Eagles boys stifle Nikolaevsk offense

Posted: Friday, March 11, 2005

The Cook Inlet Academy boys high school basketball team advanced to the championship game of the Peninsula Conference tournament, using a smothering defense to defeat Nikolaevsk 50-32 Thursday in the Soldotna Middle School gymnasium.

"Cook Inlet played some tough defense, and our offense struggled," said Nikolaevsk coach Steve Klaich. "We had to work hard to get an open look, and we didn't get enough of them."

Indeed, the Eagles focused their defensive efforts on Nikolaevsk sharpshooter Stephan Nikitenko and big man Anecta Kalugin, frequently double-teaming one or both of them.

When the Warriors were able to get the ball inside to Kalugin, he was effective — he finished with 16 points — but most of the time a Cook Inlet defender was able to swat away the passes lobbed into the post.

"They were swarming (Kalugin). We tried to get the ball inside, but they were denying and double-teaming real well," Klaich said.

The Cook Inlet defense also held Nikitenko to 10 points as he rarely got a clean look at the basket.

"We just had to shut down Anecta and Nikitenko," said Cook Inlet's Jeremy Franchino, adding that teammate Steven Burger stepped in and played well for Andy Hall, who is recovering from an ankle injury.

Nikolaevsk stayed with Cook Inlet through a slow first quarter, but Franchino got hot in the second quarter, scoring 13 of his 14 points in the frame — nine of them on 3-pointers — and the Eagles took a 26-14 lead at the half.

Cook Inlet was able to pound the ball inside to Blake Gabriel in the second half to maintain its advantage. Both Franchino and Gabriel finished with 14 points.

"We're on a good path — I don't know if I'd say we've peaked," Franchino said.

The Warriors will have a second chance for a state tournament berth as they take on Lumen Christi today in the consolation bracket.

The Eagles advance to Saturday's championship game — which they must win to advance to the state tournament. The championship game loser must play the consolation bracket winner Saturday night for the conference's second state tournament berth.

Klaich said his squad would have no problem bouncing back for today's game.

"They always play hard. That's what I love about coaching these kids," Klaich said. "They'll be disappointed tonight, but they'll be ready to go tomorrow."

Bristol Bay girls 60, Lumen Christi 22

Danica Wilson scored 21 points and the Angels opened with a 16-0 run to advance to a title game showdown today against Ninilchik.

Jackie West chipped in with 12 points for Bristol Bay while Kara McNeal was Lumen Christi's top scorer with seven points.

Boys

EAGLES 50, WARRIORS 32

Nikolaevsk 4 10 10 8 — 32

Cook Inlet 7 19 10 14 — 50

NIKOLAEVSK (32) — J. Tutt 0 0-0 0, P. Nester 0 0-0 0, E. Tutt 2 0-1 4, Nikitenko 4 1-2 10, V. Yakunin 1 0-0 2, P. Yakunin 0 0-0 0, D. Nester 0 0-0 0, Kalugin 4 8-13 16. Totals — 11 9-16 32.

COOK INLET ACADEMY (50) — Franchino 5 1-2 14, Fowler 0 0-0 0, Byrd 0 0-0 0, Kytonen 0 2-2 2, Beeson 3 2-2 8, Forsi 0 0-1 0, Burger 4 0-1 8, Brown 2 0-1 4, Gabriel 7 0-0 14. Totals — 21 5-9 50.

3-point goals — Nikolaevsk 1 (Nikitenko), CIA 3 (Franchino 3). Total fouls — Nikolaevsk 11, CIA 11. Fouled out — none.

Girls

ANGELS 60, ARCHANGELS 22

Lumen Christi 0 8 8 6 — 22

Bristol Bay 16 18 17 9 — 60

LUMEN CHRISTI (22) — Ke. McNeal 0 2-5 2, George 0 0-0 0, L. Kjelstad 1 0-0 2, Ka. McNeal 2 2-4 7, Whithington 0 0-0 0, Craig 1 0-1 2, A. Kjelstad 0 1-4 1, Neuerburg 1 0-0 2, Suemai 0 0-0 0, Kruger 0 0-0 0, Sanders 2 2-2 6. Totals — 7 7-16 22.

BRISTOL BAY (60) — Lawson 1 1-2 3, J. West 5 2-2 12, Smith 1 0-0 2, C. West 1 1-2 3, Myers 1 0-0 2, Anderson 0 0-0 0, Ring 2 0-0 4, Edwards 4 0-1 8, Riddle 2 1-1 5, Wilson 10 1-3 20. Totals — 27 6-11 60.

3-point goals — Lumen Christi 1 (Ka. McNeal). Total fouls — Lumen Christi 13, Bristol Bay 18. Fouled out — none.



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