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Soldotna girls show depth of weapons against Seahawks

Posted: Sunday, February 09, 2003

Roger Steinbrecher has the No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A. Roger Steinbrecher was happy with the way his Seward girls played Friday night at Soldotna. Roger Steinbrecher's team still lost by 16 points.

The Soldotna girls, playing with 6-foot-1 centerpiece Rachel Besse weakened by disease, notched a 54-38 nonconference victory to move to 17-0 overall. Seward fell to 12-2, with its only two losses coming to Soldotna.

In the boys game, Seward's Bart Elhard scored 26 points as the Seahawks registered a 45-32 victory against cold-shooting Soldotna.

Besse's illness gave the SoHi girls, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, a chance to show off their numerous alternate weapons.

In the early going, Besse had trouble catching entry passes to the post and was allowing Seward to get a number of putbacks.

But Soldotna turned to other players to build a 21-13 lead after one quarter.

On offense, the Stars had seven different players score during the first quarter. SoHi shot 8 of 15 from the floor during the first eight minutes.

Power forward Hillary Zobeck picked up some of the down-low scoring load for Besse by dumping in a game-high 13 points.

The Seahawks, getting six points on putbacks, tried to keep pace by shooting a respectable 6 of 12 from the floor in the first quarter.

But Soldotna's pesky guard duo of Jennifer Senette, who finished with 10 points, and Erin Wolfe turned the tide by leading a defense that caused six first-quarter turnovers and 23 turnovers for the game.

Meanwhile, Soldotna turned the ball over just eight times in the game despite facing five different Seward defenses.

"We normally don't turn the ball over that many times, but against a team like Soldotna, we turn the ball over that many times," Steinbrecher said. "I was happy with the number of turnovers we had.

"Trust me, Soldotna earned every one of those turnovers."

Down 34-24 at the half, Steinbrecher knew his team could get back in the game with a few solid minutes of basketball at the beginning of the third quarter.

The Seahawks started the half with the ball and a diagramed play that got them two close shots, but both were missed.

The Stars took advantage by going on a 9-0 run that ended when Besse nailed a rebound layup to make the score 43-29 with 5:44 left in the third quarter. The Seahawks would not threaten the rest of the game.

"We were talking about it. Last year, the third quarter was our tough quarter. So it was nice to have that third quarter tonight," Soldotna's Amy Breakfield said.

Breakfield, Wolfe and Soldotna coach Mark Tuter all credited assistant John Christensen with firing the team up at halftime.

"Our defensive coach (Christensen) was yelling at us at halftime that we needed to toughen our defense up," Wolfe said. "That definitely lit a fire under us for the start of the second half."

Tara DeRuwe paced Seward with 11 points.

Seward boys 45, Soldotna 32

After going scoreless in the first quarter, Elhard ran amok in the second frame, scoring 14 points as the Seahawks outscored the Stars 18-7 in the second period to take 29-9 lead into the locker room.

Elhard even had a couple of dunks on the evening. His first came after a steal in the second period, and was more of a drop-in, then grab the rim.

But with six seconds left in the fourth quarter, Elhard punctuated the Seahawks' win, and his season-high scoring performance, with a solid one-handed flush.

"I threw both of them down," Elhard said, responding to the question of whether he had two dunks or one. "It was nice. Those were the first I've done this year."

While Elhard was carrying the offensive load for Seward (3-11 overall), Soldotna was once again falling prey to poor shooting. The Stars were 12 of 55, or 22 percent, from the floor on the evening.

"We weren't ready to play, or I should say some of the kids weren't ready to play," Soldotna coach Bill Withrow said. "We scored just two points in the first 10 minutes. We also had just one rebound in the first quarter."

Soldotna's tough night on offense allowed Seward to overcome some difficulties of its own. The Seahawks went 3 for 3 from the field in the third quarter, but turned the ball over 11 times in that frame.

"We came into the second half a little bit too overconfident and laid back," Elhard said. "Once they started getting back in the game, we recovered for the win."

Elhard's free throw put Seward up 39-19 with 6:23 left in the game, but Soldotna, using junior varsity swing players, cut the lead to 39-28 with 1:54 left. The comeback petered out there.

Withrow said the group of four sophomores and one junior that made the comeback are a good sign of things to come.

"The younger guys that came in for us did an excellent job," Withrow said. "I'm proud of what they did."

Girls

STARS 54, SEAHAWKS 38

Seward 13 11 9 5 --38

Soldotna 21 13 12 8 --54

SEWARD (38) -- Gaule 0 0-0 0, Hoogland 0 0-0 0, Beck 0 0-0 0, Bardarson 1 0-0 2, T. Hetrick 0 0-0 0, Regis 0 0-0 0, Boulden 0 0-0 0, W. Hetrick 3 0-0 7, L. Loomis 0 0-0 0, Seigel 1 1-2 3, DeRuwe 5 0-0 11, Linville 2 0-3 4, Dieckgraeff 3 2-4 8, Steinbrecher 1 1-2 3. Totals -- 16 4-11 38.

SOLDOTNA (54) -- Senette 5 1-1 10, Wolfe 2 0-0 4, Christensen 1 0-0 3, Foster 1 0-0 2, Besse 3 1-6 8, Syverson 2 0-0 5, Zobeck 6 1-1 13, Breakfield 3 0-0 6. Totals -- 23 3-8 54.

3-point goals -- Seward 2 (W. Hetrick 1, DeRuwe 1); Soldotna 5 (Senette 2, Christensen 1, Besse 1, Syverson 1). Total fouls -- Seward 9, Soldotna 9. Fouled out -- none.

SEAHAWKS 45, STARS 32

Seward 11 18 7 9 --45

Soldotna 2 7 10 13 --32

SEWARD (45) -- Price 1 0-0 2, Pullins 1 2-3 4, Norton 0 0-2 0, Swiderski 1 4-7 6, Elhard 10 5-8 26, Humphrey 1 0-0 2, Jones 2 1-2 5. Totals -- 16 12-22 45.

SOLDOTNA (32) -- Stone 1 1-2 3, Turnbull 3 0-0 7, Baker 2 2-2 8, Spindler 1 0-0 2, Michal 3 0-0 6, Horn 0 0-0 0, Sizemore 0 1-2 1, Gomulak 0 0-0 0, Horwath 0 0-0 0, Simpson 0 1-2 1, Utrup 2 0-0 4, Chase 0 2-2 2. Totals -- 12 7-10 32.

3-point goals -- Seward 1 (Elhard 1); Soldotna 3 (Baker 2, Turnbull 1). Total fouls -- Seward 11, Soldotna 18. Fouled out -- none.



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