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Inside and outside, Soldotna girls too much for Homer

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2003

HOMER -- Four varsity basketball teams from Soldotna and Homer high schools met and tangled here in Region III/4A action Friday. Three of those teams are playing ball in hopes of someday landing themselves among the elite teams in Class 4A. The other team continues to prove that they are already there.

While the Homer boys prevailed over Soldotna 59-48 in an evenly matched, and at times reckless, game, the SoHi girls showed why they are the second-ranked 4A team in the state with a 58-28 win over the Mariners.

Lauren Christensen led the Stars and all scorers with a 14-point effort. Christensen connected on four 3-pointers as Soldotna took advantage of Homer's zone defense.

Jennifer Senette added another 13 points for the Stars' strong backcourt rotation. In all, the Soldotna guards dumped in 31 points.

Shots that didn't fall into the hoop from outside typically fell into the hands of the Stars' two big powerhouses in the post -- 6-foot-1 Rachel Besse and 5-11 Hillary Zobeck -- for the easy offensive putback.

Soldotna coach Mark Tuter said the offensive game plan was to take advantage of the open shots created when the Mariners zone collapsed.

"I always like my players to shoot when we've got two big kids under the basket rebounding for us," Tuter said.

The fact that both Besse and Zobeck can also hit their jump shots just made the Stars that much more difficult for Homer to contain. Zobeck finished with 13 points, while Besse had 10.

"It helps the whole team's confidence because our post players can shoot well from pretty far out," Christensen said.

The Stars' size and touch inside proved too much for the Mariners. SoHi took a 26-12 lead into the locker room at the half.

With Amanda Morawitz out with a sprained ankle, the job of boxing out Besse fell to 5-8 Mariner forward Caitlin Crandall. It was not a job she was very happy to have.

Crandall was so dedicated in her attempt to accomplish that job that she said she really didn't pay much attention to the scoreboard.

"When we were on the floor it felt like we were right with them," Crandall said. "Then you look at the scoreboard and they're up by 20. It's pretty discouraging."

Homer boys 59, Soldotna 48

Homer center Steven Stead scored a game-high 14 points and guard David Drake added the emotional spark in his first game of the season for the Mariners.

The Stars, who led by as many as seven points, couldn't hold on to their first-half advantage as turnovers fueled an 8-2 Mariner run in the second quarter. While the Mariners didn't maintain the handle much better, the Stars turned it over in six consecutive possessions during the Homer run.

"We had opportunities to open up a bigger lead (during the first half) but we just had too many lapses and mental breakdowns," said SoHi coach Bill Withrow, whose team lost the battle of the turnovers 27-22.

The Mariners, led by the relentless defensive effort of guards Matt Mahan and Drake, did their part to break up the flow of the Stars' game plan.

As if to make up for lost time, Drake did a little bit of everything for the Mariners Friday, with six steals and six rebounds to go along with his 12 points.

"It's (really) good to have Drake back," Mahan said. "He creates a lot of intensity on the floor and picks us up when we're down."

Mark Baker led the Stars with 12 points and Cody Michal added 11.

In the end, the Mariners' size advantage down low seemed to wear down the Stars. Stead and forward Adam Crum (10 points) combined to shoot 11-for-19 from the field.

Girls

STARS 58, MARINERS 28

Soldotna 16 10 23 9 --58

Homer 6 6 8 8 --28

SOLDOTNA (58) -- Senette 5 2-2 13, Wolfe 1 2-2 4, Christensen 5 0-0 14, Foster 0 0-0 0, Besse 5 0-0 10, Syverson 0 0-0 0, Howard 1 0-0 2, Denna 0 1-4 1, Zobeck 5 3-4 13, Breakfield 0 1-2 1, Hartman 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 22 9-14 58.

HOMER (28) -- Crandall 2 0-4 4, Creamer 0 0-0 0, Thompson 1 0-0 2, Sinnhuber 0 0-0 0, Cousins 0 2-5 2, Morawitz 0 0-0 0, McKinstry 0 0-0 0, Lowney 4 4-8 12, Setterquist 4 0-1 8, Lightcap 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 11 6-18 28.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 5 (Christensen 4, Senette 1); Homer 0. Total fouls -- Soldotna 17, Homer 12. Fouled out -- Setterquist.

MARINERS 59, STARS 48

Soldotna 19 6 10 13 --48

Homer 16 10 14 19 --59

SOLDOTNA (48) -- Turnbull 3 0-0 7, Stone 0 0-0 0, Baker 4 0-0 12, Spindler 0 0-0 0, Michal 3 5-6 11, Horn 1 0-0 3, Sizemore 3 0-0 6, Hall 0 0-0 0, Gomulak 0 0-0 0, Horwath 2 0-1 4, Simpson 0 5-8 5. Totals -- 16 10-15 48.

HOMER (59) -- Kuhns 3 0-0 7, Mahan 0 1-2 1, Adams 0 0-0 0, Turner 3 2-4 9, Luebbert 0 0-0 0, Drake 5 2-4 12, Stead 6 2-2 14, Crum 5 0-0 10, Smith 0 3-4 3, Golson 1 0-0 2, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Winne 0 1-2 1. Totals -- 23 11-18 59.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 6 (Baker 4, Turnbull 1, Horn 1); Homer 2 (Kuhns 1, Turner 1). Total fouls -- Soldotna 19, Homer 19. Fouled out -- Kuhns.



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