Kenai girls get region sweep

Posted: Sunday, February 04, 2001

Three bounces and then it teetered on the edge of the end for the Kenai Kardinals Saturday.

As the ball dropped through the hoop on a shot from Michelle Edwards at the buzzer that pushed the Kardinals into overtime and to an eventual 56-51 Region III win over the Wasilla Warriors, a collective cheer from the Kardinal faithful erupted like a cannon firing.

"We set up one of our inbound plays designed for Jamie (Montgomery) to go to the basket with the ball," Kenai coach Jim Beeson said. "The ball ended up in Michelle's hands and she shot it after she bobbled it slightly and it went in."

The Kenai Kardinals used their speed, combined with the agressive ballhandling ability of senior guard Jessi Reilly and the shooting potential of Erica Shinn, to propel themselves to victory against the towering Wasilla Warriors in the overtime.

Shinn's only buckets in the overtime came from the free-throw line, as she calmly hit 5-of-8 shots.

"I knew that if I didn't hit those shots then we would only be up by two and I thought to myself, 'It is very important that I make these,'" Shinn said. "I was very happy with my free-throw shooting tonight. It is not something that I excel at."

The Kards, who relied on the consistant passing ability of Reilly to find the open shooter, proved that the quickest way to topple an intimidating foe is to drive the ball straight at their biggest asset -- the towering presence of the 6-foot-4 junior forward Brittney Kroon.

"We knew that if we were going to win then our guards were going to have to play as good as their posts," Beeson said. "I told the girls that I was very impressed with their game play. They didn't quit when there were plenty of chances to quit. They hit some key shots that enabled them to stay in the game."

The quick-release shot of Shinn proved highly effective against the normally shadow-casting defensive combination of Kroon and 6-foot-2 senior forward Nancy Wininger as she led the Kards with 23 points. The Warriors followed the sure shooting of Kroon, who poured in 16, while teammate Tonya James chipped in 15 in the losing effort.

"Any time you beat Wasilla, it's great," Beeson said. "They are a quality program with a really dedicated team."

The proverbial stake in the heart for the Warriors was the Kardinals ability to force the squad to rely completely on their inside presence due to the effectiveness of Kenai's guards Reilly, Edwards and Karli Knudsen and their defensive abilities.

"The team played great tonight," Shinn said. "The guards kept the defense intense, it made it difficult for their guards to get the ball inside to Kroon."

The Warriors were forced to divert their strategies in the overtime period, switching to the foul-on-sight method of defending -- hoping for a miracle in the expiring minutes against the sure handed passing and dead-eye final period shooting of the Kards.

Though the towering presence of Kroon and Wininger was first and foremost on most of the Kenai players' minds, Shinn said it didn't become a fear factor.

"Beeson told us not to be afraid of their height," Shinn said. "I just played her (Kroon) as hard as I could. I knew she was a very good player and I knew I would have to play my best to be able to score against her."

Friday night's girls action found another satisfying end to a difficult ballgame for the Kardinals as they waltzed past the Kodiak Bears in a decisive 51-33 romping.

The Kards jumped ahead to an early 32-15 first-half lead before continuing their offensive dominance in the second half.

Kenai's defense held all of the struggling Bears players under double digits. The Kards followed the hot hand of Knudsen, who poured in 15 points, while eight other Kenai players put points on the board.

The Kenai boys found an entirely different end to their struggles against the Warriors of Wasilla as they stumbled to a 46-28 loss in front of their home crowd.

The Kards fell behind 15-10 at the end of the first quarter and could not come back as the Warriors pounded out 31 second-half points while Kenai struggled to keep pace.

"I knew they (Wasilla) were tough, they are the third-ranked team in the state," Kenai coach Rich Bartolowits said. "We played well, we just had trouble getting our offense going."

Kenai made a run in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 points, but could not dig out of the hole they found themselves in as the Warriors put 16 of their own fourth-quarter points on the board.

"They are a very spread out team," Bartolowits said. "They have speed and height, they are a very good team and we knew it was going to be tough if we were going to beat them."

The Kardinals just couldn't keep up with the inside scoring ability of Ray Schafer, who poured in 21 points to lead the Warriors to victory. Kenai, who only had five players put points on the board, followed Marcus Webster, who sparked the only offensive fire for the Kards, finding the bucket for 16 points.

"These teams are a lot closer than the score indicated," Bartolowits said. "We just have to figure someway to (get our offense) working."

Friday's action found a similar ending for the Kardinals as they struggled to keep up with the height and speed of the undefeated Kodiak Bears.

The Bears pulled ahead 33-19 at the end of the first half and didn't look back as they pounded out a 61-31 conquering of the Kards.

The Bears followed the scoring abilities of Nick Billings and Phil Nisbett, who had 16 points apiece, while teammate Geoffrey Agmata chipped in 11. All but one Kodiak player put points on the board.

The Kardinals followed Webster's scoring lead as he poured in 14 points as the only Kenai player to score into double digits.

The Kardinal boys next game will be Feb. 13 when they visit the Skyview Panthers.

Friday

KARDINALS GIRLS 51, BEARS 33

Kenai 16 16 8 11 -- 51

Kodiak 4 11 10 8 -- 33

KENAI (51) -- Bauder 0 0-0 0, Knudsen 6 3-3 15, Reilly 2 2-4 7, Montgomery 2 0-0 4, Goggia 1 0-0 2, Popp 0 0-0 0, Edwards 3 0-0 6, McCune 0 0-0 0, Hall 2 0-0 4, Shinn 4 1-4 9, Erin Smith 1 0-2 2, Erica Smith 0 0-0 0, Rhyner 0 2-2 2. Totals -- 21 8-15 51.

KODIAK (33) -- Hanson 0 0-0 0, Abella 1 0-0 2, Stevens 1 0-0 2, Bennett 0 0-0 0, Gunderson 2 2-2 6, Fulp 3 0-0 7, Scarr-Pryor 2 2-3 6, Schmelzenbach 0 0-0 0, Rietze 0 0-0 0, Brown 1 2-3 4, Withrow 1 0-0 2, Swartout 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 13 6-8 33.

3-point goals -- Kenai 1 (Reilly 1); Kodiak 1 (Fulp 1). Total fouls -- Kenai 15, Kodiak 14. Fouled out -- none.

BEARS BOYS 61, KARDINALS 31

Kodiak 20 13 18 10 -- 61

Kenai 13 6 8 4 -- 31

KODIAK (61) -- Nisbett 8 0-0 16, G. Agmata 4 3-4 11, A. Agmata 1 2-2 4, Schwarz 1 2-2 4, Kilborn 1 0-0 2, Mortenson 1 2-2 4, Bailie 2 0-0 4, Kinsley 0 0-0 0, LeDoux 0 0-0 0, Billings 8 0-0 16. Totals -- 24 9-10 61.

KENAI (31) -- Pault 0 0-1 0, Church 0 0-0 0, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Foley 0 0-0 0, Webster 7 0-0 14, Magsayo 2 2-2 6, Schooley 1 0-2 2, Burck 1 0-0 3, Dunn 2 0-0 4, Myers 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 14 2-6 31.

3-point goals -- Kodiak 0 ; Kenai 1 (Burck 1). Total fouls -- Kodiak 12, Kenai 10. Fouled out -- none.

Saturday

KARDINALS GIRLS 56, WARRIORS 51, OT

Kenai 16 12 10 8 10 -- 56

Wasilla 13 10 13 10 5 -- 51

KENAI (56) -- Bauder 0 0-0 0, Knudsen 1 5-9 8, Reilly 3 2-5 8, Montgomery 1 2-2 4, Goggia 0 0-0 0, Popp 0 0-0 0, Edwards 3 2-3 8, McCune 0 0-0 0, Hall 1 0-0 2, Shinn 8 7-10 23, Erin Smith 1 1-4 3, Erica Smith 0 0-0 0, Rhyner 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 18 19-33 56.

WASILLA (51) -- James 6 2-3 15, Tompkins 0 0-0 0, Jenks 2 0-0 4, Schirack 3 1-3 7, Adcock 0 0-0 0, Lund 0 0-0 0, Hayse 2 2-4 6, Jillson 0 0-0 0, Egger 0 0-0 0, Kroon 8 1-4 16, Mayse 0 0-0 0, Wininger 0 2-2 2. Totals -- 21 8-16 51.

3-point goals -- Kenai 1 (Knudsen); Wasilla 1 (James). Total fouls -- Kenai 11, Wasilla 18. Fouled out --none.

WARRIORS BOYS 46, KENAI 28

Wasilla 6 11 15 16 -- 46

Kenai 6 4 6 18 -- 28

WASILLA (46) -- Bean 0 1-2 1, Schierman 3 0-0 6, McCaul 0 0-0 0, Pettijohn 0 0-0 0, Watts 3 3-4 9, Faeo 2 3-5 7, Widmer 0 0-0 0, Webb 1 0-2 2, Collins 0 0-0 0, Heibel 0 0-0 0, Schafer 9 2-5 21, Furman 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 18 9-18 46.

KENAI (28) -- Pault 0 0-0 0, Church 1 0-0 2, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Foley 0 0-0 0, Webster 6 2-4 16, Magsayo 2 0-2 4, Schooley 0 0-0 0, Burck 0 0-0 0, Dunn 1 2-2 4, Myers 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 11 4-8 28.

3-point goals --Wasilla 1 (Schafer); Kenai 2 (Webster 2); Total fouls -- Wasilla 13, Kenai 17. Fouled out -- none.



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