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Heritage remains perfect in league: Nikiski girls top Grace Christian

Posted: Sunday, February 14, 2010

When being measured, the iron rule is to stand up as straight as possible.

The Nikiski boys basketball team broke that rule Friday night in a 65-43 loss to visiting Heritage Christian in Southcentral Conference play.

The Eagles, who improved to 14-3 overall and 5-0 in the league, return all their starters from last year and are the standard by which Southcentral teams are judged.

"They are the measuring stick in the region," Nikiski coach Reid Kornstad said after falling to 8-10 overall and 2-4 in the league. "We would have liked to see how we measure up against them.

"Because we weren't mentally ready to play in the first half, we weren't able to see how we really measure up against them."

The Bulldogs stayed with the Eagles for a few minutes. With 6:12 to play in the first quarter, Lucas Herrin dumped in a layup to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead.

Heritage responded with a 13-0 run. With 57 seconds left in the first quarter, Jesse Miessner put back a rebound for an 18-6 lead.

Miessner, who finished with 19 points, had eight points during the spurt, including a pair of 3-pointers.

"We got some turnovers off of our pressure defense," Heritage coach Brad Lauwers said. "Jesse Miessner, No. 22, hit some 3s for us.

"He's had the hot hand lately, so that's been nice."

Kornstad said his team did not follow the game plan on offense or defense.

On defense, the Bulldogs let the Eagles get some good looks from 3-point land. Heritage went 7-of-17 on 3s in the first half.

"That's a big number for us," Lauwers said when informed his team had nailed seven 3s in the first half. "It helped us build a lead and helped us build confidence."

Lauwers said his team does not rely on 3-pointers, but took a bunch in the first half because the shot was available. The coach gave credit to four-year starter Jonathan Millar, who was fighting illness, for doing a good job of taking care of the ball and running the motion offense.

On offense, Nikiski struggled to attack Heritage's 2-3 zone in the first half. Kornstad said the purpose of the 2-3 is to coax the offense into taking a shot it does not want to take.

Heritage also traps aggressively out of the defense in order to try and create turnovers.

The 2-3 zone worked perfectly in the first half. Nikiski was 5-of-20 from the floor and committed 12 turnovers.

"You can't take a play off against Heritage," Kornstad said. "They're an experienced team. They're going to take advantage of it."

The Eagles led 37-12 at halftime, not the measurement for which Kornstad was hoping. The silver lining for Nikiski came in the second half, when the Bulldogs outscored the Eagles 31-28.

"Reid always does a great job coaching, but this year's team seems like it has more players that love going to open gyms," Lauwers said. "I'm sure they're disappointed with tonight, but they seem a lot better than in the last couple of years."

Kornstad said he went over the game plan again with his team at halftime, and this time his team did a better job of carrying out that plan.

"We were able to refocus at halftime, although I don't know if that's the right word because I'm not sure we were ever focused to begin with," Kornstad said.

The Bulldogs had a lot of success getting the ball down low to Herrin in the second half. He had 18 of his game-high 24 points in the second half. Brando Wik had eight of his 10 points in the second half.

Gideon Vreeman added 12 points for the Anchorage-based Eagles, while Jeremiah Ridgeway had 10.

"We're a real low-budget operation," Lauwers said. "This is the longest road trip we take all year.

"We really enjoy it. We're always treated really well down here."

Nikiski girls 52, Grace Christian 34

The Bulldogs put three players in double figures in picking up a Southcentral Conference victory on Saturday.

Savannah Griffel paced Nikiski with 13 points, while Kassi Johnson had 12 and Makenzie Moore had 10.

Grace Christian 59, Nikiski 45

The visiting Grizzlies grabbed a 28-17 lead at halftime and held on for a Southcentral Conference victory on Saturday.

Grant Mathews had 12 points for Nikiski, while Caleb Davis and Ron Fancher had 11 points apiece.

For Nikiski, Brando Wik pumped in 14 points.

Friday boys

Eagles 65, Bulldogs 43

Heritage 18 19 18 10 --65

Nikiski 8 4 17 14 --43

HERITAGE CHRISTIAN (65) -- Hanks 3 1-2 7, Millar 2 1-2 5, Ridgeway 4 1-1 10, Brand 0 0-0 0, Miessner 7 1-1 19, G. Vreeman 2 0-0 5, A. Vreeman 4 3-4 12, LeBaron 2 0-0 6, Brady 0 1-2 1. Totals -- 24 11-12 65.

NIKISKI (43) -- Anderson 2 0-0 6, Seater 0 1-2 1, Hartley 0 0-0 0, Wik 4 2-3 10, Herrin 11 2-3 24, Taylor 1 0-0 2, Parrish 0 0-0 0, Krogseng 0 0-0 0, Smitz 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 18 5-8 43.

3-point goals -- Heritage 9 (Miessner 4, LeBaron 2, Ridgeway 1, G. Vreeman 1, A. Vreeman 1). Team fouls -- Heritage 13, Nikiski 11. Fouled out -- none.

Saturday girls

Bulldogs 52, Grizzlies 34

Grace 10 11 4 9 --34

Nikiski 15 12 12 13 --52

GRACE (34) -- M. Dupea 2 0-0 5, Davis 0 0-2 0, Fredrickson 1 4-6 6, Todd 1 0-0 2, Eckmenn 3 0-0 7, Burroughs 0 1-2 1, Burky 3 1-1 7, V. Dupea 1 0-0 2, Wallace 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 13 6-10 34.

NIKISKI (52) -- Griffel 5 0-0 13, D. Holloway 1 0-0 2, Johnson 5 2-4 12, Tuttle 2 0-0 4, Parrish 1 5-8 7, Moore 2 6-6 10, Martin 2 0-2 4. Totals -- 18 13-20 52.

3-point goals -- Grace 2 (M. Dupea 1, Eckmenn 1); Nikiski 3 (Griffel 3). Team fouls -- Grace 18, Nikiski 7. Fouled out -- Burky.

Saturday boys

Grizzlies 59, Bulldogs 45

Grace 13 15 14 17 --59

Nikiski 9 8 13 15 --45

GRACE CHRISTIAN (59) -- Davis 3 5-7 11, Heer 0 3-4 3, Vandervalk 2 4-4 8, Edwards 2 2-2 6, Bowman 3 0-0 8, Fancher 5 0-0 11, Mathews 5 2-4 12. Totals -- 20 16-21 59.

NIKISKI (45) -- Anderson 0 0-0 0, Seater 2 2-2 7, Wik 6 0-0 14, Herrin 3 1-3 7, Taylor 2 0-0 6, Krogseng 4 0-0 9. Totals -- 17 3-5 45.

3-point goals -- Grace 3 (Bowman 2, Fancher 1); Nikiski 4 (Wik 2, Seater 1, Krogseng 1). Team fouls -- Grace 8, Nikiski 17. Fouled out -- none.



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