Wolverines' streak snapped by Homer

Loss in ASAA endowment game ends state's longest active run at 56 games

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2003

When the Homer and Ninilchik high school girls hooked up for a midseason basketball game, and Homer handed the visiting Wolverines a 48-38 defeat, it was just another game, right?

Not exactly.

With its nonconference win over its 2A neighbor on Tuesday night, the 4A Homer girls ended the longest current winning streak in the state.

It's true that, as an Alaska School Activities Association endowment game, it doesn't count toward the teams' official records. But that isn't likely to make the taste of defeat any less bitter for the Ninilchik girls.

For 56 straight games, including an endowment game against Cordova last season, the Ninilchik Wolverines had not suffered a loss. Nine of those 56 wins had come against larger 3A and 4A schools and Ninilchik had been homing in on their own state record of 57 straight wins.

"As far as I'm concerned, the streak is over," said Dan Leman, the Ninilchik coach who has guided his Wolverines to 10 straight District 3/2A titles as well as five state championships in the past seven years. In three of those seasons Ninilchik was unbeaten. "But I told my players, 'It's a loss, nothing more, nothing less.'

"Now we just have to start a new streak."

Dan's daughter Whitney, who fought off the flu to score a game-high 21 points, said there was silence in the Wolverines' locker room following the game.

The last time Leman, now a senior, had been suited up for a Ninilchik loss was her very first high school game her freshman year.

"It hurts, definitely," she said. "But we're going to (the Nenana) tournament tomorrow and I know we're going to play harder than we've ever played before."

For the Homer players, who were clicking with some of their most creative offense of the season, the game's ASAA status didn't reduce the impact of beating the three-time defending state 2A champs.

"They were very aware of it," Mariner coach Mark Mahan said of Ninilchik's status as the top-ranked 2A team in the state.

"And Ninilchik takes pride in the fact of how many (big schools) in a row they've beaten. I don't think our girls wanted to get on that list."

The Mariners, who snapped a seven-game losing streak of their own, showed a balanced attack. Seven Mariners scored in the game. Channing Setterquist led the way with 13 points and Sara Thompson had 11.

"It's nice to beat them," said Homer senior Rose Sinnhuber, who played her first two high school seasons in District 3 with Homer Christian School. "I've never beaten them, so this was a big game for me."

Homer boys 53, Ninilchik 30

Steven Stead netted 14 points and Josh Luebbert chipped in with 11 as the Mariners defeated the Wolverines in a nonregion endowment game in Homer.

The Wolverines were able to keep pace with the Mariners through the first half, trailing by seven at the break, but Homer outscored Ninilchik 16-2 in the third quarter.

Steven Miller scored 13 to lead the Wolverines.

Girls

MARINERS 48, WOLVERINES 38

Ninilchik 3 14 6 15 -- 38

Homer 9 20 8 11 -- 48

NINILCHIK (38) -- Ka. Moerlein 1 0-0 2, Leman 6 8-9 21, Wolford 1 0-0 3, Matson 3 0-0 7, Ke. Moerlein 1 0-1 2, Wood 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Deiman 1 0-0 3, Dawson 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 13 8-10 38.

HOMER (48) -- Crandall 2 1-2 5, Thompson 5 1-1 11, Sinnhuber 1 4-4 7, Cousins 3 2-2 8, Morawitz 1 0-0 2, McKinstry 0 0-0 0, Riley 0 0-0 0, Lowney 1 0-0 2, Setterquist 5 3-4 13, Lightcap 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 18 11-13 48.

3-point goals -- Ninilchik 4 (Leman, Wolford, Matson, Deiman), Homer 1 (Sinnhuber). Total fouls -- Ninilchik 12, Homer 13. Fouled out -- none.

MARINERS 53, WOLVERINES 30

Ninilchik 8 6 2 14 -- 30

Homer 10 11 16 16 -- 53

NINILCHIK (30) -- Coleman 0 0-0 0, Kruzick 1 0-2 2, Miller 6 1-4 13, Schollenberg 0 0-0 0, D. Hatfield 2 0-0 4, Chihuly 0 0-0 0, Cuffe 0 0-0 0, C. Hatfield 2 0-0 4, Russo 0 4-4 4, Cooper 1 0-0 3. Totals -- 12 5-10 30.

HOMER (53) -- Kuhns 0 0-0 0, Mahan 1 0-0 3, Adams 0 0-0 0, Luebbert 5 0-0 11, Drake 3 0-0 6, Stead 7 0-0 14, Crum 1 2-2 4, Smith 2 0-0 4, Golsen 0 3-6 3, Peterson 0 1-2 1, Winne 3 1-2 7. Totals -- 22 7-12 53.

3-point goals -- Ninilchik 1 (Cooper), Homer 2 (Mahan, Luebbert). Total fouls -- Ninilchik 10, Homer 12. Fouled out -- D. Hatfield.

Sepp Jannotta is a reporter for the Homer News.



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