Kardinals take boys game, Panthers roll to win in girls game

Kenai, Skyview hoops split

Posted: Sunday, January 15, 2006


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  Kenai’s Austin McLeod goes up for a shot in the first half at Skyview Friday night. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Skyview’s Greg Bosick tries to get the ball past Kenais Kevin Epperheimer in the first half at Skyview Friday night.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

En route to their fourth-straight small-schools state football championship last fall, Kenai Central flashed plenty of athleticism in rolling up points all season.

Although Kenai’s top two scorers on the basketball team played no part in the football championship, the hoops squad has many key players from the football team that are using their athleticism to roll up points on the basketball floor.

Friday, the Kardinals defeated host Skyview 68-50 in Northern Lights Conference action. The 68 points followed a pair of games where the Kardinals scored 75 points. The victory moved Kenai to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference, while Skyview fell to 2-8 overall and 0-3 in the conference.

In the girls game, the Panthers jumped out to an early lead and received 13 points from Nicole VanRyzin and 11 points from Anna Blake in defeating the Kardinals 49-39. The Panthers improved to 4-6 overall and 2-1 in the conference, while the Kardinals dropped to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the conference.

The Kenai boys normally are led in the scoring column by sophomore guard Nate Saltzgiver and senior guard Kevin Epperheimer. Both normally contribute 15 points, but Friday Epperheimer had 10 and Saltzgiver had just two. However, Austin McLeod had 11 points and Cory Toombs and Casey Ellis each had 10 points.


Kenai’s Austin McLeod goes up for a shot in the first half at Skyview Friday night.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

“They have a strong tradition of winning over there from football,” Skyview coach Shaun O’Shea said. “Those football players are strong and in good shape and they can cause a lot of problems out there.”

Kenai coach Jim Beeson, who also coaches the football team, said the Kardinals are able to substitute athleticism for height.

“We’re doing a good job pushing the ball and scoring,” Beeson said. “This group probably scores as well as any group that we’ve had. They’re not real big, but they’re a really athletic group.”

The Kardinals took a 30-19 lead at halftime Friday. In the third quarter, Kenai showed how athleticism can make up for height. Skyview center Rich Shirnberg, who paced the Panthers with 14 points, had eight points in the opening four minutes of the half. A layup by Jeff Dolifka, who had 10 points, cut Kenai’s lead to 37-29 with 4:00 left in the third quarter.

However, Kenai came right back with perimeter firepower as sophomore guard Cory Toombs had eight points and Epperheimer had three points in an 11-0 run that gave the Kardinals a 48-29 lead with 2:12 left in the third quarter. Skyview would never get close the rest of the game.

O’Shea said his team did a better job of handling Kenai’s pressure defense than in the first meeting between the two teams. However, he did say Skyview still was hurt by some little things that turned into big things, such as free-throw shooting. The Panthers finished just 7-of-23 from the charity stripe.

Skyview girls 49, Kenai Central girls 39

The Panthers took a 9-2 lead and the Kardinals never got closer than four points the rest of the game.

“We came out and played with good intensity,” Skyview coach Wade Marcuson said. “We got some steals by getting in the passing lanes and we made some shots.”

In taking a 26-16 lead at the half, Skyview forced the Kardinals into 13 turnovers while committing just six turnovers themselves.

“We came out and played a little scared,” Kenai coach Lee Moore said. “Hopefully, that will become a thing of the past the more we play. The more we get confident in our skills, the more we’ll be able to play aggressively.”

In trying to pull off a comeback, Kenai was hurt by the foul trouble of Lindsay Keener, who is the primary ballhandler and also led the Kardinals with 11 points. Keener picked up her third foul with 5:33 left in the first half and had to sit for the rest of the half. Keener then fouled out with 4:53 left in the game.

After falling behind by as many as 16 in the third quarter, Kenai played a halfcourt trap in the fourth quarter and managed to cut the lead to 46-39 with 55 seconds left in the game on a pair of foul shots by Samantha Navarre. That was as close as Kenai would get, though.

The halfcourt trap didn’t bring the Kardinals all the way back due to a couple of factors. Marcuson said his seniors did a good job of eventually figuring out how to attack the trap, and Moore said the trap takes a lot of energy to play and becomes less effective when a team has to play it for four straight minutes.

Marcuson gave credit to his bench for solid play and to Shelley Heffner for playing good defense on Keener.



Kenai 8 8 7 16 —39

Skyview 15 11 10 13 —49

KENAI CENTRAL (39) — Navarre 1 5-5 7, Keener 3 4-4 11, Foley 0 0-0 0, Moore 0 0-0 0, McGlasson 1 1-4 3, Kiel 0 0-0 0, Craig 2 2-2 6, Steward 2 0-0 4, Brewer 3 2-2 8. Totals — 12 14-17 39.

SKYVIEW (49) — Heffner 2 1-2 5, Martin 0 2-2 2, M. Fay 3 1-4 8, VanRyzin 5 2-5 13, Mercier 0 0-0 0, Blake 4 2-2 11, West 2 0-0 4, A. Fay 3 0-0 6. Totals — 19 8-15 49.

3-point goals — Kenai 1 (Keener 1); Skyview 3 (M. Fay 1, VanRyzin 1, Blake 1). Team fouls — Kenai 18, Skyview 14. Fouled out — Keener, Navarre, A. Fay.



Kenai 15 15 18 20 —68

Skyview 10 9 14 17 —50

KENAI CENTRAL (68) — Saltzgiver 1 0-0 2, Chappell 3 1-1 7, Gustkey 0 0-0 0, Ellis 3 3-5 10, Toombs 3 2-2 10, Beeson 1 0-0 2, Blanning 1 0-0 2, Epperheimer 3 3-3 10, Ward 0 0-0 0, Faumui 2 0-0 4, Miles 3 0-0 6, McLeod 4 1-2 11, Chimphalee 2 0-0 4. Totals — 26 10-13 68.

SKYVIEW (50) — West 0 0-0 0, Merritt 0 0-0 0, Dolifka 5 0-1 10, Rodgers 0 0-0 0, McMilan 2 1-2 6, Duke 0 0-0 0, Foister 4 1-4 9, Bosick 2 3-12 7, Blossom 1 2-3 4, Bellinger 0 0-0 0, Shirnberg 7 0-1 14. Totals — 21 7-23 50.

3-point goals — Kenai 6 (McLeod 2, Toombs 2, Ellis 1, Epperheimer 1); Skyview 1 (McMilan 1). Team fouls — Kenai 24, Skyview 19. Fouled out — none.

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