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Kenai girls nip SoHi in final minute: Soldotna boys nail free throws in final period to tackle Kardinals

Posted: Sunday, January 31, 2010

High-pressure situations are no problem for Morgan Wensley.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Kenai's Lexi Beeson and Soldotna's Megan Hardy wrestle for the ball in the third quarter Saturday night at KCHS.

Leading by two points with under 10 seconds to play, Wensley stepped up to the line, put the shouts from a packed crowd out of her mind, and drained two free throws to seal a 47-43 Kenai Central victory over visiting crosstown rival Soldotna on Saturday. The Stars earned a split with a 67-57 win in the boys game.

Wensley said she tried to think of shooting foul shots in practice. "I just wanted to be calm," she said.

Though Wensley put the game out of reach for the Stars, it was the all five players on the floor that earned the win.

"It was definitely a whole team effort that brought us to that point," Wensley said. "We finally finished a game and played a whole 32 minutes."

Kards head coach Stacia Rustad agreed.

"It was our best team production all season long," she said. "We just had a quality 32 minutes of production from everyone."

"They hit some big shots at the end and pulled it out," Stars head coach Mark Tuter said.

Kenai battled back from a 13-4 first-quarter deficit to knot the score at 17-all and eventually gain a 25-23 lead by halftime.

"We responded like champions," Rustad said. She said her team remained calm and climbed back into the game bucket by bucket.

Ten of Raquel Young's 16 points came in the second quarter for Kenai.

"That kid is just getting it done down low for us," Rustad said of Young.

Wensley had a team-high 17 points for the Kards and Samantha Hull chipped in 10.

Rustad said Wensley stepped up and made some big shots and Hull managed the game to perfection.

"She just ran this team as well as she could," Rustad said of Hull.

Bailey Beeson and Lierin Flanagan aren't big offensive producers, but their defense on SoHi's Karen Senette was phenomenal, Rustad said. Senette scored a team-high 21 points for SoHi, but had to work hard for every one of them, Rustad said.

"It was just a great team effort," she said. "Everyone has to play their best to beat good teams, and we did that tonight."

Trailing 37-33 in the fourth quarter, Wensley drained a 3-pointer to cut the Stars' lead to one. After a SoHi bucket, Hull came right back with another 3-pointer for Kenai to tie the game at 39. Kenai and SoHi traded two-pointers to knot the score at 43 apiece.

Wensley then hit a long two to take the lead with just over a minute left in regulation. She had nine fourth-quarter points.

With under 10 seconds to play, Wensley grabbed a defensive rebound and a host of Stars converged on her. Shelby Dykstra was called for her fifth foul, putting Wensley at the line in a bonus situation.

She drained both, and sealed the Kenai victory.

Tuter said his team missed open shots in the second half, which put his girls into a tailspin. Kenai made its free throws at the end of the game and SoHi didn't. That was the major difference, Tuter said.

"We played harder, we played smarter," Rustad said.

Rustad and Tuter both anticipated the close, back-and-forth game from their teams.

"We knew that we were in for a battle," Rustad said. "Every time Kenai and SoHi play, you know it's going to be a barnburner."

Soldotna boys 67, Kenai 57

SoHi made 11-of-17 fourth-quarter free throws to secure the victory over Kenai.

Converting free throws late in the contest won the game, Stars head coach Matt Johnson said.

SoHi's Blaine Carver, Boomer Blossom and Robbie Smithwick went a combined 7-of-8 from the line late in the fourth quarter, putting the game out of reach for Kenai.

"It sealed the deal tonight because Kenai didn't quit," Johnson said. "We responded well by knocking down those free throws."

The Stars went 18-of-25 from the line for the game. Kenai made 15 of its 22 free throw attempts.

Kards head coach Ken Felchle said his team was in foul trouble early in the fourth, forcing the Kards to foul to get back into the game, which is no easy task against the Stars.

"That is a tough team to play from behind against," Felchle said.

"I was happy with our kids," Johnson said. "I thought we rebounded the ball pretty well."

Johnson said his team had fewer than 10 total turnovers, a performance he'd like to repeat every game.

"We really wanted to make sure we had quality looks by taking care of the ball," he said.

Blossom paced the Stars with 28 points. Carver had 13 and Tyler Hahn chipped in 10. Tyler Spalding led Kenai with 18 points. Nine different Kardinals recorded points in the game.

"We played a very, very solid team," Felchle said of SoHi. He said missed shots in the second half was the difference.

Felchle said he was proud of his team's effort and he knows Kenai can compete with SoHi's talent.

Playing in front of a packed house made the game that much more intense, Felchle said.

"That was just an exciting atmosphere to play in," he said.

Soldotna girls 66, Homer 18

The visiting Stars received 14 points apiece from Sierra Ackerman and Megan Hardy in notching a conference win in Homer. Elissa Tutt and Melissa Wood each had six points for the Mariners.

Soldotna boys 49, Homer 34

The visiting Stars outscored the Mariners 14-2 in the fourth quarter to secure a league victory.

The Mariners outscored the Stars 16-13 in the first quarter, and trailed 35-32 after three quarters before Soldotna took control. Boomer Blossom had a game-high 24 points for Soldotna, including eight in the fourth quarter. Blaine Carver pitched in 12 for the Stars.

For Homer, Michael Pate pumped in 14 points and Devon Kennelty added 11.

ACS girls 45, Kenai 43

Debbiey Simmers poured in 21 points on Friday as the visiting Lions came back to top the Kardinals in nonconference action.

Kenai led 17-5 after the first quarter and 29-19 at halftime. ACS outscored the Kardinals 13-4 in the third quarter, with Simmers netting nine points in the frame. The Lions then edged the Kards 13-10 in the final eight minutes. Raquel Young had 18 points for the Kardinals.

Kenai boys 76, ACS 34

The host Kardinals bolted past the Lions for a nonconference win. Kenai put 11 players in the scoring column, with AJ Hull netting 16, Kai Risung hitting for 15 and Tyler Spalding collecting 11. Luke Charters had 14 points for ACS.

Mike Nesper can be reached at mike.nesper@peninsulaclarion.com.

Girls

Kardinals 47, Stars 43

Soldotna 16 7 8 12 -- 43

Kenai 11 14 5 14 -- 47

SOLDOTNA (43) -- L. Forbes 0 0-0 0, K. Senette 6 6-6 21, K. Sholin 0 0-0 0, S. Dykstra 2 1-3 5, S. Ackerman 0 0-0 0, K. VanAntwerp 2 0-0 4, J. Duke 1 0-0 3, M. Hardy 1 0-1 2, K. Skjold 4 0-1 8. Totals -- 16 7-11 43.

KENAI (47) -- S. Hull 3 2-2 10, A. McGahan 0 0-0 0, L. Beeson 1 1-2 3, B. Beeson 0 1-2 1, L. Flanagan 0 0-0 0, M. Wensley 6 2-4 17, S. Dunlap 0 0-0 0, R. Young 8 0-1 16. Totals -- 18 6-11 47.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 4 (Senette 3, Duke 1); Kenai 5 (Hull 2, Wensley 3). Team fouls -- Soldotna 16; Kenai 13. Fouled out -- Dykstra.

Boys

Stars 67, Kardinals 57

Soldotna 13 14 21 19 -- 67

Kenai 14 16 12 15 -- 57

SOLDOTNA (67) -- T. Hahn 3 2-4 10, D. Story 2 0-2 4, B. Blossom 9 5-6 28, Z. Johnson 1 0-1 2, B. Carver 3 7-8 13, D. Stilchen 0 0-0 0, R. Skjold 0 0-0 0, R. Smithwick 1 4-4 6, E. Whithrow 0 0-0 0, J. Barnes 2 0-0 4, G. Bosick 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 21 18-25 67.

KENAI (57) -- B. Lowe 1 1-2 3, A. Hull 2 1-4 5, B. Kiefer 3 1-2 8, T. Spalding 7 4-6 18, K. Risung 0 2-2 2, B. Reilly 2 1-1 5, N. Rouswell 0 1-2 1, C. Hayes 3 2-2 10, L. Wensley 1 0-0 3, K. Rogers 0 2-2 2. Totals -- 19 15-22 57.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 4 (Hahn 2, Blossom 2); Kenai 3 (Kiefer 1, Hayes 1, Wensley 1). Team fouls -- Soldotna 18; Kenai 15. Fouled out -- Story, Lowe.

Friday girls

Stars 66, Mariners 18

Soldotna 19 18 14 15 --66

Homer 2 10 5 1 --18

SOLDOTNA (66) -- Forbes 3 0-0 6, Senette 2 0-0 5, Sholin 1 0-0 2, Jensen 2 0-0 4, Dykstra 0 0-0 0, Ackerman 5 1-2 14, VanAntwerp 1 0-0 2, Duke 2 0-0 5, Hardy 7 0-2 14, Skjold 2 4-6 8, Barkman 3 0-0 6. Totals -- 28 5-9 66.

HOMER (18) --Kettelle 0 0-0 0, Tutt 2 2-3 6, Edens 0 0-0 0, Needham 0 0-2 0, Stafford 0 2-7 2, Erickson 0 0-0 0, Cordova 1 2-2 4, Wood 3 0-0 6. Totals -- 6 4-6 18.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 5 (Skjold 4, Ackerman 1). Team fouls -- Soldotna 15, Homer 8. Fouled out -- none.

Lions 45, Kardinals 43

ACS 5 14 13 13 --45

Kenai 17 12 4 10 --43

ANCHORAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS (45) -- Crayton 0 2-2 2, Snyder 0 1-2 1, Madren 2 1-2 5, Simmers 8 4-5 21, Bennett 4 0-0 8, Leach 1 0-0 2, Ehrhardt 2 2-2 6. Totals -- 17 10-13 45.

KENAI CENTRAL (43) -- Hull 2 0-2 5, McGahan 0 0-0 0, L. Beeson 4 1-2 10, B. Beeson 0 0-0 0, Flanagan 1 1-1 3, Wensley 1 0-0 2, Dunlap 2 0-0 5, Young 8 2-4 18. Totals -- 18 4-9 43.

3-point goals -- ACS 1 (Simmers 1), Kenai 3 (Hull 1, L. Beeson 1, Dunlap 1). Team fouls -- ACS 10, Kenai 12. Fouled out -- none.

Friday boys

Stars 49, Mariners 34

Soldotna 13 14 8 14 --49

Homer 16 6 10 2 --34

SOLDOTNA (49) -- Hahn 0 0-0 0, Story 1 1-2 3, Blossom 9 5-5 24, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Carver 6 0-0 12, Minogue 0 0-0 0, Stilchen 0 0-0 0, Skjold 0 0-0 0, Smithwick 0 0-0 0, Withrow 0 2-2 2, Barnes 2 0-0 4. Totals --20 8-9 49.

HOMER (34) -- Watry 0 0-0 0, Walsworth 1 0-0 2, Garvey 3 1-2 7, Jester 0 0-0 0, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Day 0 0-0 0, Glasser 0 0-0 0, Wood 0 0-0 0, Kennelty 3 5-6 11, Pate 7 0-0 14, Shannon 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 14 6-10 34.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 1 (Blossom 1). Team fouls -- Soldotna 13, Homer 11. Fouled out -- none.

Kardinals 76, Lions 34

ACS 8 7 11 8 --34

Kenai 16 17 23 20 --76

ANCHORAGE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS (34) -- Charters 7 0-0 14, Brandon 2 0-0 5, Godsby 1 0-0 2, Brown 1 0-0 3, Scott 2 2-2 6, Moorse 0 0-0 0, Quinlan 0 0-0 0, McVry 0 0-0 0, Sullivan 2 0-0 4, Simmers 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 15 2-2 34.

KENAI CENTRAL (76) -- Lowe 0 2-2 2, Ziehmer 0 0-0 0, Hull 6 4-4 16, Kiefer 1 0-0 2, Spalding 5 1-2 11, Landry 2 0-2 5, Risung 5 5-5 15, Sandahl 1 0-0 2, Reilly 1 2-2 4, Rouswell 2 0-0 4, Hayes 0 0-0 0, Wensley 3 0-0 6, Rogers 3 3-6 9. Totals -- 29 14-18 76.

3-point goals -- ACS 2 (Brandon 1, Brown 1), Kenai 1 (Landry 1). Team fouls -- ACS 16, Kenai 11. Fouled out -- none.



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