Kenai hoops teams sweep Skyview

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011

As coaches go, few are as mild-mannered or even-keeled as Kenai Central's Ken Felchle.

So when he lit into his squad during a huddle between the third and fourth quarters of Thursday's 53-47 Northern Lights Conference victory over visiting Skyview, it was easy to notice.

It also was no surprise.

The lead was shrinking, the momentum was swaying and the Kardinals didn't resemble a team that had built a 34-16 lead.

"First and foremost, they made it happen, which is a credit to them," Felchle said, referring to Skyview. "Secondly, we got away from fundamental basketball. We were trying to make a block out of bounds instead of boxing out on the shot. We wanted to make a highlight film instead of doing the fundamental things. It's a learning experience."

The Panthers hit seven 3-pointers in the second half -- five in the third quarter -- and turned a 36-16 deficit early in the third into a game that wasn't decided until the final minutes.

Kenai Central (6-3 in the NLC) looked the superior squad in the first half, running up and down the floor and protecting the basketball to create efficient scoring chances and put Skyview (1-7 in the conference) in a deep hole.

Bo Reilly scored 16 of his game-high 18 points over the first 16 minutes, and AJ Hull poured in 10 of his 13.

Then Skyview found a rhythm.

Jordan Jones hit three from long range in the third, while Albert White added a pair. Throw in a few turnovers from the Kards and the score was 45-33 entering the fourth.

The hot shooting continued into the fourth as Nic Madrid hit two from 3-point range. He finished with a team-high 14 points, including four from beyond the arc.

Madrid's final 3 cut the lead to 53-47, but it came with less than 10 seconds to play.

"We started calling more set plays," Skyview coach Jesse Settlemyer said. "We started making some better passes and the guys knocked down shots.

"Too bad we couldn't play one more quarter."

Jones finished with 13 for the Panthers, while White added eight.

On a night when the teams combined for just eight fouls, Skyview didn't attempt a free throw.

Kenai Central, meanwhile, was 3-of-8 from the line.

The Kards have shown glimpses of brilliance this season, playing evenly for a half against powerhouse Wasilla and posting 28 points in the first quarter and 22 more in the fourth of a 73-54 win Saturday against Kodiak.

Yet they also have been inconsistent, going long periods without scoring and failing to take care of the basketball for 32 minutes.

"We need to play like we did in the first half tonight," Felchle said. "If we play like that, we can compete with any team out there."

Despite being outscored by 14 points in as many minutes during the second half, Felchle was happy to earn the win.

What it means is the NLC Southern Division regular-season championship -- and a No. 1 seed entering the conference tournament -- could be decided when the Kards host Soldotna at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The SoHi boys, who lost to Homer on Tuesday, need to defeat the Panthers on Thursday. If Skyview wins on Thursday, Kenai cliches the top seed. If not, Kenai and Soldotna play for the top seed on Saturday.

It's a huge game because the winner most likely will face Kodiak to open the tournament. Both Kenai Central and SoHi beat the Bears last weekend.

For the Kards, getting the division's top seed also would mean avoiding the side of the bracket belonging to Wasilla, which is undefeated in conference play.

Three teams advance to state, and the conference tournament is a double-elimination format.

"It's a pretty big advantage," Felchle said of being a No. 1 seed, looking forward to the SoHi game. "It's important and it should be a pretty exciting game."

Kenai Central girls 47, Skyview 18

No starting point guard?

No problem for the Kenai Central girls basketball team.

The Kardinals scored the first nine points, used a 23-0 run between the second and third quarters and were efficient on both ends of the floor without starter Allie McGahan as they earned a 47-18 victory over Skyview in Northern Lights Conference action Tuesday night at Kenai Central.

"We are playing our best basketball when we should be," Kenai Central coach Stacia Rustad said, praising the squad for playing well in the absence of McGahan, who sat on the bench because of an injured ankle. "I thought the team rallied and played phenomenally. I was really proud of our kids in that manner."

It was a decisive win for the Kards (14-6 overall, 6-3 conference), who never trailed.

Stevie Dunlap scored seven of her team-high 13 points in the first quarter, helping Kenai Central to a 9-0 lead and 17-6 advantage through eight minutes.

The Panthers pulled within 22-10 early in the second but never got closer as the Kards ended the half and opened the third by scoring 23 unanswered points.

Dunlap scored six during that stretch on a pair of 3-pointers.

"Offensively, Stevie really was feeling confident from the get-go," Rustad said. "She hit some big shots and that got us going."

Raquel Young added 12, as did Morgan Wensley, and Kenai Central's starters didn't play most of the fourth quarter.

Jaxon Hill scored 12 for Skyview, which suffered a scoreless third and managed eight field goals for the game.

Kenai Central's victory means the NLC Southern Division champion will most likely be determined when the Kards host Soldotna in the regular-season finale at 4 p.m. Saturday.

SoHi defeated Homer on Tuesday to improve to 5-3 in conference play and would move into a tie with Kenai Central with a win over Skyview on Thursday. SoHi defeated Kenai Central earlier this season.

The regular-season champion out of the South earns a No. 1 seed to the conference tournament and in the opening round faces the No. 4 seed from the Northern Division. Meanwhile, the No. 2 seed draws the North's No. 3 seed. Palmer and Kodiak currently hold third and fourth in the Northern Division.

Rustad downplayed the significance of seeding for the conference tournament, saying the Kards, Stars, Bears and Moose are so evenly matched the games will be close regardless of the draw.

Kenai Central and SoHi swept Kodiak last weekend by a combined three points, while the Kards beat Palmer by two earlier this season. The Moose defeated the Stars by five points.

"Those are going to be two great games on the opening night of the region tournament. That's the reality of it," Rustad said. "Ultimately our season is coming down to next weekend. We will see Kodiak, Palmer or Soldotna and we've got to get through two of those teams."

What that means is Rustad is focused on helping her team peak this week and into next.

The acknowledged a win over SoHi for the conference crown is important, but she said the bigger goal is to become one of three NLC teams to reach the Class 4A state tournament.

Northern Division powers Wasilla and Colony are widely considered locks to advance given their dominance during the regular season, leaving one berth for the rest of the field.

Skyview and Homer also will compete, but those teams have combined for just two conference wins this season.

"We are fired up," Rustad said. "We know there are four teams vying for one spot to state and we will be fighting as hard as anyone to get it."

Soldotna girls 61, Homer 25

The visiting Stars cruised to a Northern Lights Conference victory on Tuesday over the Mariners.

Homer boys 48, Soldotna 36

Devon Kennelty put in a commanding presence for the host Mariners on senior night to pick up an NLC victory on Tuesday.

Kennelty caused Soldotna to alter its shots all night, and the 6-foot-8 junior also made key plays on offense down the stretch as the Mariners pulled away.

After a slow start to the game, Homer built a lead but Soldotna cut the lead to two points after three quarters.

Ninilchik girls 32, Nikolaevsk 25

The visiting Wolverines used a stifling defense to notch a Peninsula Conference victory on Tuesday against the Warriors.

The Wolverines led 14-10 at the half, the slowly expanded the gap in the second half. Kaylee Smith led the Wolverines with 12 points. For Nikolaevsk, Sophia Kalugin and Nianiella Dorvall each had 10 points.

Nikolaevsk boys 48, Ninilchik 45

Matthew Trail hit a pair of key foul shots inside the final minute to led the host Warriors to a Peninsula Conference victory on Tuesday over the Wolverines.

"Patience," said Steve Klaich, when asked the key to the victory. "Not panicking when we got behind. We had some key rebounds at the end."

Ninilchik led 39-36 after three quarters, but Nikolaevsk outscored the Wolverines 12-6 for the victory. Blake Klaich had 16 points for the Warriors, while Mark Fefelov had 14. Jack Wheeler led Ninilchik with 18 points, while Billy Riley had 14.

CIA boys 63, Ninilchik 60

The visiting Eagles came out on top of a tight Peninsula Conference game Monday by hitting 9-of-11 foul shots in the fourth quarter.

Matthew Moffis hit 6-of-7 from the line in the fourth quarter on his way to a game-high 30 points, while Cody Munn added 16. For Ninilchik, Billy Riley had 20 points while Sam Bennett and Jack Wheeler had 16 apiece.

Monday boys

Eagles 63, Wolverines 60

CIA 20 7 16 20 --63

Ninilchik 14 15 13 18 --60

COOK INLET ACADEMY (63) -- Mlynarik 1 0-0 2, Moffis 10 6-10 30, Munn 5 6-7 16, T. Solie 2 1-2 6, O'Dell 0 0-0 0, Taplin 0 0-0 0, R. Solie 1 0-0 3, Reischach 3 0-0 6. Totals -- 22 13-19 63.

NINILCHIK (60) -- Riley 7 4-7 20, Klapak 0 0-3 0, Goins 1 2-2 4, Bennett 7 2-3 16, Wheeler 7 2-3 16, Barber 0 0-0 0, Cooper 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 24 10-18 60.

3-point goals -- CIA 5 (Moffis 4, T. Solie 1); Ninilchik 2 (Riley 2). Team fouls -- CIA 20; Ninilchik 16. Fouled out -- Klapak.

Tuesday girls

Wolverines 32, Warriors 25

Ninilchik 11 3 10 8 --32

Nikolaevsk 3 7 8 7 --25

NINILCHIK (32) -- Bartolowits 2 0-0 4, J. Rogers 3 1-2 7, Kelson 0 0-0 0, C. Rogers 0 2-2 2, Campbell 0 0-0 0, E. Ehlers 1 1-3 3, Smith 4 3-7 12, A. Ehlers 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 12 7-14 32.

NIKOLAEVSK (25) -- Klaich 2 1-2 5, Kalugin 4 2-8 10, N. Kojin 0 0-0 0, K. Kojin 0 0-0 0, Holub 0 0-0 0, Dorvall 5 0-2 10. Totals -- 11 3-12 25.

3-point goals -- Ninilchik 1 (Smith 1). Team fouls -- Ninilchik 14, Nikolaevsk 14. Fouled out -- E. Ehlers.

Kardinals 47, Panthers 18

Skyview 6 4 0 18 -18

Kenai Central 17 12 16 2 -47

SKYVIEW (18) -Halverson 0 0-0 0, Hauptman 2 0-0 4, Marang 0 0-0 0, Hill 5 2-2 12, Mercier 0 0-0 0, Malatesta 1 0-1 2. Totals - 8 2-3 18.

KENAI CENTRAL (47) - Dunlap 5 0-0 13, Beeson 0 0-0 0, Wensley 6 0-0 12, Young 4 4-5 12, Steffensen 1 2-2 4, Kiefer 0 1-2 1, Chay 1 1-2 3, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Kelley 0 0-2 0, Jackson 1 0-0 2. Totals - 18 8-13 47.

3-point field goals - Skyview none; Kenai Central 3 (Dunlap 3). Team fouls - Skyview 12, Kenai Centra 11l. Fouled out - none.

Tuesday boys

Warriors 48, Wolverines 45

Ninilchik 10 14 15 6 --45

Nikolaevsk 9 13 14 12 --48

NINILCHIK (45) -- Riley 6 2-6 14, Klapak 0 0-0 0, Goins 1 0-0 3, Thorn 0 0-0 0, Bennett 4 0-1 8, Wheeler 9 0-1 18, Barber 1 0-0 2, Cooper 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 21 2-8 45.

NIKOLAEVSK (48) -- McCollum 1 0-0 3, Klaich 8 0-1 16, A. Fefelov 0 1-2 1, M. Fefelov 6 0-0 14, Holub 1 0-0 2, Trail 1 2-3 4, Mametieff 3 2-4 8. Totals -- 20 5-10 48.

3-point goals -- Ninilchik 1 (Goins 1); Nikolaevsk 3 (M. Fefelov 2, McCollum 1). Team fouls -- Ninilchik 14, Nikolaevsk 12. Fouled out -- Klapak.

Kardinals 53, Panthers

Skyview 10 6 17 14 -47

Kenai Central 20 14 11 8 -53

SKYVIEW (47) - Madrid 5 0-0 14, Symonds 2 0-0 4, White 3 0-0 8, Jones 5 0-0 13, Diaz 2 0-0 4, McNamara 1 0-0 2, Reynolds 1 0-0 2. Totals - 19 0-0 47.

KENAI CENTRAL (53) - Hull 5 2-6 12, Sandahl 2 0-0 5, Risung 5 0-0 10, T. Spalding 2 1-2 5, Hayes 1 0-0 3, Reilly 8 0-0 18, Ziehmer 0 0-0 0. Totals - 23 3-8 53.

3-point field goals - Skyview 9 (Madrid 4, Jones 3, White 2); Kenai Central 4 (Reilly 2, Sandahl, Hayes). Team fouls - Skyview 6, Kenai Central 2. Fouled out - none.

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