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Kenai girls extend season by placing third

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

Second chances don't come often. So when they do, it's best to capitalize on them.

That's what the Kenai Central girls basketball team did Saturday at Skyview High School by beating Soldotna 37-26 and claiming third place in the Region III/4A tournament. The win earned the team the final berth into the state championship tournament next week at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

The other two berths were taken by Wasilla and Colony. The Warriors defeated the Knights 61-39 Saturday for the region championship.

"Last night (Jim) Beeson told us we had a second chance," said Kenai guard Karli Knudsen after the game. "He said you never let those get away from you."

After losing to Colony Friday night by three points, the Kards opened up against the Stars lacking enthusiasm. Midway through the first period, Soldotna was up, 9-2. But after a Soldotna turnover and three consecutive buckets from Knudsen -- including a 3-pointer to lead the charge -- the Kardinals were back in the game, tied at nine.

"We just got off to such a terrible start," Beeson said. "But our kids didn't panic and we came back."

The second quarter became a volley of play as the ball ping-ponged back and forth between both sides, neither being able to penetrate the other's defensive schemes to much success. Soldotna's Rachel Besse closed down much of Kenai's inside game, turning up four blocks in the period to add to her game total of seven.

Kenai only allowed the Stars six points during the period, and Soldotna obliged the Kardinals by granting them only four points, ending the half with the Stars up 15-13.

But Soldotna was able to do little else following the intermission. Three Hillary Zobeck free throws were all the Stars were able to muster in the third quarter. Zobeck led the Stars in scoring with 11 points.

"We just went cold," said Soldotna head coach Mark Tuter. "We had 10, 11 point-blank shots. They just didn't fall. If we had just half of that, it would be a different game."

Kenai's defense clamped down on the Stars, holding them to just two points from the field in the second half, while adding 11 points during the third quarter and another 13 in the fourth.

"When we give up one basket in the second half, that's a testament to how we play basketball," Beeson said. "Defense is one thing we emphasize."

Tuter said Kenai played a good game in spite of attempts to shut down speedy Kardinals guard Jamie Montgomery by setting up a zone defense around Besse.

"We tried to funnel everything into her (Besse)," Tuter said. "We tried to control Montgomery so she wouldn't slash on us. But you knew they weren't going to quit."

Montgomery gave accolades to her teammates in the post for rising to the occasion in the absence of injured center Erica Shinn.

"Annie (Hall), Erin (Smith) and Michelle (Edwards) stepped it up in the post," Montgomery said.

Beeson credited much of the win to Montgomery, who led all scores with 12 points.

"Jamie just put the team on her shoulders and said, 'We're not going to lose,'" Beeson said. "She's a great competitor and a great kid."

KARDINALS 37, STARS 26

Kenai 9 4 11 13 -- 37

Soldotna 9 6 3 8 -- 26

SOLDOTNA (26) -- Senette 0 3-4 3, Wolfe 1 0-0 2, Christensen 0 0-0 0, Besse 2-3-4 7, S. Penner 0 1-2 1, Syverson 0 0-0 0, Zobeck 4 3-4 11, Breakfield 1 0-0 1. Totals -- 8 10-14 26.

KENAI (37) -- Knudsen 3 2-6 9, Montgomery 2 8-12 12, Goggia 1 0-0 2, Edwards 1 0-0 2, McLeod 0 0-0 0, Smith 1 4-8 6. Totals -- 11 14-26 37.

3-point goals -- Kenai 1 (Knudsen). Total fouls -- Soldotna 15, Kenai 14. Fouled out -- none.

Wasilla 61, Colony 39

For the third straight year, Colony and Wasilla met in the championship game. For the second straight year, the Warriors came out on top.

Wasilla relied on its potent inside-outside combination of 6-foot-4 post player Brittney Kroon, who had 15 points, and sophomore sharpshooter Chandice Cronk, who led all scorers with 27 points.

The Warriors also continued to play solid defense, allowing Colony just 21 points through three quarters.

Colony senior Kelly Quinn had 26 of her team's 39 points.

WARRIORS 61, KNIGHTS 39

Colony 8 7 6 18 --39

Wasilla 12 16 20 13 --61

COLONY (39) -- Colberg 0 2-2 2, Williams 0 0-1 0, Quinn 10 4-7 26, Menard 0 0-0 0, Thaggard 2 0-2 6, Beckman 0 0-0 0, Locke 1 1-2 3, Morris 0 0-0 0, Klapperich 0 2-4 2, Dault 0 0-1 0. Totals -- 13 9-19 39.

WASILLA (61) -- Bulawa 0 0-0 0, James 1 0-0 3, Thompkins 2 1-2 6, Schirack 3 0-0 6, Cronk 8 9-10 27, Lund 0 0-0 0, Hayes 1 1-2 4, Egger 0 0-2 0, Kroon 6 3-5 15, Mayse 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 21 14-21 61.

3-point goals -- Colony 4 (Quinn 2, Thaggard 2); Wasilla 5 (Cronk 2, James 1, Thompkins 1, Hayes 1). Total fouls -- Colony 23, Wasilla 16. Fouled out -- Quinn.

Kenai 67, Kodiak 47

The Kardinals were able to shift into high gear early, outscoring the Bears 24-5 in the first quarter in the consolation semifinal.Karli Knudsen led the Kardinals with 16 points while Jamie Montgomery scored 10 of her 12 points in the first quarter. Annie Withrow led the Bears with 17 points.

KARDINALS 67, BEARS 47

Kenai 24 15 13 15 -- 67

Kodiak 5 10 15 17 -- 47

KENAI (67) -- Saltzgiver 2 1-3 5, Knudsen 6 4-6 16, Baldwin 2 3-4 7, Montgomery 5 2-2 12, Goggia 1 0-0 2, Popp 0 0-0 0, Edwards 4 0-0 8, McLeod 1 0-0 2, Hall 2 1-2 5, Smith 4 0-0 8, Hampton 0 0-0 0, Moore 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 28 11-17 67.

KODIAK (47) -- Cassidy 2 1-4 5, Brown 1 1-2 3, M. Swartout 3 0-0 7, Murdock 0 0-0 0, J. Swartout 3 2-2 10, Cowley 0 1-2 1, Rietze 1 0-0 2, Donaldson 1 0-0 2, Withrow 5 7-8 17. Totals -- 16 12-18 47.

3-point goals -- Kenai 0, Kodiak 3 (J. Swartout 2, M. Swartout). Total fouls -- Kenai 15, Kodiak 16. Fouled out -- M. Swartout.



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