SoHi cagers open NLC tourney with wins

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2006

The Soldotna High School girls basketball team took a big step toward a state tournament berth Thursday, defeating Palmer 48-45 in overtime in the opening round of the Northern Lights Conference tournament at Colony High School in Palmer.

In other girls games Thursday, Wasilla defeated Kenai 71-36 and Colony defeated Skyview 41-27. There was no score available for the Homer-Kodiak girls game, but the Homer girls did win.

In boys action, Kodiak defeated Kenai 61-43, Homer lost to Palmer 52-42, Skyview lost to Wasilla 65-45 and Soldotna defeated Colony 42-40.

Palmer’s Lesley Berberich provided some buzzer-beating dramatics in the opening game of the tournament, launching a shot from near the right corner with just two ticks left in regulation to force overtime. Palmer led the game most of the way, including a cushy 10-point margin at the intermission, but a multitude of turnovers and missed shots allowed the visiting Stars to crawl back into the game.

Palmer coach Paul Reid said the shot gave his team a boost going into the extra stanza, but they were unable to convert the energy into a winning run.

“The momentum swung in our favor, but we immediately missed opportunities to take control (in overtime),” Reid said.

Missed opportunities played a big role in the loss. Nursing a 10-point lead in the third quarter, the Moose had a chance to put the game away. Soldotna switched to a 1-2-2 defense and three-quarter trap in the second half to force some turnovers and bad shots early, and the few times Palmer was able to beat the press, the Moose up empty on high-percentage shots down low.

“We were playing not to lose. They changed things up on us (defensively), but it wasn’t anything we haven’t seen before,” Reid said. “If we make those easy shots, we have a 12- or 14-point lead.”

SoHi guard Mikala Smith, who tossed in 10 for the Stars, said her team has had a habit all season of starting sluggishly. She credited the second-half defense with turning the game around for Soldotna.

“We’ve had a problem not starting off hard and fast,” she said. “But that defense was the reason we won.”

Coming off the defense, Smith connected on a couple of clutch baskets during a 13-6 third-quarter run. Teammate Christa Kennedy, who led all scorers with 14, chipped in five in the pivotal third quarter, as well.

Smith said the Stars’ second-half effort gives the team a lift going in to today’s 4 p.m. semifinal matchup with top-ranked Wasilla.

“They’re a good team. Hopefully we can come out and play like we did in the third quarter,” she said. “We need to play the whole game like that.”

Soldotna coach Mark Tuter agreed.

“The first half showed how we don’t want to play,” he said. “The second half we quit playing scared and just got after it.”

Wasilla girls 71, Kenai 36

The Warriors created a bunch of turnovers and cruised to a 37-20 lead in the first half en route to victory.

Anne Wesser had 20 points for Wasilla while Hillarie Putnam had 13. For Kenai, Kelsey Brewer nailed four 3-pointers en route to 16 points while Lindsay Keener had 11 points.

Colony girls 41, Skyview 27

The Panthers had trouble with the press as the Knights won a defensive battle.

On three different fourth-quarter possessions, Skyview had the ball trailing by seven, but each time Colony forced a turnover and turned it into two points.

Kodiak boys 61, Kenai 43

The Bears opened up the game with a 23-5 run in the second quarter. Kevin Epperheimer led Kenai with 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to keep pace with the Bears, who put three players in double-digits. Michael Thomas led Kodiak with 17 points.

Kenai will play in a consolation bracket game today at 10:45 a.m.

Palmer boys 52, Homer 42

The Mariners’ guard tandem of Justin Smith and Luke Gilbert was limited to 15 points and Homer was unable to climb out of an early hole.

Homer trailed 28-15 at the half and only put a small dent in the Palmer lead in the second half.

D.J. Mouton led the Moose with 17 points, including five 3-pointers. Gilbert finished with 11 to lead the Mariners.

Wasilla boys 65, Skyview 45

The Wasilla boys grabbed a 31-13 lead at the half en route to victory.

Jeff Dolifka had a game-high 20 points for Skyview, while Rich Shirnberg added 16 points. For Wasilla, Brad Hobbs had 16 points, Jesse Bean had 13 points and Jack Troshynski had 11 points.

Soldotna boys 42, Colony 40

The Stars used a strong first quarter and clutch foul shooting from Brian Blossom to notch a victory and become the only peninsula boys team to win on the day.

Kelly Seggerman had 17 points for Soldotna, including three 3-pointers in the first quarter. Blossom made 3 of 4 foul shots in the final minute to help ice the win.

Frontiersman managing editor Mark Kelsey contributed to this report.

Girls

STARS 48, MOOSE 45, OT

Soldotna 2 13 13 14 6 — 48

Palmer 6 19 6 11 3 — 45

SOLDOTNA (48) — Smith 2 6-13 10, Cleveland 2 0-0 5, Kennedy 6 0-2 14, Stenga 1 0-0 2, Barker 0 0-0 0, Denna 3 0-2 6, Blackburn 5 1-2 11, Madden 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 7-19 48.

PALMER (45) — Svedin 1 0-0 3, Berberich 3 1-2 9, Cox 0 2-2 2, Bolling 2 0-0 4, Kenney 3 0-0 6, Ratcliff 1 0-0 2, Houtte 3 2-5 8, Houser 1 0-0 2, Swetzoff 4 0-0 9. Totals — 18 5-9 45.

3-point goals — Soldotna 3 (Kennedy 2, Cleveland), Palmer 4 (Berberich 2, Svedin, Swetzoff). Total fouls — Soldotna 13, Palmer 18. Fouled out — Berberich.

WARRIORS 71, KARDINALS 36

Wasilla 16 21 19 15 —71

Kenai 7 13 8 8 —36

WASILLA (71) — Parsons 2 0-0 5, Wesser 8 4-5 20, Semler 4 0-0 8, Wright 1 0-0 2, Putnam 6 1-2 13, Fulton 2 0-0 5, Brown 1 0-2 3, Johnson 4 3-6 11, Welch 0 0-0 0, Husmann 1 0-0 2, Podbielski 0 0-1 0, Carter 1 0-0 2. Totals — 30 8-16 71.

KENAI CENTRAL (36) — Navarre 0 1-2 1, Keener 4 2-6 11, Foley 1 0-1 2, Moore 0 1-2 1, McGlasson 0 0-0 0, Kiel 0 2-2 2, Salisbury 0 0-0 0, Craig 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Steward 1 1-2 3, Brewer 6 0-0 16. Totals 12 7-15 36.

3-point goals — Wasilla 3 (Parsons, Fulton, Brown); Kenai 5 (Brewer 4, Keener 1). Team fouls — Wasilla 16, Kenai 15. Fouled out — none.

Boys

BEARS 61, KARDINALS 43

Kenai 14 5 14 10 — 43

Kodiak 17 23 10 11 — 61

KENAI (43) — Saltzgiver 1 0-0 2, Chappell 1 0-0 2, Gustkey 0 2-2 2, Ellis 0 0-0 0, Toombs 4 0-0 9, Beeson 0 0-0 0, Blanning 0 0-0 0, Epperheimer 8 0-0 17, Ward 0 0-0 0, Faumui 0 0-0 0, Miles 2 1-2 5, McLeod 3 0-0 6. Totals — 19 3-4 443.

KODIAK (61) — Fried 0 0-0 0, Catt 3 0-0 6, Buenluz 1 0-0 2, Putney 3 2-3 11, Will 0 0-0 0, Simpson 4 0-0 10, Johnson 4 0-1 9, Thomas 8 1-1 17, O’Dell 0 0-0 0, Sweeney 0 0-0 0, Bryant 0 0-0 0, Jensen 3 0-0 6. Totals — 26 3-5 61.

3-point goals — Kenai 2 (Toombs, Epperheimer), Kodiak 6 (Putney 3, Simpson 2, Johnson). Total fouls — Kenai 11. Kodiak 9. Fouled out — none.

MOOSE 52, MARINERS 42

Homer 7 8 17 10 — 42

Palmer 15 13 16 8 — 52

HOMER (42) — Smith 2 0-2 4, Szymoniak 0 0-0 0, Andrews 2 1-2 7, Gilbert 4 1-2 11, McKinstry 1 2-2 4, Isenhour 1 0-0 3, Logan 2 0-0 5, Layland 1 1-2 3, Thompson 0 0-2 0, McWilliams 2 1-2 5. Totals — 15 6-14 42.

PALMER (52) — Weber 1 4-4 6, Mouton 0 2-2 2, Fullmer 5 2-2 17, Svedin 2 1-2 5, J. Berberich 1 0-0 3, Fiscus 1 0-0 2, Kohring 2 0-0 4, T. Berberich 6 1-4 13. Totals — 18 10-14 52.

3-point goals — Homer 6 (Andrwes 2, Gilbert 2, Isenhour, Logan), Palmer 6 (Fullmer 5, J. Berberich). Total fouls — Homer 13, Palmer 14. Fouled out — none.

WARRIORS 65, PANTHERS 45

Wasilla 15 16 21 13 —65

Skyview 9 4 20 12 —45

SKYVIEW (45) — West 0 0-0 0, Merritt 0 0-0 0, Dolifka 9 1-5 20, Rodgers 0 0-0 0, McMilin 0 0-0 0, Duke 1 0-0 2, Bosick 2 2-4 7, Blossom 0 0-0 0, Bellinger 0 0-0 0, DeTavinier 0 0-0 0, Singleton 0 0-0 0, Shirnberg 7 1-1 16. Totals — 19 4-10 45.

WASILLA (65) — Bean 5 2-4 13, Hobbs 6 3-4 16, Blanchett 0 0-0 0, Sliwa 0 0-0 0, T. Johannes 1 0-2 2, Collins 0 3-4 3, Troshynski 5 1-5 11, I. Johannes 2 0-0 4, Stearman 2 2-2 6, Orr 1 0-1 2, Williams 3 2-6 8. Totals — 25 13-28 65.

3-point goals — Skyview 3 (Dolifka 1, Bosick 1, Shirnberg 1); Wasilla 2 (Bean 1, Hobbs 1). Team fouls — Skyview 19, Wasilla 13. Fouled out — Duke, Blossom.

Southcentral Conference

The Nikiski boys basketball team started off the Southcentral Conference tournament Thursday with a 69-40 loss to Grace Christian.

The Bulldogs fall into the fourth-place bracket and can no longer qualify for state. Nikiski must defeat Susitna Valley at 11:45 a.m. today in order to keep its season alive.

The Grizzlies outscored the Bulldogs 18-9 in the first period and never looked back. Lou Karlberg and Ben Boerger had 17 points apiece for Grace, while Kellan Moll added 16 points. For Nikiski, Rick Miller had 13 points and Justin Vance had 10 points.

The top-seeded Nikiski girls had a bye Thursday. They open play today at 4 p.m. against Anchorage Christian Schools, which defeated Anchorage Christian Schools 57-42.

Boys

GRIZZLIES 69, BULLDOGS 40

Nikiski 9 13 3 15 —40

Grace 18 14 21 16 —69

NIKISKI (40) — Holloway 0 0-0 0, Lofquist 0 0-0 0, Miller 5 3-4 13, Bennett 0 0-0 0, Cook 1 2-3 4, Ju. Vance 4 2-2 10, Jo. Vance 1 0-0 3, Seaman 0 0-0 0, Schwenke 1 0-0 3, Thurman 3 0-0 7. Totals — 15 7-9 40.

GRACE (69) — Engalls 1 0-0 2, Lo. Karlberg 7 2-3 17, Boerger 6 2-4 17, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Le. Karlberg 3 0-0 7, Edwards 0 0-2 0, Moll 8 0-2 16, Hartmann 2 0-0 4, Johnson 1 0-1 2, Steck 2 0-0 4, Visser 0 0-0 0. Totals — 30 4-12 69.

3-point goals — Nikiski 3 (Thurman 1, Schwenke 1, Jo. Vance 1); Grace 5 (Boerger 3, Lo. Karlberg 1, Le. Karlberg 1). Team fouls — Nikiski 14, Grace 11. Fouled out — none.

Peninsula Conference

In Wednesday’s opening-round games, the Seldovia boys and girls, the Lumen Christi girls and the Bristol Bay boys posted wins.

The Seldovia girls overcame an early deficit to defeat Cook Inlet Academy 42-29. Naomi Gallien scored 20 points and Jennifer Giles added 14 for the Sea Otters. Melissa Moffis led the Eagles with 10 points.

The Seldovia boys, led by Evan Mickelson’s 19 points, defeated Lumen Christi 65-35.

Tisa Kuzmin scored 16 points, Shura Gordeev netted 12 and Lekonida Yakunin added 11 for the Nikolaevsk girls, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Lumen Christi as the Archangels prevailed 73-48.

The Nikolaevsk boys dropped a 81-62 decision to Bristol Bay. Mavrik Kuzmin scored 19 to lead the Nikolaevsk while Joel Tutt and Eric Tutt each scored 13 and Daniel Nestor netted 10. Dustin Wilson scored 24 for the Angels.

Thursday’s results were not available as the Clarion went to press.



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