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Kenai, SoHi boys gain semis: Kards to face Wasilla, Stars to face Colony at NLC tourney

Posted: Friday, March 05, 2010

Kenai Central boys head coach Ken Felchle didn't talk about basketball prior the Kardinals game against Palmer on Thursday at the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Skyview High School. Rather, his message was about Ivy Howland.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Wasilla's Connor Devine passes the ball around Skyview's Chad Oakes early in the first quarter Thursday.

Howland, 14, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a form of childhood brain cancer. But when the Make-A-Wish Foundation approached her about a wish, she decided to use the opportunity for someone else -- Felchle.

Howland wants to make a music video for her song "At Ease," which she wrote for Felchle when he was deployed to Iraq.

"This isn't about me," Felchle said. "Ivy can have anything she wants, and she wants to do something for someone else."

Felchle said he told his team about her struggle and her selflessness.

"I told the team to play for her."

As if that weren't motivation enough, the Kards sought revenge on the Moose for the 63-50 loss they suffered to Palmer in January. Kenai avenged the defeat and got past Palmer with a 55-49 win. The Kardinals will face Wasilla in a semifinal tonight at 8:15 p.m. with a state berth on the line.

"It's just a huge game for us," Felchle said. "It's a huge, huge win for our program."

Kenai saw its 10-point halftime lead disappear in the third quarter. The Moose held the Kards to just three points in the period. A buzzer beater gave Palmer a 37-35 lead after three quarters of play.

Enter Tyler Spalding.

Kenai's 6-foot-4 center erupted for 11 points in the final eight minutes. He led Kenai with 15 total points. Christian Odom paced the Moose with 19 points.

"I tried to take control, slow the game down," Spalding said. "We weren't gonna let them win. We were on a mission."

Kenai outscored Palmer 20-12 in the fourth and punched its ticket for a semifinal game against Wasilla."Our big guys wanted the ball, demanded the ball," Felchle said.

Having been in similar situations and coming up on the losing end, Felchle said his boys didn't let Palmer's third-quarter momentum affect them.

"Our boys believed they could do it," he said. "We finished the basketball game."

"We didn't make a lot of mental mistakes," Spalding said. "We played smart."

Though Kenai's youth has showed in games this season, it was not a factor against Palmer.

"We did not let our youth get to us today," Felchle said. "That is a step toward maturity."

Felchle said his team was patient, had quality possessions and made defense a priority.

"It was a total team effort," he said. "I cannot be happier and more proud of our guys."

Soldotna boys 60, Kodiak 48

Soldotna's defense propelled it over Kodiak on Thursday in the opening round of the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Skyview High School.

"Our defensive effort was where it needed to be," Stars head coach Matt Johnson said. "Applying ball pressure was one of our goals."

Blaine Carver, Robbie Smithwick, Dylon Story and Zach Jackson each sustained good pressure on the defensive side, Johnson said. DJ Stilchen, who scored 10 points, had one of his best games of the season, he said.

Boomer Blossom paced the Stars with 20 points. Carver followed with 13. Kodiak's Raphael Matautia led the Bears with 11 points.

SoHi's tough, aggressive defense led to points on offense, Johnson said.

"Whenever we play aggressive defense and are really intense, that's when we are at our best," Smithwick said. He said his team's defensive performance provided the Stars more looks on offense.

"The pressure kept them from running their offense," Story said.

Turnovers were the difference, said Bears head coach Amy Fogle.

"We didn't take care of the ball," she said. "We had 20 turnovers, that just killed us."

Fogle said SoHi rebounded well, took care of the ball and made its free throws. SoHi went 15-of-20 from the line. The Bears made eight of their 15 free-throw attempts.

Back-to-back Story steals led to five points and SoHi held a double-digit lead in the third quarter. Kodiak cut the deficit to five by the end of the period. Two Stilchen buckets and a Smithwick free throw regained a 10-point cushion for the Stars in the fourth. That lead proved too great for a Kodiak recovery.

"I thought my boys played hard, we just didn't take very good care of the ball," Fogle said.

Playing the full game is something Johnson has preached all season to his team. It was that full-game effort that gave SoHi the edge over Kodiak.

"We just had to play the whole game as hard as we could," Smithwick said.

That same mentality will be required when SoHi takes on Colony today at 4:45 p.m. in the semifinals.

"We definitely need to play 32 minutes," Story said. "If we play 32 minutes, it will be a really good game."

Colony boys 53, Homer 36

Scott Herman led the Knights with 15 points in Colony's win over Homer. John Palmer followed with 12.

Norm Anderson paced the Mariners with 13 points.

Wasilla 79, Skyview 22

The top-seeded Warriors wasted little time putting away Skyview, running out to a 43-11 halftime lead..

Sophomore forward Connor Devine led the way for Wasilla with 24 points, while senior guard Cody Pfeifer added 17.

Wasilla made 34 field goals in the game to easily cruise into today's semifinal round matchup against Kenai, the No. 2 seed from the South Division.

Senior center Chad Oakes scored eight points to pace the Panthers.

Thursday boys

Stars 60, Bears 48

Kodiak 9 9 19 11 -- 48

Soldotna 12 13 17 18 -- 60

KODIAK (48) -- B. Fangonilo 3 1-2 7, Z. Watkins 2 2-2 6, J. Obas 0 0-0 0, A. Cowley 2 0-2 4, R. Matautia 5 1-2 11, M. Garner 4 1-1 9, J. Bezona 2 0-0 4, J. Medina 2 1-4 5, J. Fogle 0 2-2 2. Totals -- 20 8-15 48.

SOLDOTNA (60) -- T. Hahn 0 0-0 0, D. Story 1 3-4 5, B. Blossom 8 2-2 20, Z. Jackson 0 0-0 0, B. Carver 2 7-8 13, D. Stilchen 5 0-1 10, R. Smithwick 0 1-2 1, E. Withrow 2 2-2 7, J. Barnes 2 0-1 4, G. Bosick 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 20 15-20 60.3-point goals --Soldotna 5 (Carver 2, Blossom 2, Withrow 1). Team fouls -- Kodiak 14; Soldotna 16. Fouled out -- None.

Kardinals 55, Moose 49

Palmer 13 12 12 12 -- 49

Kenai 15 17 3 20 -- 55

PALMER (49) -- Fullmer 1 0-0 3, Titus 2 0-0 5, Straight 0 0-0 0, Pelfier 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0, Buresh 1 3-6 5, Bohman 2 0-0 5, Montgomery 0 0-0 0, Niekamp 5 2-2 12, Odom 9 0-1 19. Totals -- 20 5-9 49.KENAI (55) -- Lowe 0 4-6 4, Hull 3 0-4 7, Kiefer 3 3-6 9, Spalding 7 1-2 15, Risung 1 0-0 2, Reilly 3 4-5 10, Rouswell 2 0-1 4, Hayes 0 0-0 0, Wensley 0 0-0 0, Rogers 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 21 12-24 55.

3-point goals -- Palmer 4 (Fullmer 1, Titus 1, Bohman 1, Odom 1); Kenai 1 (Hull 1). Team fouls -- Palmer 18; Kenai 14. Fouled out -- Bohman.

Knights 53, Mariners 36

Colony 7 12 21 13 --53

Homer 6 9 7 14 --36

COLONY (53) -- Turner 1 0-0 3, McCann 3 0-0 6, Palmer 3 3-4 12, Enloe 1 2-3 4, Herman 3 8-12 15, Niver 2 0-1 4, Depriest 0 0-2 0, Ray 0 1-2 1, Summers 4 0-0 8. Totals - 17 14-24 53.

HOMER (36) -- Walsworth 1 0-0 2, Anderson 4 3-4 13, Day 3 0-0 7, Glosser 3 0-1 6, Kennelty 2 2-2 6, Pate 0 2-4 2. Totals - 13 7-11 36.

3-point field goals - Colony 5 (Palmer 3, Turner, Niver), Homer 3 (Anderson 2, Glosser). Fouled out - none. Total fouls - Colony 15, Homer 19.

Warriors 79, Panthers 22

Wasilla 19 24 25 11 --79

Skyview 6 5 8 3 --22

WASILLA (79) - Schierman 0 0-4 0, Quenga 1 2-2 4, Mock 2 2-3 6, Kuiper 2 0-0 4, Bydlon 3 1-1 8, Pfeifer 8 1-1 17, Devine 11 2-4 24, Ford 4 0-0 9, Green 3 1-3 7. Totals - 34 9-18 79.

SKYVIEW (22) - McNamara 1 0-0 3, Symonds 1 0-0 2, White 1 0-0 2, Malatesta 0 1-2 1, Harvey 2 0-2 6, Oakes 4 0-0 8. Totals - 9 1-4 22.

3-point field goals - Wasilla 2 (Ford, Bydlon), Skyview 3 (Harvey 2, McNamara). Fouled out - none. Total fouls - Wasilla 9, Skyview 18.



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