Nikiski girls edge Kenai

Kardinals run away from Bulldogs in boys contest

Posted: Sunday, January 23, 2005

 

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  Nikiski's Sasha Auldridge controls the ball in front of Kenai's Lindsey Keener Friday at Kenai Central High School. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Kenai's Samantha Navarre tries to get the ball around Nikiski's Stacey Griffel Friday at KCHS.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

The Kenai Central girls basketball team found its game in Kotzebue. The Kenai Central boys found their game somewhere between Kotzebue and Kenai.

The Kenai girls, now 5-4 overall, won all three games at the Kotzebue tournament last weekend and used that momentum to almost knock off visiting Nikiski Friday. The Bulldogs, ranked No. 5 in Class 3A in the latest media poll, prevailed in a 43-40 barnburner.

"It was a big game for us because Kenai is our main rival," said Nikiski's Sarah Herrin, who paced the Bulldogs with 17 points.

The Kenai boys, who went 1-2 up in Kotzebue and lost to the hosts 73-38, kicked their game into gear Friday with a 75-47 victory over the Bulldogs.

The girls game featured a matchup between veteran peninsula coaches Ward Romans, the Nikiski girls coach, and Lee Moore, now the coach of the Kenai boys. Moore and Romans worked together in Nikiski for a number of years when Moore coached the Nikiski boys basketball team and both were on the Nikiski football coaching staff.

Friday was the first time both faced off against each other as coaches. The Kenai girls were struggling before heading to Kotzebue, but the trip had the Kards ready to take on the Bulldogs.

"Kotzebue was a huge step forward for our team," Moore said. "We just played so well up there. We played pretty well tonight, and I think if you asked the girls they'd say this was a step backward from Kotzebue."

Lindsay Keener, who paced the Kardinals with 13 points, hit a layup early to give Kenai a 4-3 lead. After that, the Kardinals went cold from the field for the rest of the quarter. Nikiski took advantage of the cold spurt and closed the quarter with a 7-0 run for a 10-4 lead.

It was a gap Kenai would not be able to overcome all evening. After the first quarter, the Kardinals stayed in the game with hot shooting from the floor. After hitting 1 of 7 (14 percent) in the first quarter, the Kardinals were 15 of 24 (63 percent) for the rest of the game.

Nikiski couldn't match Kenai's torrid pace from the field, hitting 15 of 41 (37 percent).

However, the Bulldogs did force Kenai into 18 turnovers while turning the ball over just 13 times. Nikiski also got some key offensive rebounds and got to the foul line 18 times, where Hannah Thompson hit 7 of her 8 foul shots and finished with 11 points.

 

Nikiski's Sasha Auldridge controls the ball in front of Kenai's Lindsey Keener Friday at Kenai Central High School.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Nikiski led 24-20 at the half, and in the third quarter Keener, who got in foul trouble in the first half, roared back for six points and caused the Bulldogs problems with her dribble penetration.

"She's just been really tough off the dribble," Moore said. "In Kotzebue, she was just about unstoppable."

The Bulldogs were able to weather Keener's storm by getting points from four different players to hold a 34-31 edge after three quarters.

"Everyone contributed in this game," Herrin said. "It was definitely a team win."

In the fourth quarter, a layup by Keener cut Nikiski's lead to 41-40 with 1:32 left in the game. However, Herrin answered 20 seconds later with a tough jumper that dropped through the hoop as she was falling to the floor.

The teams then exchanged turnovers, setting up Kenai with the ball out-of-bounds with 11 seconds left. The Kardinals got the ball to Samantha Navarre, who finished with 11 points, for a relatively open 3-pointer. Navarre missed the shot and Nikiski grabbed the rebound.

"We got the look we wanted and it was a good shot," Moore said. "I don't know how many times that ball hit the rim before falling off."

Kenai boys 75, Bulldogs 47

The Kardinals executed their motion offense to get many easy shots during the course of the game.

In the first half, the Kardinals continually caught the Bulldogs on screens and feasted on layups. Kenai hit 20 of its 38 shots (53 percent) in the first half, while Nikiski was just 5 of 20 (25 percent) in the first half. That led to a 43-17 advantage for the Kardinals after the first 16 minutes.

Kenai finished with four players in double figures. Jordan Jenckes had 13 points, Kevin Epperheimer had 12 points and Tyler Chappell and Ryann Hansen had 10 points apiece.

For Nikiski, Travis McGahan had 12 points, Zech Hemphill had 11 points and Chris Curren added 10 points.

Girls

BULLDOGS 43, KARDINALS 40

Nikiski 10 14 10 9 —43

Kenai 4 16 11 9 —40

NIKISKI (43) — Gladden 3 1-2 7, Griffel 1 0-0 2, Auldridge 1 1-4 3, Thompson 2 7-8 11, Herrin 7 0-0 17, Hitchcock 1 1-4 3. Totals — 15 10-18 43.

KENAI (40) — Navarre 4 2-2 11, Keener 6 1-2 13, Foley 0 0-0 0, Dunn 0 0-0 0, McGlasson 2 2-3 6, Peterson 2 2-2 6, Calderwood 0 0-0 0, Craig 2 0-0 4, Brewer 0 0-2 0. Totals — 16 7-11 40.

3-point goals — Nikiski 3 (Herrin 3); Kenai 1 (Navarre 1). Total fouls — Nikiski 14, Kenai 19. Fouled out — Calderwood.

Boys

KARDINALS 75, BULLDOGS 47

Nikiski 8 9 11 19 —47

Kenai 17 26 16 16 —75

NIKISKI (47) — Hemphill 5 1-1 11, Taylor 1 3-7 6, Kellie 1 0-3 2, Fagan 0 0-0 0, Curren 4 0-0 10, Holloway 2 0-0 6, Vance 0 0-0 0, McGahan 3 6-7 12. Totals — 16 10-18 47.

KENAI (75) — Hansen 5 0-0 10, Saltzgiver 0 0-0 0, Chappell 5 0-0 10, Reemtsma 4 0-1 8, Ellis 1 0-1 2, Epperheimer 5 2-4 12, Miles 1 0-0 2, Faumui 2 0-0 4, Krusen 0 1-2 1, McLeod 4 1-1 9, Bennett 2 0-0 4, Jenckes 6 1-2 13. Totals — 35 5-11 75.

3-point goals — Nikiski 5 (Holloway 2, Curren 2, Taylor 1). Total fouls — Nikiski 13, 20. Fouled out — none.



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