Warriors nab a pair from Kardinals

Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011

For the first 16 minutes, it was tough to decipher which team was undefeated in conference play.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Kenai's Bo Reilly pulls down a rebound in front of Wasilla's Cole Schierman in the first period Saturday at KCHS.

For the next 16, it couldn't have been more clear.

The Wasilla boys basketball team kept its Northern Lights Conference record perfect in a 59-38 win over Kenai Central on Saturday, outscoring the Kardinals 31-10 in the second half after the squads played to a tie through two quarters.

The difference?

"I challenged them defensively," Wasilla coach Ryan Engebretsen said, referring to his halftime speech. "Everything we did was predicated on our defense, and they responded to the challenge pretty quickly."

Wasilla outscored Kenai Central 20-3 in the third quarter and scored 11 of the first 13 in the fourth, turning a tight game into a blowout.

It was a sudden shift after the squads exchanged baskets during an up-tempo first half in which neither team led by more than five points.

With the score 30-30, the Warriors ended the third quarter on an 18-1 run and continued to widen the gap into the fourth.

The Kards went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal during one stretch of the second half. Kenai Central also was 1-of-6 from the free-throw line in the third, finishing the game 4-of-13.

"We just could not buy a basket," Kenai Central coach Ken Felchle said. "It boiled down to that. Once we got down by double digits, the wind kind of just left us."

Wasilla, meanwhile, made all the plays over the final 16 minutes.

Connor Devine finished with a game-high 19 points -- nine in the second half -- and teammates Wade Stahle and Braydon Kuiper added 15 and 12, respectively.

"We started making the extra pass and getting the shots we wanted," Engebretsen said. "It was a total team effort, not just one guy."

Bo Reilly led the Kards with 10 points -- eight in the first half -- and Colton Hayes finished with nine. Hayes hit three 3-pointers in the second quarter.

Despite the second-half meltdown, Felchle took at least one positive from the game.

"We showed for a half we can play with the No. 1 team in the region," he said. "We just need to execute defensively and shoot the ball a little better."

Kenai Central dropped to 9-10 overall and 4-3 in league play in the loss. The team hosts East Anchorage in a nonleague contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Wasilla girls 53, Kenai Central 35

Raquel Young was at her best, but Wasilla was even better.

The Kenai Central post player was aggressive on both ends of the floor and scored a game-high 21 points in a 53-35 Northern Lights Conference loss to Wasilla at Kenai Central on Saturday.

Coach Stacia Rustad called it one of the senior's strongest efforts this season.

"To have a performance like that against a team of that caliber is quite the accomplishment," Rustad said. "Hopefully this gets her going for the rest of the season."

Sloppy passes and unforced errors doomed the Kards and led to easy scoring chances for the Warriors (17-2 overall, 7-0 league), who harassed Kenai Central's guards with defensive traps.

Celeste Colegrove, Kelsey Cottle and Alysha Hutchins combined for 42 points as Wasilla turned a 29-20 halftime lead into an 18-point victory.

The team kept its conference record perfect a night after beating Soldotna 67-44 and returns to the Valley atop the NLC standings.

"It's definitely important," Jeannie Hebert-Truax said of the back-to-back victories. "It was all about coming out and playing our game and executing offensively, getting after it defensively. I wanted to see 32 minutes of intensity."

Wreaking havoc with their pressure defense, the Warriors led from beginning to end on Saturday. Kenai Central kept the game close through 16 minutes, but struggled to take care of the ball.

Hutchins said the Warriors turned up the intensity on defense after sensing Kenai Central's backcourt couldn't handle the pressure.

"We noticed they kind of had weaker guards," she said. "So once they got past halfcourt, we trapped."

Young posted 12 of her 21 in the first half, finding ways to score against Cottle, Wasilla's 6-foot-5 center. No other Kenai Central player, however, had more than six.

Kenai Central shot just one free throw, but Rustad said her team played well outside of the turnovers.

"We're proud of the way they played," she said. "You take away some of those turnovers and we're right in the game."

Saturday boys

Warriors 59, Kardinals 38

Wasilla 16 12 20 9 --59

Kenai Central 13 15 3 7 --38

WASILLA (59) -- Schierman 0 1-2 1, Quenga 3 0-0 8, Ferro 2 0-0 4, Kuiper 5 2-2 12, Stahle 5 2-2 15, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Devine 8 3-10 19, Penington. Totals -- 22 6-18 59.

KENAI CENTRAL (38) -- Risung 1 2-2 4, Hull 1 1-6 3, T. Spalding 1 1-4 3, Sandahl 2 0-0 5, Reilly 5 0-1 10, Wensley 1 0-0 2, Hayes 3 0-0 9. Totals -- 15 4-13 38.

3-point field goals -- Wasilla 5 (Stahle 3, Quenga 2); Kenai Central 4 (Hayes 3, Sandahl). Team fouls -- Wasilla 7, Kenai Central 12. Fouled out -- none.

Saturday girls

Warriors 53, Kardinals 35

Wasilla 18 11 11 13 --53

Kenai Central 7 13 6 9 --35

WASILLA (53) -- Hutchins 3 4-8 12, Apangolook 1 0-0 3 Imoe 0 1-2 1, Devine 0 2-2 2, Brown 1 0-0 3, Colegrove 7 2-2 16, Dinkel 1 0-0 2, Cottle 7 0-0 14, Johannes 0 0-2 0. Totals -- 20 9-16 53.

KENAI CENTRAL (35) -- McGahan 0 0-0 0, Beeson 1 0-0 2, Kiefer 0 0-0 0, Dunlap 2 0-0 6, Steffensen 1 0-0 2, Wensley 2 0-0 4, Young 10 1-1 21. Totals -- 16 1-1 35.

3-point field goals -- Wasilla 4 (Hutchins 2, Apangolook, Brown); Kenai Central 2 (Dunlap 2). Team fouls -- Wasilla 8, Kenai Central 12. Fouled out -- none.

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