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Kards, Stars come up short in semis

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

The Colony girls basketball team showed how much easier demolition can be than construction Friday night in a Region III/4A tournament game at Skyview High School.

In a matter of minutes, the Knights destroyed a 10-point lead the Kardinals had spent a good quarter building en route to a 49-46 victory in the semifinals.

Colony moved on to play in its ninth straight championship game, while Kenai dropped into the consolation bracket for a contest against Kodiak.

The game turned in a 40-second stretch in the fourth quarter. Up until that point, Kenai had done a solid job of handling Colony's press, and a layup by Erin Smith gave the Kardinals a 40-30 lead with 5:06 left in the game.

After that, Colony's Kelly Quinn, a four-year varsity starter and last year's region player of the year, asserted her will on the game.

With Kenai turning the ball over regularly, Quinn scored seven points in 35 seconds. Her free throw cut Kenai's lead to 42-38 with 4:15 left in the game.

"In that 30-second stretch, we killed ourselves," said Kenai coach Jim Beeson. "That always seems to happen to us against Colony.

"We'll be handling the press all game, and then we'll pucker up."

Colony coach Don Witzel gave credit to Quinn for pushing through what, to that point, had been a tough shooting game.

"She missed a lot of shots tonight that she normally makes," Witzel said. "That's the thing about her. Even if she's missing shots, she'll keep looking to score, where others kids will give up and stop shooting."

After that telling 40-second stretch, Colony kept on rolling. Kristina Klapperich hit a pair of foul shots and Siena Locke drained a trifecta to put Colony up 43-40 with 3:09 left. All told, Colony had outscored Kenai 13-0 in 1:45 of play.

"To the kids credit, we didn't completely fold," Beeson said. "We still made a run at them at the end."

Kenai actually came right back to take the lead as Jamie Montgomery and Anna Hall each buried a pair of free throws.

But, with 55 seconds left, Colony took the lead for good at 45-44 when Locke penetrated and found Klapperich for an easy layup.

Locke, who sat the bench for most of the first half, also had a key steal late in the game for the Knights.

"We have a number of guards who have different talents, and I just keep switching them around until I find the right combination," Witzel said. "(Locke) is quick and picks up the tempo for us.

"She made some important plays for us tonight."

Down 49-46, Kenai had a chance to tie it, but Karli Knudsen had a 3-point attempt bounce off the back of the iron as time expired.

In the end, Colony was too solid from the free-throw line. The Knights were 23-of-33 from the foul line, including 15-of-18 in the second half. That marksmanship allowed Colony to notch the victory despite scoring just four field goals in the second half.

 

Kenai's Anna Hall and Michelle Edwards cage a Colony Knight under the Colony basket in the third period Friday at Skyview High School.

Photo by M. SCOTT MOON

"We tend to be a good free-throw shooting team, and we get better as the free throws get more important at the end of the game," Witzel said.

Quinn led all scorers with 20 points, while Klapperich pitched in 15 points for the Knights.

Montgomery paced Kenai with 14 points, while Knudsen and Smith had 10 points apiece.

KNIGHTS 49, KARDINALS 46

Kenai 13 12 11 10 --46

Colony 15 9 6 19 --49

KENAI (46) -- Knudsen 3 3-8 10, Baldwin 0 0-0 0, Montgomery 6 2-2 14, Goggia 0 0-0 0, Edwards 3 0-0 6, McLeod 1 0-0 2, Hall 1 2-2 4, Smith 5 0-2 10. Totals -- 19 7-14 46.

COLONY (49) -- Colberg 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-0 0, Quinn 4 11-12 20, Menard 1 0-2 2, Thaggard 1 2-2 4, Beckman 1 1-2 3, Locke 2 0-0 5, Klapperich 3 9-15 15. Totals -- 12 23-33 49.

3-point goals -- Kenai 1 (Knudsen 1); Colony 2 (Quinn 1, Locke 1). Total fouls -- Kenai 23, Colony 14. Fouled out -- Edwards.

Wasilla 49, Soldotna 30

After getting off to a slow start, 6-foot-4 senior Brittney Kroon poured in 23 points to lead the Warriors past the Stars Friday.

Wasilla, the defending region champion, advanced to finals against Colony, while Soldotna fell into a consolation game against Palmer.

The Stars managed to stick with the Warriors, the No. 2-ranked Class 4A team in the state, early. Jennifer Senette nailed a jumper to cut Wasilla's lead to 15-11 with 5:12 left in the second quarter.

But with 4:00 left until the half, Wasilla sophomore Chandice Cronk drew the third foul on 6-foot-2 Rachel Besse. Until that point, Besse had held Kroon to four points.

"That was a huge point in the game," Soldotna coach Mark Tuter said. "It kind of got Brittney going. Once she got going, she was tough to stop."

Cronk, Wasilla's sharpshooting sophomore, had a relatively quiet evening from the floor, hitting nine points. But Wasilla coach Jeannie Hebert gave credit to Cronk for following Wasilla's game plan of getting Besse in foul trouble.

Cronk drew two of the early fouls on Besse, and on both it was apparent her intent was not to make an earnest attempt at the basket, but to get Besse in the air and draw the foul.

"She did an excellent job of following the game plan," Hebert said of Cronk. "Not only did she get those two fouls, but she kept passing the ball into the paint."

With Besse out, Kroon scored seven points before the end of the half as Wasilla increased its lead to 26-17.

With Besse back in the beginning of the second half, but not wanting to pick up a fourth foul, Kroon scored six points as Wasilla started the half on an 8-0 run to push its lead to 34-17. Soldotna would never threaten after that.

Soldotna had problems with offensive droughts throughout the game, and during the first five minutes of the second half the Stars were 0-for-6 from the floor with four turnovers.

"We'd go for long stretches without scoring, and that hurts against a team like Wasilla that can score consistently," Tuter said. "Of course, it's a lot easier to score consistently when you've got a player like Brittney Kroon."

Marsha Schirack chipped in 13 points for the Warriors. Many of those points came on short jumpers and layups that were a result of Soldotna paying attention to Kroon.

Hillary Zobeck paced Soldotna with 11 points.

WARRIORS 49, STARS 30

Soldotna 7 10 8 5 --30

Wasilla 11 15 13 10 --49

SOLDOTNA (30) -- A. Penner 0 0-0 0, Senette 3 0-0 7, Wolfe 1 0-0 2, Christensen 1 0-0 3, Besse 1 0-0 2, S. Penner 0 0-0 0, Syverson 2 0-0 5, Tabor 0 0-0 0, Zobeck 4 3-3 11, Breakfield 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 12 3-3 20.

WASILLA (49) -- James 0 0-0 0, Tompkins 0 0-0 0, Schirack 6 1-2 13, Cronk 2 4-4 9, Lund 0 0-0 0, Hayes 2 0-0 4, Egger 0 0-0 0, Kroon 10 3-4 23.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 3 (Senette, Christensen, Syverson); Wasilla 1 (Cronk 1). Total fouls -- Soldotna 11, Wasilla 6. Fouled out -- none.

Palmer 45, Skyview 37

The Panthers fought back from a 13-1 deficit after the first quarter, but never were able to overtake the Moose.

Skyview ended its season with a 5-19 record, while Palmer moved on to face Soldotna in the consolation bracket.

"When you get down 13-1, you're forced to play catchup," Skyview coach Joe Trujillo said. "That takes a lot of energy.

"We got to within three points, but we could never catch them."

Chrissy Lien paced Palmer with 14 points, while Sara Bergeron added 13 points. For Skyview, Christina Colvin had 10 points.

Skyview is an extremely young team, with no seniors listed on its roster.'

"If the kids dedicate themselves over the next 12 months to improving not individually, but as a team, they could be a force to contend with next season," Trujillo said.

MOOSE 45, PANTHERS 37

Palmer 13 8 11 13 --45

Skyview 1 11 11 14 --37

PALMER (45) -- Cox 0 0-0 0, Azure 2 0-2 4, Chapman 1 0-0 2, Hooker 1 1-1 3, Lien 5 4-8 14, Johnson 1 0-0 3, Bolling 1 2-4 4, Bergeron 5 3-4 13, Harger 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 17 10-19 45.

SKYVIEW (37) -- Verba 0 3-3 3, Beever 0 0-0 0, Faigle 0 1-2 1, Gephardt 1 3-5 5, Colvin 3 4-5 10, Carpenter 2 0-2 4, Fay 2 3-3 7, Creel 3 0-0 7. Totals -- 11 14-20 37.

3-point goals -- Palmer 1 (Johnson 1); Skyview 1 (Creel 1). Total fouls -- Palmer 21, Skyview 18. Fouled out -- none.

Kodiak 51, Homer 35

The Bears overcame a 12-4 deficit after the first quarter to defeat the Mariners Friday.

Homer ended its season with a 7-17 record, while Kodiak moved on to a consolation game with Kenai.

The Bears made their big push in the third quarter, when they outscored Homer 29-8.

Libby Rietze paced Kodiak with 13 points, while Amanda Morawitz had nine points to lead Homer.

BEARS 51, MARINERS 35

Kodiak 4 8 29 10 --51

Homer 12 4 8 11 --35

KODIAK (51) -- Cassidy 0 1-2 1, Gutierrez 0 0-0 0, Brown 2 1-2 5, M. Swartout 2 1-3 5, Murdock 0 0-3 0, J. Swartout 1 1-2 3, Cowley 3 2-4 8, Bundy 0 0-0 0, Arndt 0 0-0 0, Rietze 6 1-3 13, Donaldson 0 1-2 1, Withrow 7 1-2 15. Totals -- 21 9-23 51.

HOMER (35) -- Crandall 1 1-4 3, Thompson 1 1-2 3, Sinnhuber 1 5-6 7, Cousins 3 1-10 7, Lightcap 0 2-4 2, Morawitz 2 5-7 9, Smith 0 1-2 1, Jolly 1 1-2 3. Totals -- 9 17-37 35.

3-point goals -- Kodiak 0; Homer 0. Total fouls -- Kodiak 26, Homer 21. Fouled out -- Crandall, Thompson, Morawitz.



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