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Bulldogs get sweep of Grace

Posted: Sunday, March 02, 2003

For those that might not have had a chance to catch the Nikiski High School girls basketball team in action for the past couple of weeks, hold on to your hats -- the Bulldogs are looking as formidable as ever, as demonstrated by their 57-27 victory over District 3/3A opponent Grace Christian Saturday in Nikiski.

The Nikiski boys also are getting hot just in time for the district tournament, notching a 61-47 triumph over the Grizzlies in what Nikiski's Kevin Gerke called "a must-win game."

Nikiski girls coach Ward Romans said the key to the Bulldogs' improvement over the course of the season has been the strides made on defense.

"Our defense and rebounding has improved to the point that we can play a 28-24 game like we did against Seward (Tuesday) and win, or we can play a game like we did tonight," Romans said.

The Bulldogs showcased their defensive prowess from the start, holding the Grizzlies scoreless through the first 6 minutes, 41 seconds of play. And while Nikiski did play some pressure basketball, it also demonstrated it could play tough man-to-man defense as Grace was able to get into its halfcourt offense several times during that span.

Nikiski's Lynzie Ellis said her squad's help defense made the difference.

"Our defense was really tight, and we communicated a lot," Ellis said.

Ellis said the same fitness that allows the Bulldogs to play solid defense also allows them to run the floor effectively.

"We can all run the floor pretty well," Ellis said. "A lot of the time, we'll just run the other team ... then on defense it helps, because we can stay down longer."

Nikiski's offense was effective both on the break and in a halfcourt set. Karen Rabung led the Bulldogs with 18 points before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Hisa Miyara scored 17 points in addition to dishing out several pretty assists, and Sarah Herrin scored 14 points.

Erin Marchuk and Rachel Daly each scored nine points for the Grizzlies.

Romans said his team's improvement this season has been exciting to watch, but he added that it's not done yet.

"When you lay out a season like this where you have little experience, you point to the end of the season as when you want to peak," Romans said. "You do things through the season to lead up to it. ... The coaching staff had a vision we could reach this point. Tonight we played a great game, but there's still room to improve. The kids are hungry."

Nikiski boys coach Reid Kornstad said he saw a marked improvement in his team's defense against Grace.

"We've been struggling to stop penetration and deny cutters," Kornstad said. "When you do that, it leads to poor rebounding, but tonight, we made a huge turnaround. Our defense fueled our 17-2 run at the beginning of the game."

The Bulldogs did get off to a fast start, though the Grizzlies were able to finish the first quarter with a 15-2 run of their own.

However, each time Grace closed the gap, the Bulldogs were able to put together an offensive spurt to re-establish their momentum, something Kornstad credited to the team's focus on defense.

"We just kept talking about defense fueling the offense," Kornstad said. "We're always talking about stepping it up defensively. Every time they got close, I felt like our defense dictated what was going to happen."

Nikiski led by nine, 36-27, at the half, and after the Grizzlies narrowed the gap to to six, 43-37, to start the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs went 12-of-14 from the foul line down the stretch to put the game away.

"That played a huge role for us," Gerke said. "We've never had to make pressure free throws before, (so having to make them) in a big region game was good for us."

Gerke led the Bulldogs with 20 points while Miles Jorgensen chipped in with 18 points.

Tim Ingalls scored 27 to lead the Grizzlies.

Nikiski girls 52, Seldovia 25

The Bulldogs defeated Seldovia in a nondistrict game Friday at Nikiski.

Karen Rabung led the Bulldogs in scoring with 25 points. Paula Fernandes had seven to lead the Sea Otters.

Nikiski boys 72, Seldovia 57

The Sea Otters stayed right with the Bulldogs through the first half, heading for the locker room down by just a point, 24-23, but Nikiski outscored Seldovia 20-12 in the third quarter en route to a nondistrict win Friday in Nikiski.

Miles Jorgensen paced the Bulldogs with 16 points while Jeremiah Taylor netted 15 and Steve Carlson scored 10.

Nick Oliviera scored 26 for the Sea Otters while Charles Pulliam netted 14.

Seldovia is a Class 2A team, while Nikiski plays in Class 3A.

Saturday's games

Girls

BULLDOGS 57, GRIZZLIES 27

Grace Christian 4 8 8 7 -- 27

Nikiski 14 13 17 13 -- 57

GRACE CHRISTIAN (27) -- Christensen 2 1-4 5, Marchuk 3 1-2 9, Daly 3 0-0 9, Sailors 0 0-0 0, Bylsma 0 0-2 0, Havard 0 0-0 0, Arts 0 0-0 0, Perry 0 0-0 0, Moll 2 0-0 4, Mack 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 10 2-8 27.

NIKISKI (57) -- Miyara 8 0-0 17, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Gladden 1 1-2 3, Auldridge 0 0-0 0, Rabung 7 4-6 18, Herrin 6 2-4 14, Hitchcock 0 0-0 0, Coveyou 1 0-0 2, Salonen 1 0-0 3. Totals -- 24 7-12 57.

3-point goals -- Grace 5 (Daly 3, Marchuk 2), Nikiski 2 (Miyara, Salonen). Total fouls -- Grace 17, Nikiski 10. Fouled out -- none.

BULLDOGS 61, GRIZZLIES 47

Grace Christian 17 10 10 10 -- 47

Nikiski 19 17 7 18 -- 61

GRACE CHRISTIAN (47) -- Ingalls 11 2-2 27, Clarkson 2 0-0 5, Sandstrom 1 1-2 3, Gugel 0 0-0 0, Wickler 0 0-0 0, Slama 0 0-0 0, Lewis 1 0-0 3, Perry 3 0-0 7, Hale 0 0-0 0, Musgrave 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 19 3-4 47.

NIKISKI (61) -- Gerke 7 4-4 20, M. Jorgensen 6 4-6 18, Rooper 2 2-2 8, Epperheimer 1 0-0 2, Curren 0 0-0 0, Taylor 2 5-6 9, Lemmityinen 1 0-0 2, Carlson 0 0-2 0, F. Jorgensen 0 0-0 0, Hitchcock 1 0-0 2, McGahan 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 20 15-20 61.

3-point goals -- Grace 6 (Ingalls 3, Clarkson, Lewis,Perry), Nikiski 6 (Gerke 2, M. Jorgensen 2, Rooper 2). Total fouls -- Grace 17, Nikiski 5. Fouled out -- none.

Friday's games

Girls

BULLDOGS 52, SEA OTTERS 25

Seldovia 4 7 6 8 -- 25

Nikiski 14 13 17 8 -- 52

SELDOVIA (25) -- Dillon 3 0-0 6, Darien 3 0-0 6, Gruber 3 0-0 6, Rojas-Mickelson 0 0-0 0, Fernandes 3 1-2 7, Haynes 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 12 1-2 25.

NIKISKI (52) -- Miyara 2 0-0 4, Ellis 1 0-0 3, Gladden 3 2-2 8, Auldridge 1 0-0 2, Rabung 10 5-5 25, Herrin 2 0-3 4, Hitchcock 0 0-0 0, Coveyou 1 0-0 2, Salonen 0 2-2 2. Totals -- 21 9-12 52.

3-point goals -- Nikiski 1 (Ellis). Total fouls -- Seldovia 11, Nikiski 11. Fouled out -- none.

BULLDOGS 72, SEA OTTERS 57

Seldovia 10 13 12 22 -- 57

Nikiski 12 12 20 28 -- 72

SELDOVIA (57) -- Mickelson 0 0-0 0, Co. Collier 1 0-0 3, Norman 1 0-0 2, Pulliam 6 2-3 14, Giles 1 0-0 2, Oliviera 12 1-3 26, Suydam 0 0-0 0, Ch. Collier 1 0-0 2, Bowdon 4 0-0 8. Totals -- 26 3-6 57.

NIKISKI (72) -- Gerke 2 0-0 5, M. Jorgensen 7 1-1 16, Rooper 2 0-0 5, Epperheimer 3 0-0 6, Curren 0 0-0 0, Taylor 7 1-1 15, Lemmityinen 3 0-0 7, Carlson 4 0-0 10, F. Jorgensen 1 0-2 2, Hitchcock 2 0-0 4, McGahan 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 32 2-4 72.

3-point goals -- Seldovia 2 (Collier, Oliviera), Nikiski 6 (Carlson 2, Gerke, M. Jorgensen, Rooper, Lemmityinen). Total fouls -- Seldovia 7, Nikiski 13. Fouled out -- none.



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