Soldotna girls win 3 straight to go to state

Posted: Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Soldotna girls basketball team won three consecutive games after a first-round loss at the Northern Lights Conference tournament Friday and Saturday in Homer, becoming the first NLC Southern Division squad since 2007 to earn a berth to the Class 4A state tournament.

The Stars capped the run with a 42-36 win over Kodiak in Saturday's third-place contest. The 4A state tournament begins March 17 at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

"The girls were super thrilled and I was super thrilled," said coach Mark Tuter, whose girls finished fifth at state in 2007. "It means a lot to all the girls. Sometimes I cry when we lose, but today I was crying because we won."

Palmer defeated SoHi twice during the regular season, but the Stars opened Saturday's game on an 11-4 run and held off the Moose.

Kaillee Skjold led SoHi with 12 points, while Julie Litchfield added eight. Becca Satathite and Jessica Duke notched seven apiece.

It was a strong turnaround for the Stars, who lost in the opening round and needed to win three games in two days to qualify for state.

"We just wrote it on the board," Tuter said. "Three games, one at a time. We checked them off one by one."

Central Kenai Peninsula schools struggled not only in the girls tournament, but in the boys tournament as well.

On Thursday in the first round, peninsula schools went a combined 0-8 against Matanuska-Susitna valley squads.

Tuter said the squad is proud to be the peninsula's lone representative at state.

"It does make it really good. You can't say it doesn't," Tuter said. "Most of the time when you play the valley schools, you are underdogs. They are well-coached and good teams, so if you can knock them off, that's pretty good."

Soldotna girls 45, Kodiak 42

The Stars came back from a 24-15 deficit at halftime on Saturday to earn a spot in the third-place game.

Kodiak still had a 33-32 lead at halftime, but the Stars outscored the Bears 13-9 over the final eight minutes.

Kaillee Skjold had 19 points for the Stars, while Kelci Benson added 11. For Kodiak, Hannah Wandersee had 16 points and Megan Grupp added 10.

Palmer girls 33, Kenai 32

The Moose ended the Kardinals' season in the third-place semifinals on Saturday.

Kenai lost its two games at the tournament by a total of three points. The Kards trailed 30-22 entering the fourth quarter, but their comeback came up short.

Raquel Young had 15 points for Kenai, while Morgan Wensley had 12 points. Kendal Venzke led Palmer with 10 points.

Wasilla girls 53, Palmer 30

The Warriors rolled into the championship game by taking care of the Moose on Friday.

Wasilla led 26-18 at the half, but had that lead to 42-24 by the end of the third period.

Kelsey Cottle had 15 points for the Warriors, while Alyssa Hutchins pitched in 14.

Colony girls 41, Kodiak 31

After a slow start, the Knights got going in the second half Friday to earn a spot in the championship game.

Colony trailed 10-7 after the first period and 14-13 at halftime. The Knights grabbed a 25-19 lead after the third period.

Kaitlyn Klapperich had 18 points for Colony, while Joanna Garcia had 10 points for Kodiak.

Kenai girls 36, Skyview 20

The Kardinals ended the Panthers season on Friday with a strong defensive effort.

Kenai took a 16-0 lead after the first quarter to advance to the third-place semifinals. Morgan Wensley paced the Kardinals with 10 points, while Jaxon Hill had 10 points for the Panthers.

Soldotna girls 66, Homer 19

The Stars advanced to the third-place semifinals by burying nine 3-pointers to end the season of the Mariners on Friday.

Jessie Duke had four 3-pointers for SoHi en route to 12 points. Also for the Stars, Kaillee Skjold hit two 3-pointers and had 14 points, while Kelci Benson had two treys and 11 points. For Homer, Elisa Tutt had six points.

Colony girls 52, Wasilla 48 (Championship)

The Knights edged the Warriors for the Northern Lights Conference championship 52-48 on Saturday, despite falling behind by 11 points in the first quarter.

Colony earns the NLC No. 1 seed to state, while Wasilla is the No. 2 seed.

Friday girls

Kardinals 36, Panthers 20

Skyview 0 2 6 12 --20

Kenai Central 16 10 7 3 --36

SKYVIEW (20) -- Halverson 1 0-0 2, Hauptman 1 0-0 2, Marang 0 0-0 0, Hill 4 2-2 10, Malatesta 2 0-0 4, Bak 0 0-0 0. Totals --9 2-2 20.

KENAI CENTRAL (36) -- McGahan 3 0-2 6, Beeson 0 1-2 1, Kiefer 3 0-0 6, Dunlap 2 0-0 4, Steffensen 0 0-0 0, Kelley 0 0-0 0, Wensley 5 0-0 10, Young 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 17 2-6 36.

3-point goals -- none. Team fouls -- Skyview 14, Kenai 7. Fouled out -- none.

Stars 66, Mariners 19

Soldotna 30 16 15 5 --66

Homer 5 4 7 3 --19

SOLDOTNA (66) -- Kress 0 0-0 0, Benson 4 1-2 11, Sholin 1 0-0 2, Litchfield 2 3-4 7, Munn 1 0-0 2, Skjold 6 0-0 14, Hutchins 1 1-2 4, Duke 4 0-2 12, Westerman 0 2-2 2, Smith 1 0-0 2, Kerkvliet 2 0-0 4, Satathite 3 0-0 6. Totals -- 25 7-12 66.

HOMER (19) -- Oliver 0 0-0 0, Ketelle 1 0-0 3, Tutt 2 2-4 6, K. Edens 0 0-3 0, Needham 2 1-2 5, B. Edens 0 0-0 0, Hutt 2 0-0 5, Koplin 0 0-0 0, Mastolier 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 7 3-9 19.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 9 (Duke 4, Benson 2, Skjold 2, Hutchins 1); Homer 2 (Ketelle 1, Hutt 1). Team fouls -- Soldotna 11, Homer 10. Fouled out -- none.

Saturday girls

Stars 45, Bears 42

Soldotna 9 6 17 13 --45

Kodiak 14 10 9 9 --42

SOLDOTNA (45) -- Benson 3 2-2 11, Sholin 1 0-0 2, Litchfield 1 2-4 4, Munn 0 0-0 0, Skjold 6 7-9 19, Duke 1 0-0 3, Westerman 0 0-0 0, Satathite 3 0-2 6. Totals -- 15 11-17 45.

KODIAK (42) -- Garcia 1 0-0 2, Timu 3 0-4 6, Grupp 3 4-4 10, Juble 2 1-2 5, Cannon 1 1-2 3, Wandersee 8 0-0 16, Lampl 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 18 6-12 42.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 4 (Benson 3, Duke 1). Team fouls -- Soldotna 16, Kodiak 14. Fouled out -- Grupp.

Moose 33, Kardinals 32

Palmer 10 9 11 3 --33

Kenai 4 11 7 10 --32

PALMER (33) -- Venzke 4 2-4 10, Jensen 0 1-2 1, Koehn 1 0-1 2, Blake 3 1-2 8, Witfield 0 0-0 0, LaMere 1 3-4 5, Brandenburg 2 0-2 5, Huffman 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 12 7-15 33.

KENAI CENTRAL (32) -- McGahan 0 1-3 1, Beeson 0 0-0 0, Kiefer 0 0-0 0, Chay 0 0-0 0, Dunlap 2 0-0 4, Wensley 3 5-6 12, Young 7 1-3 15. Totals -- 12 7-12 32.

3-point goals -- Palmer 2 (Blake 1, Brandenburg 1); Kenai 1 (Wensley 1). Team fouls -- Palmer 15, Kenai 15. Fouled out -- Koehn.

Stars 42, Moose 36

Palmer 4 10 7 15 --36

Soldotna 11 8 12 11 --42

PALMER (36) -- Venzke 6 1-3 13, Jensen 0 1-2 1, Koehn 2 0-0 4, Blake 2 0-0 4, Whitfield 1 3-6 5, LaMere 0 0-2 0, Brandenburg 2 0-0 4, Huffman 2 1-3 5. Totals -- 15 6-16 36.

SOLDOTNA (42) -- Benson 0 1-2 1, Sholin 1 0-1 2, Litchfield 2 4-8 8, Munn 1 3-5 5, Skjold 4 4-4 12, Duke 3 0-0 7, Westerman 0 0-0 0, Satathite 2 3-3 7. Totals -- 13 15-23 42.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 1 (Duke 1). Team fouls -- Palmer 19, Soldotna 15. Fouled out -- Brandenburg.



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