CIA rules Peninsula Conference: Boys deploy strong defense to defeat Ninilchik, keep title

Posted: Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Cook Inlet Academy boys basketball team won its second straight Peninsula Conference crown by defeating Ninilchik 48-42 on Friday at Kenai Central High School.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Cook Inlet Academy's Matthew Moffis pulls down a rebound Friday in the first quarter of the Peninsula Conference championship.

The Eagles, who salted away a state berth for the second straight year, also topped the Wolverines in last year's conference championship. Ninilchik came back to claim second place and a state berth on Saturday.

While CIA used offense to overwhelm the Wolverines 75-55 last year, this year's title tilt came down to defense.

"The boys stepped up defensively and did what we asked them to do," said CIA coach Justin Franchino, who completed an undefeated run through the league in his first year as head coach. "Each person played their role, and we played really well as a team."

Franchino, whose team normally scores in the low 60s, said he knew it would be a defensive battle because the Eagles did not have the services of Stefan and David Reischach, who missed the game due to religious reasons. The coach also respects the ability of Ninilchik coach Keith Presley to get his team to play great defense.

Presley made it to the conference title game for the seventh time in his eight years as coach, but he has yet to win a championship. The Eagles have won five of the last eight conference titles.

"CIA still has that deal, that mystique," Presley said. "That's worth six points every time they walk on the floor, and we never got over that.

"If you're going to beat the champion, you have to step up and smack the champion and take the championship away from them. We didn't do that."

With the game in the balance in the second half, Ninilchik was 4-of-13 from the floor in the third quarter and 2-of-11 in the fourth quarter. Presley said the team did a good job of running the offense and getting good shots. Those shots just were not falling.

"We couldn't hit our backside with both hands," Presley said.

Even after missing their first seven shots of the final quarter, the Wolverines still had a shot at their first conference title since 2002. Quinn Bennett hit a layup to cut CIA's lead to 45-41 with 1:20 left, then Scott Goins missed a layup with 1:05 to play that would have cut the lead to two.

CIA turned the ball back over to Ninilchik and Goins cut the lead to 45-42 with a free throw with 59 seconds left, but Ninilchik would turn the ball over on its next two possessions and not score the rest of the game.

Matthew Moffis had 15 points for CIA to lead all scorers, while Cody Munn dumped in 13 and Jacob Grinestaff had 12. Franchino said one of the biggest contributions came from senior captain Josh Holly, who did not dent the scoring column.

"He doesn't have much offensive ability, but he's a leader on the defensive end," Franchino said. "He's the heart and soul of what we do on defense. They really feed off of his energy on the defensive end."

Holly, who is able to guard any player on the floor thanks to his ability to anticipate a play before the offensive player has even acted, said this was his type of game.

"This is the funnest game I think I have ever played in," he said. "This is the most fun I think I've had all year. We played together until the very end."

Perhaps proving Presley's theory of the mind-set of a champion, Holly said doubts never entered his mind, and he tried to keep doubts out of the minds of his teammates, as well.

"My buddy, Robbie Smithwick, said somebody would have to be responsible for firing up the team," Holly said. "In the huddle, I was so excited, screaming, "Three more minutes,' 'Two more minutes.' I knew we were going to win."

Jeff Klapak paced the Wolverines with 14 points, while Sam Bennett had 12 points and Quinn Bennett added 11 points.

Ninilchik boys 41, Nikolaevsk 29

After eight years of coaching and seven years in the championship game, Ninilchik coach Keith Presley earned a berth at state by taking second place.

In the Peninsula Conference, the loser of the championship game has to come back the next day and play for second place and a state berth.

"We've always been able to beat them the first time, but we've never been able to beat them coming back through," Presley said.

The Wolverines led 17-16 at halftime, but took command in the third quarter, holding the Warriors to just two points and taking a 28-18 lead.

Hunter Cooper paced Ninilchik with 14 points, while Mark Fefelov had 15 points for Nikolaevsk.

Nikolaevsk boys 53, Bristol Bay 43

The Warriors moved into the second-place semifinals by defeating the Angels on Friday.

Jonah Yakunin paced Nikolaevsk with 18 points, while Mark Fefelov had 13 points. For Bristol Bay, Jaxon Wassillie netted 24 points.

Lumen Christi boys 70, Whittier 45

The Archangels topped the Eagles on Friday in the second-place quarterfinals.

Lumen trailed 12-8 after one quarter, but led 28-20 at halftime and 49-34 after three quarters. Ted Sturgulewski paced Lumen with 26 points, while Eli Portell had 16 points, Matt Ritter had 14 points and Seth Bakic had 10 points.

For Whittier, Nick Swain had 18 points and Justin Lipscomb had 16 points.

Friday boys

Eagles 48, Wolverines 42

CIA 13 12 13 10 --48

Ninilchik 10 12 10 10 --42

COOK INLET ACADEMY (48) -- L. Grinestaff 0 0-0 0, Munn 5 3-4 13, J. Grinestaff 5 2-2 12, Holly 0 0-0 0, Powers 4 0-1 8, Moffis 4 6-7 15, Horton 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 18 11-14 48.

NINILCHIK (42) -- Cooper 1 0-0 2, Riley 0 0-0 0, Je. Klapk 4 5-6 14, Goins 0 1-2 1, Covey 0 0-0 0, S. Bennett 3 6-9 12, Wheeler 1 0-0 2, Q. Bennett 4 2-2 11. Totals -- 13 14-19 42.

3-point goals -- CIA 1 (Moffis 1), Ninilchik 2 (Je. Klapak 1, Q. Bennett 1). Team fouls -- CIA 16, Ninilchik 16. Fouled out -- none.

Warriors 53, Angels 43

Nikolaevsk 14 8 12 19 --53

Bristol Bay 8 7 12 16 --43

NIKOLAEVSK (53) -- Klaich 0 0-0 0, Trail 0 0-0 0, M. Fefelov 4 2-2 13, Yakunin 7 4-6 18, Ivanov 2 4-4 8, Kalugin 3 0-0 8, Konovalov 2 1-2 5, Mametieff 0 1-2 1. Totals -- 18 12-16 53.

BRISTOL BAY (43) -- Finney 0 0-0 0, Zimin 1 0-1 2, Pete 2 0-1 5, Wilson 2 1-2 5, Rush 1 1-2 4, Aspelund 1 0-0 3, Chukwak 0 0-0 0, Wassillie 8 6-10 24. Totals -- 13 8-16 43.

3-point goals -- Nikolaevsk 5 (M. Fefelov 3, Kalugin 2), Bristol Bay 2 (Pete 1, Rush 1). Team fouls -- Nikolaevsk 13, Bristol Bay 16. Fouled out -- none.

Saturday boys

Wolverines 41, Warriors 29

Nikolaevsk 9 7 2 11 --29

Ninilchik 9 8 11 13 --41

NIKOLAEVSK (29) -- McCollum 0 0-0 0, Klaich 1 0-0 3, Trail 0 0-0 0, A. Fefelov 0 0-0 0, M. Fefelov 7 1-2 15, Yakunin 0 0-0 0, Ivanov 1 0-0 2, Holub 0 0-0 0, Kalugin 2 0-0 5, Konovalov 2 0-0 4, Mametieff 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 13 1-2 29.

NINILCHIK (41) -- Cooper 5 2-2 14, Riley 0 0-2 0, Je. Klapak 3 1-3 7, Ju. Klapak 0 0-0 0, Goins 0 0-0 0, Covey 0 0-0 0, Self 0 0-0 0, S. Bennett 2 3-7 7, Wheeler 2 1-2 5, Q. Bennett 3 1-1 8, Bear 0 0-2 0. Totals -- 13 8-19 41.

3-point goals -- Nikolaevsk 2 (Klaich 1, Kalugin 1), Ninilchik 3 (Cooper 2, Q. Bennett 1). Team fouls -- Nikolaevsk 18, Ninilchik 10. Fouled out -- Yakunin.



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