Hot shooting lifts SoHi boys past Colony

Posted: Sunday, January 16, 2011

During Soldotna's final possession of the third quarter, Soldotna junior Evan Withrow was blanketed by a Colony defender. But despite the solid defensive pressure, Withrow buried a long 3-pointer at the buzzer.

That's what kind of shooting night Withrow and the Stars were having during the second half of Soldotna's 62-55 win over Colony at Colony High School on Friday.

"Tough shot," Soldotna head coach Matt Johnson said after a win that moved Soldotna to 2-0 in Northern Lights Conference play. "He hit that from about 24 feet with a hand in his face."

But that's not the only long ball Withrow and the Stars buried in that third quarter. Withrow hit four treys in the third, five in the game, en route to a game-high 22 points. Senior Robbie Smithwick added three 3-pointers in the period.

"When they are playing with confidence, they are good shooters," Johnson said. "I thought our shot selection was improved. If they take good shot, they'll shoot for high percentage."

Colony led 20-17 at the half, but with the Withrow and Smithwick show, the Stars shot ahead with 28 third-quarter points. Withrow scored 14 in the period and Smithwick added his nine. That sparked the Stars on the other end of the floor, Johnson said. Soldotna held Colony to four field goals during the quarter.

"It helped our defense," Johnson said. "I thought our defensive energy picked up."

Colony sophomore Hunter Eisenhower led a Colony rally in the fourth.

Eisenhower scored 14 of his game-high 22 during the final eight minutes. Eisenhower hit one of his two 3-pointers during the period to cut Soldotna's lead to 47-43. Senior Tanner Enloe hit another 3-pointer to cut into another Soldotna lead later in the fourth. Junior Tim Smith drove to the basket, drew a foul and completed the three-point play to bring the lead back down to four. But with each Colony clutch basket, Soldotna answered.

"We responded when they went on their nice run in the fourth quarter," Johnson said.

Ross Skjold, who scored 12 points, hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to help seal the win for the Stars.

Colony girls 47, Soldotna 32

Judging by Colony's work during the third quarter during back-to-back Northern Lights Conference wins this week, one would think the Colony coaching staff combines to give one heck of a halftime pep talk.

But there's no rousing Rockne-like speech. It's just a trait of the Knights, assistant Lyle Busbey said after Colony used 23 third-quarter points to score a win over the Soldotna Stars on Friday at Colony High School.

"It was that way all summer," Busbey said of the Knights, who scored 22 in the third quarter during a rout of Palmer earlier in the week. "In the summer tournaments we'd not be really productive on offense, and all the sudden in the third quarter we'd just take off."

In the third Friday, Colony certainly took off. The Knights used their relentless pressure to take a four-point halftime lead and turn it into an 18-point advantage by the fourth quarter. Busbey credited not just defense, but fitness to the success.

"Tonight and against Palmer, we put so much pressure on in the first half, the other teams are a little tired in the third," Busbey said. "You could see it. Soldotna was tired in the third quarter."

Sophomore Mary Klapperich scored 10 of her game-high 17 in the third quarter. The 6-footer, who has moved from the post to the wing this season, nailed a pair of 3-pointers during an early second-half Colony run.

"She's been struggling a little with her shot, but this is her first time playing the wing. She's still kind of adapting to playing with her face to the basket," Busbey said. "The more she plays out there, the more she is comfortable."

Senior Kate Klapperich added also hit a 3-pointer during the third and scored 10 points. Sophomore Allison Leigh, another 6-footer, posted eight of her nine points during the final two quarters.

Kaillee Skjold scored 11 points for Soldotna. Becca Satathite added eight.

Soldotna did piece together 13 points in the fourth. The Stars got to the free-throw line four times during the final eight minutes, finishing 5-for-8.

Palmer girls 42, Soldotna 37

The host Moose topped the Stars in a Northern Lights Conference game Saturday.

Kaillee Skjold had 16 points to pace the Stars.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at

Friday boys

Stars 62, Knights 55

Soldotna 11 6 28 17 --62

Colony 11 9 13 22 --62

Soldotna (62) -- Jackson 0 2-2 2, Carver 2 1-2 5, Skjold 3 6-9 12, Smithwick 3 1-4 12, Withrow 7 3-6 22, Bosick 4 1-2 9. Totals -- 20 14-25 62.

Colony (55) -- Niver 1 1-3 3, Smith 2 3-3 7, Turner 1 5-7 9, McCann 1 2-4 5, Enloe 2 0-1 5, Eisenhower 8 4-4 22, Peltier 1 0-0 2, DePriest 2 0-1 4, Umbarger 0 0-2 0. Totals: 18 15-25 55.

Friday girls

Knights 47, Stars 35

Soldotna (32) -- Benson 7, Litchfield 3, Skjold 11, Duke 4, Salathite 9, Sholin 2.

Colony (47) -- M. Klapperich 17, Nelson 2, K. Klapperich 10, Brumbaugh 2, Menard 3, Stefanski 2, Leigh 9.

Saturday girls

Moose 42, Stars 37

Palmer 11 12 5 14 --42

Soldotna 13 8 6 10 --37

PALMER (42) -- VanHommissen 0 0-0 0, Venzke 5 2-3 12, Scott 1 0-0 2, Houchen 1 0-0 2, Jensen 0 0-0 0, oehn 3 1-2 8, Blake 2 2-2 6, Lamere 0 1-2 1, Brandenberg 5 1-1 11. Totals -- 17 7-10 42.

SOLDOTNA (37) -- Benson 1 0-0 2, Sholin 1 0-0 2, Litchfield 2 1-2 5, Munn 1 0-0 2, Skjold 8 0-0 16, Duke 1 0-0 2, Westerman 0 0-0 0, Satathite 4 0-0 8. Totals -- 18 1-2 37.

3-point goals -- Palmer 1 (Koehn 1). Team fouls -- Soldotna 14, Palmer 8. Fouled out -- Sholin.

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