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Bulldogs tame Lions

No. 2 Nikiski turns back comeback of No. 1 ACS

Posted: Sunday, January 28, 2007

 

  Nikiski's Becca Carlson, right, drives past Anchorage Christian's Bailey White in the first half Friday at Nikiski. Carlson made the winning basket in the final seconds of the game.

Nikiski's Becca Carlson, right, drives past Anchorage Christian's Bailey White in the first half Friday at Nikiski. Carlson made the winning basket in the final seconds of the game.

The host Nikiski girls basketball team lost its glue without coming unglued on Friday in a 51-48 Southcentral Conference victory over No. 1-ranked Anchorage Christian Schools.

The Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in Class 3A, had a 46-40 lead with 2:15 to play in the game when Hannah Thompson, the player Nikiski coach Ward Romans calls his team’s glue, fouled out in front of a large and boisterous crowd.

Thompson scored just six points in the game, but she had seven assists and a game-high nine rebounds. She also served two roles that don’t show up in the box score — handling the ball the bulk of the time against the Lions’ relentless and athletic pressure and guarding the Lions’ Anna Simmers. Simmers is such a rare blend of quickness, power and leaping ability that she scored 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting and Romans said Thompson did a “phenomenal” job of guarding her.

Simmers quickly went to work after Thompson left the game, dumping in layups after consecutive Nikiski turnovers to cut the gap to 46-44 with 1:20 remaining in the game. The Bulldogs immediately turned the ball over again, but Tasha Thompson came up with a steal as the Lions attempted to get the ball into Simmers.

Kyle Jorgensen, the only returning starter on the floor for Nikiski, then hit two free throws to claim a 48-44 lead with 0:58 left. The Lions’ Chelsea Dyson hit 1-of-2 from the foul line before Dyson tied the game with an old-fashioned 3-point play on a left-handed scoop layup after yet another Nikiski turnover.

Nikiski managed to get the ball up the floor and missed a shot, but ACS knocked the rebound out-of-bounds. After a timeout, the Bulldogs got the ball to senior Becca Carlson on the wing. Carlson pump-faked, dribbled into the lane, set her feet and bottomed out a short jumper with 20 seconds left.

“It’s nice when life works out,” Romans said. “It doesn’t always work out. Becca’s a kid who’s spent a ton of time in the gym. That wasn’t an accident.”

ACS came down and missed shot, but Nikiski knocked the rebound out-of-bounds. After a timeout, the Bulldogs got the ball in to Simmers, who missed two bunnies before Tasha Thompson cleared the rebound. The Lions fouled Carlson, who made 1-of-2 free throws with .8 of a second left to finish with 16 points.

“We did what we wanted to do,” ACS coach Daniel Skipworth said. “We got the ball where we wanted it, we got the shot we wanted and we got the player we wanted. She’s not going to miss those that often.”

Nikiski (11-2, 2-1) had lost to ACS (9-3, 2-1) 49-36 one week earlier in Anchorage. With the conference tournament at Nikiski and possibly state still to come, both teams were looking at Friday’s game as a building block and not a destination.

“I think we made a few mistakes tonight that we’re going to have to correct during the season,” said Carlson, who earlier this season nailed a game-winning 3-pointer against Homer. “We have to be ready for them at regions.”

Skipworth, whose squad was down 46-35 with 3:12 left in the game, said his team’s frantic comeback effort was a boost, even if it came up short. He said his squad sat two starters for the first half due to disciplinary reasons, and that probably caused the Lions to fall into a 14-7 hole after the first quarter.

“With the history of Nikiski, to come down here and play them as tough as we did and not give up was important,” he said. “It would have been really easy to give up when we were down 10 or 11. We kept coming back.”

Romans said it was a big step forward for his team to close out a game without Hannah Thompson on the floor. He said that shows that a number of players are coming forward to take the pressure off Thompson and Carlson. He also said the team played its best defense of the year on Friday.

The biggest coming-out party was thrown by sophomore Eliza Chadwick. Chadwick was the only Nikiski player to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor, nailing an unconscious 7-of-9, including both of the 3-pointers she attempted. She finished with 20 points.

“That’s probably the best I’ve played,” she said. “I’m not much of a shooter. I’m more of a defensive type. It was somewhat of a surprise — a happy surprise.”

Chadwick’s hot hand was enough to improve Nikiski’s shooting percentage in the game to 40 percent, while ACS shot 36 percent. Nikiski needed that slightly better shooting percentage because it turned the ball over 31 times to the 27 turnovers of ACS.

ACS boys 76, Nikiski 48

After trailing 20-16 after one period, the Bulldogs were outscored 22-5 in the second period as the Lions took control of the Southcentral Conference tilt.

Nikiski had practiced two times a day to get ready for this weekend’s games after ACS had outscored the Bulldogs 46-17 in the first quarter one week earlier. The Lions won that contest 109-47.

“We hung with them for a while,” Nikiski coach Reid Kornstad said of his team, which has one win this year. “One of the guys said after the game, ‘We’re starting to hang with these teams longer and longer.’”

Kornstad said the two-a-days were not as much about teaching basketball as they were about teaching his team to make a commitment. He said his team responded well to the challenge.

“I’m happy with the effort,” Kornstad said. “They’re learning each day what hard work is.”

Kornstad said the second quarter was another example of his team’s lack of experience becoming more evident as the game wears on.

Jay-min-Kim paced the Lions with 24 points, while Yuri Tibbs had 17 points and Matt Sullivan had 10 points. For Nikiski, Kenny Fagan had 16 points and Jesse Cook had 11 points.

Kornstad credited Wiley Bennett with giving every ounce of his energy in the two-a-days and game. The coach said Josh Vance made a huge turnaround with his attitude over the course of the week, and that Corey Smith provided solid senior leadership during the trying week of practice.

Nikiski girls 46, Houston 30

The host Bulldogs held the Hawks to 15 points after the first quarter in picking up a conference victory on Saturday.

Carlson had 16 points for Nikiski, while Hannah Thompson added 15.

Houston boys 59, Nikiski 27

The visiting Hawks held the Bulldogs to six points in the first half to pick up the victory. Donovan Parker had 20 points to pace the Hawks, while Kenny Fagan had nine points for Nikiski.

Girls

BULLDOGS 51, LIONS 48

ACS 7 14 13 14 —48

Nikiski 14 11 16 10 —51

ANCHORAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS (48) — White 3 0-0 6, D. Simmers 0 3-4 3, Jentzen 0 0-0 0, Dyson 2 2-3 6, Grace 0 1-2 1, Hoch 3 2-2 8, M. Simmers 1 0-0 2, A. Simmers 8 6-10 22, Fischetti 0 0-0 0. Totals — 17 14-21 48.

NIKISKI (51) — Romans 0 0-0 0, B. Carlson 4 6-8 16, Pritchard 1 5-7 7, Chadwick 7 4-6 20, H. Thompson 2 1-2 5, T. Thompson 0 1-3 1, Jorgensen 0 2-4 2. Totals — 14 19-30 51.

3-point goals — Nikiski 4 (B. Carlson 2, Chadwick 2). Team fouls — Anchorage Christian Schools 27, Nikiski 20. Fouled out — H. Thompson.

BULLDOGS 46, HAWKS 30

Houston 15 5 3 7 —30

Nikiski 14 4 13 15 —46

HOUSTON (30) — VanKirk 3 1-2 7, Mason 4 0-0 9, Redford 1 3-7 5, Warner 0 0-0 0, Hundley 1 0-0 2, Katzenbager 1 3-4 5. Totals — 11 7-13 30.

NIKISKI (46) — Romans 1 1-2 3, B. Carlson 5 3-3 16, Chadwick 1 0-0 2, H. Thompson 4 5-8 15, T. Thompson 1 3-4 6, Jorgensen 2 0-0 4, Peek 0 0-0 0. Totals — 14 12-17 46.

3-point goals — Houston 1 (Mason 1), Nikiski 6 (B. Carlson 3, H. Thompson 2, T. Thompson 1). Team fouls — Houston 18, Nikiski 11. Fouled out — none.

Boys

LIONS 76, BULLDOGS 48

ACS 20 22 17 17 —76

Nikiski 16 5 16 11 —48

ANCHORAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS (76) — Bowden 4 1-1 9, Sullivan 4 0-0 10, Miller 2 3-7 7, Busse 2 0-0 4, Koontz 1 0-0 2, Tibbs 8 0-0 17, Jay-min-Kim 9 6-7 24. Totals — 31 11-17 76.

NIKISKI (48) — Olson 3 2-2 9, Smith 1 0-0 2, Wik 1 0-0 3, Fagan 4 6-9 16, Bennett 1 0-0 2, Cook 4 3-6 11, Holloway 1 1-2 3, Vance 0 0-0 0, Burns 1 0-0 2. Totals — 16 12-19 48.

3-point goals — Anchorage Christian Schools 3 (Sullivan 2, Tibbs 1), Nikiski 4 (Fagan 2, Wik 1, Olson 1). Team fouls — Anchorage Christian Schools 16, Nikiski 16. Fouled out — Tibbs, Wik.

HAWKS 59, BULLDOGS 27

Houston 16 12 25 6 —59

Nikiski 3 3 13 8 —27

HOUSTON (59) — Parker 9 1-3 20, Mason 1 0-0 2, Webb 1 0-0 2, Fredericks 3 0-0 6, Thamm 2 0-0 5, Veit 0 7-8 7, Tynick 0 0-0 0, Leitenkof 2 0-0 5, Herman 2 2-4 6, Castleberry 0 0-0 0, Steed 0 0-0 0, Strickland 1 0-5 2, Conn 1 2-2 4. Totals — 22 12- 22 59.

NIKISKI (27) — Olson 0 0-0 0, Smith 2 0-0 6, Wik 2 0-0 4, Fagan 2 4-6 9, Bennett 0 0-0 0, Cook 4 0-0 8, Holloway 0 0-0 0, Vance 0 0-0 0, Burns 0 0-0 0. Totals — 10 4-7 27.

3-point goals — Houston 3 (Parker 1, Thamm 1, Leitenkof 1), Nikiski 3 (Smith 2, Fagan 1). Team fouls — Houston 10, Nikiski 10. Fouled out — none.



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