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Stars grab two games from Homer

Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2001

The Soldotna Stars girls and boys basketball teams allowed the Homer Mariners through the front door of the House of Blue Saturday and escorted them out with two losses.

The two teams gave their fans a variety of basketball to watch. One end of the spectrum found the girls pounding the defenseless Mariners 47-25 and the other end found the boys making the gym fill with smoke from the ashes of a barn-burner in a 51-48 decision.

The Soldotna boys played a game of catch-up from the opening moments in the ball game as the Homer Mariners found bucket after bucket against the Stars full-court pressure. Homer jumped to a 31-27 first-half lead before the Stars finally adjusted to a man-to-man defense.

"We just got in a hole," Soldotna boys coach Ron Backer said. "It took us the rest of the game to catch up. We definitely weren't expecting a finish like this one."

The Stars came out hungry for a victory against Homer -- some players even feeling the need for revenge against the Mariners.

"They beat us in the last game of the regional tourney last year," Nick Christensen said. "They ended our season and we just wanted to beat them."

And beat them Christensen did. The senior guard hit three free throws, a bucket and a 3-point field goal in the fourth quarter to help propel the Stars to victory.

Christensen's first made free throw allowed the Stars to take the lead for the first time in the contest with 1 minute, 47 seconds, left in the game. His last two sealed the deal for the Stars.

"I was a little nervous, you never want to miss shots like those," Christensen said. "I missed that first one and I definitely did not want to miss the last two."

Soldotna's Sean Kelley hit the bottom of the net with two more free throws before Christensen nailed two to cap the Soldotna scoring.

The Stars followed the lead and hot hand of Christensen, who poured in 19 points, while teammate Shaun Williams added 12. Homer's Corey Boone led the Mariners in scoring with 13 points in the losing effort.

"Nick and Shaun Williams were able to put in some very key points for us," Becker said. "This game showed I have a lot of seniors on my team that understand you don't make up 10 points in a single possession. They've learned that through experience."

The Soldotna defense showed their high-pressure situation worthiness as they held the Mariners to a total of 17 points in the second half.

"I think our defense is our strong point," Becker said. "It is very consistent day in and day out. I think it has been strong for us in every game we've played."

The Stars will host Wasilla February 2 before hosting the Kodiak Bears the next day.

"They are both very good teams," Becker said. "We are going to have to improve and work hard every day. We are going to have to try and make a difference."

The Soldotna girls brought a completely opposite game onto the floor compared to the boys barn-burner.

From the tipoff to the final buzzer, the Soldotna Stars girls basketball team dominated their contest against the Homer Mariners Saturday.

The Stars scored their first points on two free throws by Gretta Besse and went into the game with pure execution on their minds as they sank the Mariners in a 47-25 Region III decision.

"I was really pleased with the way we executed today," Soldotna coach Mark Tuter said. "We had really great D and we got them into foul trouble. That is our game, that is the way we want to play."

The Stars smothering defense held the Mariners to only 15 points in the first half and outdid themselves as they allowed only 10 in the second half, eight of which came from free throws. The Mariners were only able to find the bucket for a total of seven field goals against the overpowering Soldotna defenders.

"Our defense was awesome," center Rachel Besse said. "We remembered losing to them last year and we went out there and executed. Actually it was the best we ever executed."

Soldotna followed the inside scoring of Gretta Besse with 15 points, while sister Rachel found the bucket four times from the floor and two from the free-throw line to add 10. The Besse sisters, along with the rest of the Stars defense, did not allow a single Homer player to score in double digits.

"They (the Besse sisters) got the ball in the right position to score," Tuter said. "Our guards and our wings got the ball into them where they could score with it and that was why we were successful."

The Stars held a 25-15 first-half lead when they trotted off the hardwood and into the locker room. Though their defense had stifled any scoring attacks the Mariners attempted to piece together and the offense found the bucket with a combination of precision passing and patience, the team that came back onto the court in the second half was a more energized, more determined squad.

Soldotna marched out and put another 22 points on the board, slaughtering Homer's full-court press in the process. Meanwhile, the defense followed the shot blocking of Rachel Besse and the quick hands of Jennifer Senette and Erin Wolfe to hold the struggling Mariners to only one field goal.

"When their players penetrated I just stuck my limbs up in the air," Besse said. "From the first play, we just came out and controlled the game."

The Stars will host the Wasilla Warriors Friday in a game that may have less-than-equal matchups for Soldotna. The Warriors come equipped with a 6-foot-3 center, Brittney Kroon. According to the Stars, they are just going to hope they can find a way to play them.

"We're just going to go out and play our hardest against them," Besse said. "Hopefully, something happens."

STARS BOYS 51, MARINERS 48

Soldotna 8 19 9 15 -- 51

Homer 13 18 9 8 -- 48

SOLDOTNA (51) -- Kelley 0 2-2 2, Houglum 0 0-0 0, Williams 5 2-2 12, Simpson 0 0-0 0, Christensen 7 3-4 19, Hardina 0 0-0 0, Kiffmeyer 2 3-8 8, Zeyer 0 2-2 2, Hughes 1 6-6 8, Metteer 0 0-0 0, Histand 0 0-0 0, Morris 0 0-0 0, Rose 0 0-0 0, Kohler 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 15 18-24 51.

HOMER (48) -- Kuipers 3 2-7 9, Mahan 0 0-0 0, Burns 2 3-5 7, Glanville 2 0-0 4, Boone 5 1-4 13, Stead 1 0-0 2, Kincaid 2 1-3 5, Szajkowski 4 0-1 8, Chambers 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 19 7-20 48.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 3 (Christensen 2, Kiffmeyer 1); Homer 3 (Boone 2, Kuipers 1). Total fouls -- Soldotna 18, Homer 18. Fouled out -- Kincaid.

STARS GIRLS 47, MARINERS 25

Soldotna 13 12 10 12 -- 47

Homer 6 9 3 7 -- 25

SOLDOTNA (47) -- Senette 1 4-4 6, Wolfe 1 0-0 2, Christensen 0 0-0 0, Kerrone 0 2-4 2, G. Besse 6 3-6 15, Penner 0 1-2 1, Syverson 1 2-2 4, Severson 1 0-2 2, Gilbert 0 1-2 1, Breakfield 2 0-2 4, R. Besse 4 2-4 10. Totals -- 16 15-28 47.

HOMER (25) -- Eller 0 2-3 2, Creamer 0 0-0 0, High 1 2-2 4, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Joy Epley 1 1-2 3, Mack 0 0-1 0, Jami Epley 0 0-0 0, Brooks 2 2-4 6, Cousins 0 1-2 1, Cardiff 0 1-2 1, Goethle 2 1-2 5, Sweat 1 0-2 2, Lance 0 1-2 1. Totals -- 7 11-22 25.

3-point goals -- none. Total fouls -- Soldotna 18, Homer 19. Fouled out -- Sweat.



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