Kenai sweeps SkyHi

Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010

The Kenai Central girls basketball team clinched the top seed from the Northern Division at the upcoming Northern Lights Conference tournament by defeating visiting Skyview 44-29 on Friday.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Kenai's Lexi Beeson gets a shot off in front of Skyview's Casee Penrod and Jessica Stewart on Friday at KCHS. Beeson led the Kardinals with 15 points, hitting four 3-pointers.

In the boys game, the Kardinals (4-6 in NLC) notched a 66-46 victory over the Panthers and will be the No. 2 seed from the Northern Division when the tourney starts Thursday at Skyview.

The Skyview girls will be the No. 3 seed from the north after finishing with a 2-8 record in league, while the Panthers boys will be the No. 4 seed with an 0-10 mark in league.

Both the Kenai girls (7-3 in league) and the Skyview girls were coming off tough games from the night before. The Kardinals had defeated Soldotna while the Panthers had lost to Kodiak.

Combine that with an unusually early 4:30 p.m. start due to senior night, and the potential was there to throw both teams off.

"There was absolutely no question we were tired from last night," Kenai coach Stacia Rustad said. "Even the girls who did not get in the game were emotionally tired from doing so much to support those on the floor."

In the second quarter, Kenai was 3-of-8 from the floor while committing nine turnovers, while Skyview shot 2-of-10 and turned the ball over eight times. Kenai led 22-14 at the half.

"We didn't have it tonight," Skyview assistant Undray Griffin said. "We did not show passion and drive."

The Kardinals were able to gradually pull away by doing two things well -- shooting 3-pointers and pressuring Panthers guard Casee Penrod.

Kenai was 7-of-11 from 3-point land while finishing 15-of-40 from the field. Senior Lexi Beeson was the top shooter, hitting four 3-pointers on the way to 15 points.

"You've got to close out on their shooters -- no matter who they are," Griffin said. "We did not do a good job of that."

Rustad said the Kardinals also had seven 3-pointers against Soldotna.

"Lexi came back and had a big game after being cold from the floor last night," Rustad said.

On defense, the Kardinals kept throwing defenders at Penrod, who had torched Kodiak for 22 points. She fouled out of that game and the Bears were able to complete a fourth-quarter comeback.

The primary defender on Penrod, who had nine points, was senior Lierin Flanagan, but senior Samantha Hull and sophomore Bailey Beeson spent time harassing Penrod. She finished with nine points, six of which came in the final period.

"They did a good job on defense of stopping our penetration," Griffin said.

Rustad said Flanagan and Bailey Beeson also did a good job of harassing Soldotna's Karen Senette on Thursday.

"Lierin and Bailey are our top perimeter defenders," Rustad said. "They do a very good job on the other team's top guard."

Although the Kardinals, who also received 11 points from Raquel Young and honored senior Kimberly Cabot after the game, were not efficient on offense, defense allowed the squad to take a 34-18 lead after three quarters.

Kenai Central boys 66, Skyview 46

Seniors Billy Kiefer, Bryson Lowe and Nick Rouswell won in their final appearance on Cliff Massie Court by building a big first-half lead and hanging on in the second half.

The Kardinals went on a decisive 23-0 run in the first half. Rouswell capped the spurt when he hit a layup with 3:30 left in the second quarter to push Kenai's lead to 31-9.

When Skyview's Jordan McNamara hit a free throw for a 31-10 lead with 3:19 left in the second, it broke a scoreless string dating back to an Albert White layup with 2:34 left in the first quarter.

"That's something we've had all year. There are times we go through lulls," said Skyview coach Jesse Settlemyer. "That will get better as we get older."

Settlemyer said the Panthers had just two seniors and one junior in the lineup.

The Panthers would play better in the second half. In the third quarter, Skyview was 8-of-13 from the floor and forced six Kenai turnovers to cut the Kardinals' lead to 48-33.

"In the second half, we came out and sort of lost discipline," Kenai coach Ken Felchle said. "That's not to take anything away from Skyview. They played hard tonight."

Kenai struggled with Skyview's press in the second half, committing 10 more turnovers in the fourth quarter. The Panthers got within 55-45 with 2:17 to play on a White layup, but that was as close as they would get.

Felchle said Kenai tried to beat the press with the dribble instead of by passing to the center of the court. When the Kards did try to pass to the middle, players were not coming to aggressively meet the ball -- unless those players were wearing purple.

"In the second half, they just played some aggressive defense," Settlemyer said. "They created some turnovers and that led to easier looks."

Felchle credited Kiefer, who paced the Kardinals with 13 points, with keeping the wheels from coming off. Kai Risung added 10 points for the Kards.

"Billy's been our leader all year long," Felchle said. "He's as solid as they come."

Jordan Jones poured in 20 points for the Panthers, while Chad Oakes added 10.

"Over the second half of the season, it's been really easy to see how much better he has gotten," Settlemyer said of Jones.


Kardinals 44, Panthers 29

Skyview 9 5 4 11 --29

Kenai 14 8 12 10 --44

SKYVIEW (29) --Jones 3 0-0 7, Hauptman 0 0-0 0, O'Guinn 0 1-2 1, Hill 0 0-2 0, Penrod 3 2-3 9, Stewart 1 3-6 5, Cooper 0 0-0 0, Mercier 0 0-0 0, Lamborn 3 1-2 7, Malatesta 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 10 6-15 29.

KENAI CENTRAL (44) --Hull 1 2-4 5, McGahan 0 0-0 0, L. Beeson 5 1-3 15, Kiefer 0 0-0 0, B. Beeson 0 0-0 0, Flanagan 0 2-2 2, Sandahl 0 0-0 0, Chay 0 0-0 0, Kelley 0 1-2 1, Wensley 2 0-0 5, Dunlap 2 0-0 5, Young 5 1-2 11, Cabot 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 15 7-13 44.

3-point goals -- Skyview 2 (Jones 1, Penrod 1), Kenai Central 7 (L. Beeson 4, Hull 1, Wensley 1, Dunlap 1). Team fouls -- Skyview 13, Kenai Central 13. Fouled out -- none.


Kardinals 66, Panthers 46

Skyview 9 5 17 13 --46

Kenai 17 16 15 18 --66

SKYVIEW (46) -- Hallford 0 0-0 0, McNamara 0 1-2 1, Reynolds 0 0-0 0, White 3 0-0 6, Jones 9 0-2 20, Penrod 0 0-0 0, Harvey 2 0-0 4, Diaz 1 1-4 3, Oakes 3 4-5 10. Totals -- 18 6-13 46.

KENAI CENTRAL (66) --Lowe 0 1-2 1, Ziehmer 0 0-0 0, Hull 3 0-1 6, Kiefer 3 6-6 13, Spalding 4 1-2 9, Landry 0 0-0 0, Risung 4 2-2 10, Sandahl 0 0-0 0, Reilly 3 0-0 8, Rouswell 3 0-0 6, Hayes 3 1-1 9, Wensley 0 0-0 0, Rogers 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 25 11-14 66.

3-point goals -- Skyview 2 (Jones 2), Kenai Central 5 (Hayes 2, Reilly 2, Kiefer 1). Team fouls -- Skyview 14, Kenai 13. Fouled out -- none.

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