Lady Mariners blow past Kenai, claim Southern Division No. 3 seed

Homer notches weekend sweep

Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2003

Homer basketball teams visited Kenai Central Saturday poised to sweep their weekend visit to the central Kenai Peninsula. Following Friday victories over Skyview's boys and girls teams, the Mariners teams added two more wins to spoil the Kardinals' senior night recognition.

The Homer girls beat Kenai 56-43 and Homer's boys staved off a Kardinal cardiac comeback to win 58-55.

With a 5-5 Region III/4A record, the Kenai boys will be seeded No. 1 in the Southern Division, and will face either Kodiak or Palmer in the first round of next weekend's region tournament in Homer. The Mariner's 4-6 record will seed them fourth in the Southern Division and pit them against Wasilla, the top-ranked team in the state.

The girls were battling to avoid playing Wasilla's girls, who are the state's first-ranked team, and also seeded No. 1 in the region. Kenai will face the Warriors while Homer squares off against Palmer.

In the boys game, Kenai's backcourt outside double threat of Ian Foley and Steve Steiner began their perimeter work early, with Steiner hitting his first shot of the game -- less than two minutes into play -- from outside the 3-point line and collecting a foul shot for good measure. It was his first of four for the night in which he led all scores with 22 points.

Foley, who logged 13 for the night, followed with the first of his three treys on the night. This set the tone of the game, as each would later hit clutch 3-pointers at crucial moments.

Foley shook off a defender and drained a 25-foot trey bomb as the final second ticked down in the third period, cutting into a 10-point deficit, and Steiner nailed a 3-pointer with seven seconds left in regulation to bring the Kardinals to within three points, before turning over the ball in the final seconds.

But Homer coach Billy Day said his team responded well to the challenge of Kenai's perimeter game.

"Kenai hit big shots," he said,"But our defense was able to recover and answer."

Homer guards Ben Kuhns and Josh Luebbert blanketed the Kenai guards and narrowed the Kardinals' view of the basket. And a stingy Homer zone limited Kenai interior passes to the post.

Homer forward Adam Crum, who had 15 points, said the Mariner guards did more than cover Kenai defensively.

"Their shooting is pretty good, but our outside shooting finally started hitting," he said.

Kuhns had two treys to include in his 12-point performance and Luebbert's 11 points included three 3-pointers.

Kenai coach Rich Bartolowits said he felt his team lost on the post.

"I don't feel like we rebounded well," he said.

In the girls game, a Kenai lead quickly faded as Homer emerged from a six-point halftime deficit to go on a 14-2 run.

"We just came out and didn't play the second half," said Kenai coach Jim Beeson. "Homer played a good game. We just disappeared."

Both Homer coach Mark Mahan and senior guard Caitlin Crandall said the prospect of playing the best team in the state was a motivating factor.

"I was trying to figure out what I said to them," Mahan said. "They decided they wanted to beat Kenai."

The Mariners discovered renewed spunk in the locker room break and overwhelmed Kenai with a defensive barrage of presses.

"We just didn't want to play Wasilla," said Crandall, who scored a game-high 16 points. "Our coach told us speed beats size, and matched our smaller players against their post players."

Kenai committed 23 turnovers. Kenai senior Erin Smith, who also had 16 points, said nerves took effect.

"We saw the score and we were rushing passes," Smith said. "It sucks."

Girls

MARINERS 56, KARDINALS 43

Homer 7 11 19 19 -- 56

Mariner 14 10 6 13 -- 43

HOMER (56) -- Mahan 0 0-0 0, Crandall 7 2-5 16, Creamer 2 0-0 2, Thompson 3 0-1 6, Sinnhuber 0 0-0 0, Cousins 3 3-6 9, Pollack 0 0-0 0, Morawitz 1 0-0 2, Riley 0 0-0 0, Lowney 0 8-10 8, Lightcap 0 0-0 0, McKinstry 0 0-0 0. Totals 21 14-24 56.

KENAI (43) -- Saltzgiver 2 2-2 6, Keener 1 0-0 2, Baldwin 4 3-4 11, Dunn 0 0-0 0, McGlasson 0 0-0 0, Steiner 0 0-0 0, McLeod 0 0-0 0, Hall 1 2-2 4, Erin Smith 5 6-8 16, Erica Smith 1 2-2 4. Totals 14 15-18 43.

3-goals -- none. Total fouls -- Homer 19, Kenai 18. Fouled out -- Baldwin.

MARINERS 58, KARDINALS 55

Homer 7 20 17 14 -- 58

Kenai 13 10 14 18 -- 55

HOMER (58) -- Kuhns 5 0-1 12, Adams 0 0-0 0, Luebbert 4 2-4 11, Drake 2 0-2 4, Stead 5 6-6 16, Siekanic 0 0-0 0, Crum 7 1-2 15, Smith 0 0-0 0, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Winne 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 9-15 58.

KENAI (55) -- Steiner 5 8-9 22, Chappell 2 4-5 8, Jenkes 0 0-0 0, Foley 5 0-0 13, Craig 0 0-0 0, Villegas 1 0-0 2, Schooley 1 4-4 6, Gemmell 0 0-0 0, Bennett 0 0-0 0, Shinn 2 2-4. Totals -- 15 18-22 55.

3-point goals -- Homer 3 (Kuhns 2, Luebbert), Kenai 7 (Steiner 4, Foley 3). Total fouls -- Homer 14, Kenai 13. Fouled out -- Shinn.



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