Skyview's Jeff Dolifka collides with Kenai's Jordan Jenkes in the second period of play Friday at Kenai.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Last-gasp comeback at-tempts came up short in both the girls and boys varsity basketball games Friday at Kenai Central High School, as the Skyview girls and Kenai Central boys picked up Northern Lights Conference victories.
In the girls game, the Panthers had a seven-point lead with 36 second left but a desperate comeback attempt by the Kardinals gave them a shot for a tie at the buzzer. The shot missed and Skyview won 34-32 to improve to 4-5 in conference, while Kenai fell to 2-6 in conference.
In the boys game, the Kardinals had a 10-point lead with 43 seconds left. Skyview cut the lead to five with 18 seconds left, but the Kardinals were able to ward off further drama by hitting three of their next four fouls shots in a 57-49 victory. Kenai is now 5-3 in conference while Skyview is 3-6.
The girls game started slow, with the Kardinals taking a 13-7 lead at halftime. Kenai spent a lot of time in the first half running its half-court offense, while Skyview played man-to-man and dutifully chased Kardinals.
The slow flow of the game affected Skyview on offense, where the Panthers were just 3-of-18 from the floor in the first half.
At halftime, Skyview coach Wade Marcuson made several adjustments to increase the pace of the game. He put a press on the Kardinals and had his team push the ball whenever possible.
Marcuson also switched to a zone on defense. This didn't increase the game's tempo, but it meant the Panthers were burning a lot less energy on defense.
The changes worked as the Panthers shot 10-of-18 from the floor in the second half. The increased tempo and press also resulted in 10 Kenai turnovers in the third quarter.
"What's important in this game is the way our team adjusted to the changes at halftime," Marcuson said. "They took the new game plan and executed it."
That execution left Skyview with a 34-27 lead with 36 seconds left. However, Amber McGlasson hit a jumper, then Kenai got the ball back on a Skyview turnover. Samantha Navarre got to the line and hit one free throw before missing the second. McGlasson got that rebound and put it in for a 34-32 game with 18 seconds left.
The Kardinals again stole Skyview's inbounds pass and worked for a shot until the Panthers knocked the ball out with three seconds left. On the inbounds play, Navarre got the ball in the corner and missed a tough shot at the buzzer.
"We told them afterward that they should feel very good about the way they almost came back," said Kenai Central assistant Jim Davis. "We told them they played three good quarters. Now we have to play four good quarters."
Nicole Van Ryzin had 11 points to pace Skyview, while McGlasson's nine points led Kenai.
Kenai Central boys 57, Skyview 49
Jordan Jenckes, a 6-foot-4 senior center, scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Kardinals to victory.
Kenai coach Jim Beeson said the game plan was not necessarily to attack the Panthers with Jenckes. However, he did say the Kardinals had been working on getting the post players the ball on offense to open up more options, whether they be a shot by the post player or a pass back out to an open player.
Kenai's Brandon Miles shoots in front of Skyview's Gregory Bosick in the first half Friday at Kenai.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Beeson said Jenckes has been playing very well the last two or three weeks and just took the opportunity and ran with it.
Skyview coach Dave Blossom said the Panthers' game plan was to slow Jenckes down.
"We put four different guys on him and he was able to score on all four," Blossom said.
Skyview had a 13-12 lead after one quarter, but the Kardinals started the second quarter on an 8-2 run and opened up a 22-15 lead when Jenckes hit a layup with 2:20 to play until halftime.
The Panthers finished just 2-of-10 from the floor in the second quarter. Blossom said that was because his team stopped attacking the basket.
Skyview took 11 inside shots and five outside shots in the first quarter, then took five inside and five outside shots in the second quarter.
Beeson said his team had been switching too soon on pick-and-rolls in the first quarter, letting Skyview get to the basket. The Kardinals played the pick-and-roll better in the second quarter and led at halftime 24-18.
In the third quarter, Kenai stretched the lead to 37-24 on a layup by Kevin Epperheimer, who had 14 points. Skyview immediately answered with an 8-0 run. A layup by Jeff Dolifka, who paced the Panthers with 19 points, brought the visitors within 37-32 with 1:20 left in the third quarter.
"The thing that really disappointed me was that three-minute stretch in the third quarter where we let them back in the game," Beeson said. "We just relaxed and didn't play good defense."
In the fourth quarter, Skyview could never quite catch the Kardinals due to Skyview's six turnovers and Kenai's 11-of-12 shooting from the foul line.
"We were behind by a few points, and we were just too anxious to get back in the game," Blossom said in explaining Skyview's turnovers. "The guys know better than that, but those mistakes cost us the game."
Brian Blossom added 12 points for the Panthers.
PANTHERS 34, KARDINALS 32
Skyview 5 2 17 10 34
Kenai 5 8 7 12 32
SKYVIEW (34) Heffner 3 1-2 7, M. Fay 2 2-4 6, Van Ryzin 5 1-2 11, Dreifuerst 0 2-4 2, Blake 2 1-2 6, Smith 0 0-0 0, Shadura 0 0-0 0, A. Fay 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 7-14 34.
KENAI CENTRAL (32) Navarre 3 1-2 8, Keener 2 3-5 7, Foley 1 1-2 3, Dunn 0 0-0 0, McGlasson 4 1-3 9, Peterson 0 1-2 1, Calderwood 1 0-0 2, Craig 0 0-0 0, Kiel 0 0-0 0, Brewer 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 7-14 32.
3-point goals Skyview 1 (Blake 1); Kenai Central 1 (Navarre 1). Total fouls Skyview 16, Kenai Central 16. Fouled out none.
KARDINALS 57, PANTHERS 49
Skyview 13 5 14 17 49
Kenai 12 12 14 19 57
SKYVIEW (49) VanHoose 1 0-0 2, Rowell 4 0-0 9, Dolifka 8 3-4 19, Bosick 3 1-2 7, Blossom 4 3-4 12, Singleton 0 0-0 0, Hering 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 7-10 49.
KENAI CENTRAL (57) Hansen 3 3-5 9, Saltzgiver 1 0-0 2, Chappell 1 4-4 6, Reemtsma 0 0-0 0, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Epperheimer 4 5-6 14, Miles 0 0-0 0, McLeod 1 0-0 2, Bennett 1 1-2 3, Jenckes 10 1-3 21. Totals 21 14-20 57.
3-point goals Skyview 2 (Rowell 1, Blossom 1); Kenai Central 1 (Epperheimer 1). Total fouls Skyview 18, Kenai Central 13. Fouled out none.
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