Wasilla takes 2 from SoHi

Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011

Forget about winning. The Soldotna High School boys basketball team had trouble scoring.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Soldotna's Zach Jackson goes up for a 3-point shot in the fourth period Friday against Wasilla.

With their most efficient outside shooter out sick and another playing at partial strength because of a nagging ankle injury, the Stars sputtered to a 47-29 loss at home against Wasilla in Northern Lights Conference action Friday evening at Soldotna.

The Stars competed without Evan Withrow, a consistent scorer who was sidelined with a sinus infection, and marksman Robbie Smithwick played gingerly on a sore ankle.

Throw in a stingy Wasilla defense and the result was the lowest scoring output of the season for SoHi, which managed just eight points in the first half.

"We didn't execute the game plan," SoHi coach Matt Johnson said, "and that's frustrating."

SoHi tried to slow the pace from the opening whistle -- and was effective for the first eight minutes -- by using long, methodical possessions to generate clean shots and keep Wasilla's offense from scoring in spurts.

During the first quarter, the Stars held the ball for 30-plus seconds on numerous sequences and kept the game close as Wasilla took a 6-5 lead into the second.

Then the game went south on the Stars.

They managed just three points on one field goal over the next eight minutes, falling behind 17-8 at halftime.

A 17-point third quarter by the Warriors, who are 7-0 in conference play, turned the game into a blowout as they opened a 34-13 lead.

"We kind of told the guys it's got to be a low-scoring affair for us to pull it out," Johnson said. "We wanted a low-scoring game, but the problem was we didn't defend as well as we needed to."

That was evident during a second half in which the Warriors used a 21-2 run between the third and fourth quarters thanks to the scoring of Braydon Kuiper, who finished with a game-high 17 points. Teammate Wade Stahle added 11.

SoHi also committed 18 turnovers as Wasilla used half-court traps on defense.

"We had to try to change the pace a little bit," Wasilla coach Ryan Engebretsen said of the defense. "We had to do something to change the pace and that seemed to work today."

It was a struggle to score all night for SoHi, which had just 13 points entering the fourth quarter. The Stars scored 16 in the fourth, but most of those points came when the game had already been decided.

SoHi attempted just three free throws and made 11 field goals -- five of them 3-pointers.

Smithwick had been out the past two weeks with an ankle injury and returned to the floor Friday. After hitting a 3-pointer in the first quarter, he didn't score.

Meanwhile, Johnson expects Withrow to return next week.

"We definitely missed him, but that's part of the game," Johnson said. "You're going to have injuries, you're going to have kids who aren't available at times, and the rest of kids need to step up and take care of that."

Zach Jackson had a team-high 10 points for SoHi, while Noah Fowler added six.

The Stars host Nikiski at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday and Kodiak at the same time Friday.

Wasilla girls 67, Soldotna 44

Rarely does a coach walk away from a 23-point loss satisfied with a squad's performance.

Yet that was the case for Mark Tuter following Soldotna's 67-44 loss against powerhouse Wasilla in Northern Lights Conference action Friday at Soldotna.

"They are a good team. We had to play our very best to beat them," Tuter said. "We didn't play our very best, but we played a good game."

The Warriors (17-2 overall, 7-0 league) had six players with at least seven points, forced the Stars into 26 turnovers and recovered from a slow start to keep their record perfect in conference play.

The score was 9-9 through eight minutes, but the Warriors scored 21 points in both the second and third quarters to build a lead Soldotna wouldn't overcome.

Celeste Colegrove scored 11 of her team-high 15 points over the stretch, while Alysha Devine had 10 of her 14 in the same span.

"It was just a matter of us settling in," Wasilla coach Jeannie Hebert-Truax said. "The kids finally got into a rhythm and figured out what Soldotna had and didn't have and how to take advantage of it."

What Wasilla had was 6-foot-5 post player Kelsey Cottle, who posed matchup problems for the Stars.

Tuter wanted someone other than Cottle to beat the Stars -- she scored 10 points to go with four blocks -- so he keyed on defending the center and denying her the ball.

Problem was, Devine, Colegrove and Kyla Dinkel, who scored 10, continued to make shots for the Warriors.

"You either have to take away the outside shots or the inside shots," Tuter said. "We decided to try to take away the inside game."

Kaillee Skjold paced the Stars with 13 points, while Julie Litchfield added eight.

Soldotna (9-7, 3-3) hosts Nikiski at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Kodiak at the same time Friday.

Friday boys

Warriors 47, Stars 29

Wasilla 6 11 17 13 --47

Soldotna 5 3 5 16 --29

WASILLA (47) -- Schierman 0 1-2 1, Quenga 2 0-2 4, Ferro 2 0-0 4, Kuiper 8 0-2 17, Stahle 4 1-4 11, Anderson 1 2-2 4, Devine 3 0-0 6, Penington. Totals -- 20 4-12 47.

SOLDOTNA (29) -- Schneider 0 0-0 0, T. Fowler 1 0-0 3, Jackson 4 1-1 10, Carver 1 0-0 2, Bates 0 0-0 0, Smithwick 1 0-0 3, N. Fowler 2 0-0 6, Bosick 2 0-0 4, Young 0 1-2 1. Totals -- 11 2-3 29.

3-point field goals -- Wasilla 3 (Stahle 2, Kuiper); Soldotna 5 (N. Fowler 2, Smithwick, Jackson, T. Fowler). Team fouls -- Wasilla 10, Soldotna 11. Fouled out -- none.

Friday girls

Warriors 67, Stars 44

Wasilla 9 21 21 16 --67

Soldotna 9 10 14 11 --44

WASILLA (67) -- Hutchins 4 1-2 9, Imoe 1 0-2 2, Devine 6 0-0 14, Brown 3 0-0 7, Colegrove 5 5-6 15, Dinkel 3 0-0 6, Cottle 5 0-0 10, Burke 1 0-0 2, Johannes 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 29 6-10 67.

SOLDOTNA (44) -- Benson 2 2-6 7, Sholin 1 0-0 2, Litchfield 3 1-2 8, Skjold 5 3-6 13, Duke 3 0-0 8, Kerkvliet 1 0-2 2, Satathite 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 17 6-16 44.

3-point field goals -- Wasilla 3 (Devine 2, Brown); Soldotna 4 (Duke 2, Benson, Litchfield). Team fouls -- Wasilla 13, Soldotna 8. Fouled out -- none.

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