- all on layups.

Skjold, a sophomore, said rebounding and quality outlet passes helped spark the scoring effort.

"Rebounds are always a big thing in basketball," she said. "We were just looking to get rebounds and get down the floor as quick as we can and keep our eyes up."

The Stars (5-2 overall, 1-0 league) didn't let up after Jaxon Hill put the Panthers on the board at the 2:31 mark of the first. Soldotna pushed the lead to 27-9 at halftime and allowed just two points in the third, building a 44-11 lead.

Jessica Duke added nine points for SoHi.

"It was good," Skjold said of the win. "It's going to give us confidence as we move into harder games."

First-year coach Eric Pomerleau said it was a good learning experience for the Panthers, despite the final score.

With just four seniors on the squad, Pomerleau believes the younger players must become comfortable with the pace of varsity ball before they can compete with the top teams in the league.

He agreed the Stars' opening spurt proved the difference.

"We were hoping to withstand that opening onslaught a little better," Pomerleau said. "I think this will make us a better team, and we'll go from there."

Hill, a senior, scored a team-high 12 points for Skyview, which has four days off before facing Seward. She converted six of the Panthers' eight field goals.

Tuesday girls

Stars 61, Panthers 17

Soldotna 17 10 17 17 --61

Skyview 3 6 2 6 --17

SOLDOTNA (61) -- Kress 0 0-2 0, Benson 2 0-0 4, Sholin, 5 3-5 13, Litchfield, 1 0-0 2, Munn, 2 1-1, 5, Skjold 9 0-2, 20, Hutchings 0 0-0 0, Duke 4 0-0 9, Westerman 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 0-0 0, Kerkvliet 1 0-0 2, Satathite 3 0-0 6. Totals -27 4-12 61.

SKYVIEW (17) -- Halverson 0 0-0 0, Hauptman 1 0-0 2, Saunders 1 0-0 2, Marang 0 0-0 0, Hill 6 0-1 12, Mercier 0 1-2 1, Self 0 0-0 0, Valiquette 0 0-0 0, Malatesta 0 0-0 0, Shield 0 0-0 0. Totals - 8 1-4 17.

3-point field goals -- Soldotna 3 (Skjold 2, Duke), Skyview none. Team fouls -- Soldotna not reported, Skyview 12.

Tuesday boys

Stars 58, Panthers 44

Soldotna 10 17 10 21 --58

Skyview 14 8 9 13 --44

SOLDOTNA (58) -- Hallford 0 0-0 0, Schneider 0 0-2 0, Jackson, 5 2-2 13, Carver, 3 4-4 13, Bates, 0 0-0 0, Skjold 2 3-3, 7, Smithwick 0 3-4 3, Withrow 4 3-3 11, T. Fowler 0 0-0 0, Bosick 3 3-5 9, Barkman 1 0-0 2, Young -0 0-0 0, N. Fowler 0 0-0 0. Totals --16 18-23 58.

SKYVIEW (44) -- Reynolds 0 0-0 0, McNamara 1 0-1 2, Harling 0 0-0 0, Collier 0 0-0 0, Symonds 0 0-0 0, White 4 5-9 18, Corona -0 0-0 0, Jones 4 0-0 8, Madrid 1 3-4 5, Penrod 0 0-0 0, McDonald 0 2-4 2, Diaz 4 1-2 9. Totals -- 8 7-15 44.

3-point field goals -- Soldotna 4 (Carver 3, Jackson), Skyview 3 (White 3). Team fouls -- Soldotna not reported, Skyview 20.

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