Soldotna's Kelly Seggerman passes the ball over Skyview's Gregor Bosick in the first half Friday at SoHi.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
It’s unfortunate that Tony Besse’s first lengthy stint on the bench this season occurred on senior night.
Thankfully, though, he’s not the only senior on Soldotna.
With the dominating 6-foot-6 Besse in foul trouble on the bench, fellow classmates Kelly Seggerman and Brook Carver fueled a 14-3 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters as the Stars locked up the Northern Lights Conference Southern Division title with a 60-44 victory over visiting Skyview on Friday night.
“All you can ask for is to come out and play hard and go out with a win and I thought they did that,” SoHi coach Chris Hanson said of his seniors.
The Panthers didn’t make it easy, though.
Trailing 12-4 in the first quarter after Besse (12 points), Seggerman (13 points), Carver and senior Chet Syverson all scored, Skyview junior Richie Shirnberg who collected a game-high 21 points netted seven consecutive Panther points and David Blossom sank two free throws to trim the deficit to six with 1:46 to play in the opening half.
But Besse then ripped down two offensive rebounds and collected four quick points in sending the Stars into the locker room with a 30-19 lead.
After recording three blocks in the first period alone, Besse picked up his fourth foul only 24 seconds into the third, forcing him to the sideline.
“He’s had a fantastic season. He’s never really had a game this year where he’s had to sit for extended periods of time,” Hanson explained. “To be on senior night and to have it happen, I guess that’s unfortunate. But in the grand scheme of the season, that’s all right with me.”
The rest of the team must have thought so, too.
Following four points from Shirnberg and a 3-pointer from senior Gregor Bosick, Soldotna (17-5) nailed its final four shots of the period, including a trey from Carver, extending the lead to 15 after three periods.
Soldotna's Jessie Stenga and Skyview's Candace Penrod dive for a loose ball in the fourth quarter Friday at SoHi.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
With Besse still on the bench to begin the final frame, junior Larsen Kohler canned a 3 and later added a nifty one-handed coast-to-coast layup for a 21-point advantage.
Seniors Austin Roberts and Syverson each added buckets down the stretch in culminating the Stars’ 49 percent (20-of-41) performance from the field.
“SoHi shoots the ball very well. We talked about it at halftime, getting out on shooters. But again, it’s inexperience,” Skyview coach Red Goodwin explained. “It’s not understanding the game and who you’re covering and what their strengths and weaknesses are.”
Despite the lopsided loss, Goodwin recognizes the Panthers’ improvement as the season’s progressed.
“The thing is we’ve learned how to play hard, now we need to learn how to win,” he said. “That’s a big step. Hopefully we can learn by (regions).”
He’s especially impressed with the exceptional play of Shirnberg.
“We need him to play that way,” Goodwin said. “If he will play in a game like he will play in practice, which is what he did (Friday), we’re going to be tough at regions.”
Soldotna girls 46, Skyview 28
It’s not a coincidence the Stars had one of their best offensive rebounding performances of the season on a night the Panthers missed 83 percent of their shots.
Soldotna just seized its opportunities.
Dominating the offensive glass with eight second-chance points and utilizing runs of 10-0 and 8-0, SoHi topped visiting Skyview on Friday night.
The Stars used a swarming defense in forcing 16 turnovers to overcome an equally dismal performance from the field (16-of-52).
“You can’t always make your shots, but they did play very well defensively,” SoHi coach Mark Tuter said. “We knew we needed to.
“We normally shoot much better than what we were shooting (Friday),” he added. “So, it was a good thing we were playing good defense and rebounding real well.”
Sparked by consecutive 3-pointers and a lay-in from senior Christa Kennedy (17 points), Soldotna (19-4) strung together a 10-0 spurt to close the opening period with a 16-6 lead.
“She did that to us in the first game, too. I think she knocked down two in a row early,” Panthers’ coach Ronnie Kier said. “That takes the wind out of your sails. But we’re too good of a group to let a couple of 3s beat us.”
Skyview’s resilient nature peaked in the second as senior Nicole Van Ryzin (14 points) scored following four straight missed shots by the Panthers and a trey by senior Melissa Fay capped an 8-0 stretch that brought them within four with two minutes to play in the half.
But after a 3-point play by Van Ryzin made it 20-17 with 53.7 seconds remaining, Soldotna junior Paige Blackburn picked up two of her 13 points in helping the Stars maintain a five-point edge at the break.
The Panthers’ fortunes sunk from there, however.
Kennedy netted four points and Jenni Stenga added three during an 8-0 run to begin the third and Skyview missed all seven of its shots in falling behind 30-20 after three.
Despite hitting only 8-of-20 foul shots in the final period, the Stars were still able to hang on for the win.
“One thing that we haven’t been good at all year is rebounding. When you shoot the ball and people stand, it’s going to be tough to go get those rebounds,” Kier said. “We told them that and they know. We’ve just got to be more aggressive and we’ve got to look to anticipate where the ball’s coming off the rim and go after it.
“The biggest thing for us is we just missed shots and we didn’t get enough shots,” he added. “And when you don’t look to shoot the basketball, you’re not going to win games.”
Matthew Carroll can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STARS 60, PANTHERS 44
Skyview 7 12 9 16 44
Soldotna 17 13 13 17 60
SKYVIEW (44) Thornton 4 1-2 9, Dallman 0 0-0 0, Nelson 0 0-0 0, Bosick 1 1-4 4, D. Blossom 3 4-4 10, Shirnberg 9 3-9 21. Totals 17 9-19 44.
SOLDOTNA (60) Bauder 0 0-0 0, B. Blossom 3 0-0 7, Carver 3 1-2 9, Gellar 1 0-0 2, Besse 5 2-4 12, Syverson 1 2-2 5, Barkman 1 0-0 2, Kohler 2 2-4 7, Roberts 1 0-0 2, Seggerman 4 2-4 13, Shelton 0 1-2 1. Totals 21 10-18 60.
3-point goals Soldotna 8 (Seggerman 3, Carver 2, Blossom 1, Syverson 1, Kohler 1). Total fouls Skyview 17, Soldotna 18. Fouled out Bosick, Roberts.
STARS 46, PANTHERS 28
Skyview 6 17 3 8 28
Soldotna 16 6 8 16 46
SKYVIEW (28) Penrod 0 1-2 1, Martin 0 0-0 0, Massey 0 3-3 3, Fay 2 1-2 6, Van Ryzin 4 6-9 14, Mercier 2 0-0 4. Totals 8 11-16 28.
SOLDOTNA (46) Smith 0 1-5 1, Heffner 0 0-2 0, Jes. Stenga 0 0-2 0, Kennedy 5 5-6 17, Donaldson 0 0-0 0, Jen. Stenga 1 2-7 4, Barker 1 0-0 2, Duffy 3 3-3 9, Blackburn 6 1-2 13. Totals 16 12-27 46.
3-point goals Skyview 1 (Fay), Soldotna 2 (Kennedy 2). Total fouls Skyview 24, Soldotna 12. Fouled out Martin, Massey.
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