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Angels defend conference title

Posted: Sunday, March 13, 2005

 

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  Ninilchik's Jennifer Erickson shoots in front of Bristol Bay's Tawnie Myers in the third quarter Friday night during the Peninsula Conference Tournament at Soldotna Middle School. Photo by M. Scott Moon

Ninilchik's Kendra Moerlein drives past Bristol Bay's Danica Wilson in the third quarter Friday.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Thanks to coach Tim Helvey, the Bristol Bay girls basketball team was all smiles Friday night during the Peninsula Conference championship against Ninilchik.

Several times during the game, Helvey would get his team's attention and tell them to smile. The Angels smiled, and probably gritted their teeth a little, in holding on for a 46-42 victory and a second straight conference title.

"I have a couple of players who can get down during a game," Helvey said after his team improved to 19-2 overall. "It's just a funny thing I do to get them to relax and cheer up a little."

Last year, the Angels stopped Ninilchik's run of 11 straight conference titles with a close victory over the Wolverines in the title game. Ninilchik did come back for a fifth straight state crown, beating Bristol Bay in the Class 2A final.

"I'm really impressed with our team," Bristol Bay senior Catigan West said. "It's definitely what we've been working hard for. Now we want to make it all the way."

Ninilchik could never get over the hump against the Angels, trailing by margins ranging from eight points to two points the entire second half.

The Wolverines started their last push with 1:05 left in the game, when Jennifer Erickson hit a layup to cut the gap to 45-41. After an Angels turnover, Erickson hit one of two foul shots to cut the gap to three.

Ninilchik forced a jump ball with 24 seconds left, and the possession arrow gave the Wolverines the ball with a chance to tie. With Bristol Bay pressuring outside to prevent a 3-pointer, Ninilchik tried to get the ball inside. The pass was tipped and Bristol Bay made the steal. Nena Smith then finished off Ninilchik with a foul shot.

"I'm really happy with the way we played and the effort we showed," said Ninilchik coach Dan Leman after his team fell to 18-4 overall. "It was one of those typical Bristol Bay-Ninilchik games. It could have gone either way."

Leman's team, getting 14 points from post player Erickson and 11 from post player Kendra Moerlein, lost despite shooting 16-of-31 from the floor. The Wolverines were hurt by 8-of-20 shooting from the foul line, 20 turnovers and a big deficit in the rebounding battle.

Bristol Bay did not shoot well from the foul line, hitting 6-of-15, and turned the ball over 17 times. The Angels' offensive rebounding carried the day, though, as they had 54 shot attempts as compared to Ninilchik's 31.

No rebounding stats were available after the game, but the disparity in shot attempts shows that Bristol Bay handily won the rebounding battle.

"They are not only strong, but they're smart and they position themselves well for the ball," Leman said of Bristol Bay. "Then part of it is just effort. They were crashing the boards hard and we weren't doing a real good job of blocking out."

While Ninilchik relied on the inside punch of Moerlein and Erickson, Bristol Bay had the inside-outside combination of Tiffany Edwards (14 points) and Danica Wilson (13 points).

Wilson had all of her points in the first half, helping the Angels' to a six-point halftime advantage. When the Wolverines began to stop Wilson, Edwards hit some big shots, including a 3-pointer with 5:00 left in the game that gave the Angels a 39-33 lead.

"I'm fortunate to have players that can score on the inside, and then a bunch of other players who can all score on the outside," Helvey said.

The coach also praised Tawnie Meyers for slowing down Erickson when Jackie West — the Angels' preferred defender on Erickson — got into foul trouble in the second half.

 

Ninilchik's Jennifer Erickson shoots in front of Bristol Bay's Tawnie Myers in the third quarter Friday night during the Peninsula Conference Tournament at Soldotna Middle School.

Photo by M. Scott Moon

Leman said the size, strength and skill both Ninilchik — with 6-foot-0 Erickson and 5-10 Moerlein — and Bristol Bay — with the stout tandem of 5-10 West and 5-9 Wilson — can put on the floor is unique in Class 2A basketball.

"It was fun watching those bigs go at it tonight," Leman said.

Lumen Christi girls 35, Nikolaevsk 32

A Warriors bid for a comeback came up short as the Archangels advanced to the second-place game.

Shannon Craig paced Lumen Christi with 10 points, while Nikolaevsk's Nikki Melkomukov led all scorers with 15 points.

Ninilchik boys 58, Bristol Bay 56, OT

The Wolverines advanced to Saturday's championship with a tight victory over the Angels.

Nikolaevsk boys 43, Lumen Christi 39

The Warriors edged the Archangels to move into the second-place semifinal. Kevin McNeal had 15 points for Lumen Christi, while Anecta Kalugin led all scorers with 19 points for Nikolaevsk.

Girls championship

ANGELS 46, WOLVERINES 42

Ninilchik 9 15 6 12 —42

Bristol Bay 13 17 6 10 —46

NINILCHIK (42) — Leman 2 0-0 5, Wolford 1 1-4 3, Moerlein 4 3-4 11, Wood 2 0-1 5, K. Skjold 0 1-2 1, J. Bartolowits 1 0-0 2, Erickson 6 2-5 14, Dawson 0 1-4 1. Totals — 16 8-20 42.

BRISTOL BAY (46) — J. West 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 1-4 1, C. West 2 1-4 5, Meyers 2 0-0 4, Ring 0 0-0 0, Edwards 6 0-1 14, Riddle 3 1-2 7, Wilson 5 3-4 13. Totals — 19 6-15 46.

3-point goals — Ninilchik 2 (Leman 1, Wood 1); Bristol Bay 2 (Edwards 2). Total fouls — Ninilchik 16, Bristol Bay 17. Fouled out — J. West.

Girls second-place semifinal

ARCHANGELS 35, WARRIORS 32

Nikolaevsk 8 9 5 10 —32

Lumen Christi 12 8 10 5 —35

NIKOLAEVSK (32) — Melkomukov 6 3-6 15, Reutov 4 0-0 8, Bailey 0 0-0 0, Tipikin 0 2-2 2, Kuzmin 0 0-0 0, Gordeev 0 3-6 3, Kalugin 1 0-2 2. Totals — 11 8-16 32.

LUMEN CHRISTI (35) — Ke. McNeal 1 5-7 8, Kjelstad 2 1-2 5, Ka. McNeal 2 0-0 4, Craig 3 4-6 10, Neverburg 1 0-0 2, Suemai 0 0-0 0, Kruger 0 0-0 0, Sanders 3 0-0 6. Totals — 12 10-15 35.

3-point goals — Lumen Christi 1 (Ke. McNeal 1). Total fouls — Nikolaevsk 17, Lumen Christi 11. Fouled out — Reutov.

Boys second-place quarterfinal

WARRIORS 43, ARCHANGELS 39

Lumen Christi 11 12 10 6 —39

Nikolaevsk 7 10 18 8 —43

LUMEN CHRISTI (39) — Dooley 0 0-0 0, Hudlow 2 0-0 6, George 3 1-4 7, Circle 2 1-1 5, Chinnery 1 0-0 2, Bevvy 1 1-2 3, Fisk 0 0-0 0, Dixon 0 1-2 1, McNeal 6 3-3 15. Totals — 15 7-12 39.

NIKOLAEVSK (43) — J. Tutt 2 0-3 4, Nester 0 1-2 1, E. Tutt 1 5-8 7, Nikitenko 3 0-0 8, V. Yakunin 1 0-2 2, P. Yakunin 1 0-0 2, Kalugin 8 3-4 19. Totals — 16 9-19 43.

3-point goals — Lumen Christi 2 (Hudlow 2); Nikolaevsk 2 (Nikitenko 2). Total fouls — Lumen Christi 16, Nikolaevsk 12. Fouled out — none.



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