Eagles visit Wolverines

Ninilchik girls, CIA boys claw way to 2A victories

Posted: Sunday, March 19, 2000

The Ninilchik Elementary-High School gymnasium is cozy enough as it is. With barely two feet between the edge of the court and the first row of bleachers, fans have to wait for a timeout before stretching their legs, lest they trip up a fast break.

Add to that the Wolverine girls' in-your-face style of defense, and the setting becomes truly intimate.

The Ninilchik girls got up-close and personal with the Cook Inlet Academy Eagles Friday, finishing off the regular season with a 68-26 win in District 3/2A play.

The Cook Inlet Academy boys received the same attention from the host Wolverines, but the Eagles hit their shots early and hung on for a 64-53 win.

Three Ninilchik seniors were playing in their final home game for the Wolverine girls -- Theresa Chihuly, Corina Sullivan and Tasha Leman -- and their teammates sent them out in style.

Sullivan and Leman were able to find Chihuly both with long passes and short dishes, and Chihuly responded by shooting 12-for-14 from the floor and 2-for-2 from the foul line to finish with 26 points.

"We run a lot of open offenses, so there's a lot of cutters," Chihuly said. "I'm the one cutting most of the time."

Leman got her share of shots to drop, netting 15 points, including the only 3-pointer of the game. Sullivan scored a pair of baskets to finish with four points, but she said at least two of those points would be memorable.

"She had a really nice post-up move," Chihuly said of her teammate.

"That was a shocker," Sullivan said of finding herself with the ball in an unfamiliar position. "I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. I don't think I've ever done that in a game before."

Things started well enough for Cook Inlet Academy. The Eagles were able to work the ball into the post for Sara McLeod to get a pair of baskets, and Mandy Evans hit a pair of buckets.

The Eagles offense started to break down under Ninilchik's full-court press and half-court trap, though, and the Wolverines were able to score fast break baskets off of turnovers.

"When things go wrong, revert to defense," Leman said, reciting coach Dan Leman's mantra.

"Defensively, we were real solid," coach Leman said. "We had a real nice game passing. That's one thing we've been working really hard on -- moving the ball with less dribbling."

The Cook Inlet Academy boys were able to move the ball well early on in their win over Ninilchik.

Calder Hillyer led all scorers with 23 points for the Eagles, including three 3-pointers. If Noah Shields (12 points) or Eric Minelga (15 points) couldn't find some space in the paint, Hillyer always seemed to be open somewhere on the perimeter.

"We wanted to get our shooters open to hit some shots before their legs got tired," said CIA coach Tim Keener. "You've got to hand it to Calder. He's been playing like that all season."

The Eagles led 33-21 at the half and extended their advantage in the third quarter. CIA was up by 18, 53-35, before the Wolverines made a late run.

"We learned we can play with them if we play smart," said Ninilchik boys coach Bernie Clark, "Sometimes, they have to play deep into a game before they figure it out."

The Wolverines stiffened defensively in the final quarter, and pulled to within seven points of the Eagles down the stretch. Buck Kvasnikoff scored eight of his team-high 16 points for the Wolverines in the fourth quarter and Ninilchik outscored CIA 32-31 in the second half.

"(At halftime) we talked about getting off the ball, and we decided to step it up," said Kevin Cleveland, one of three Wolverine senior boys playing in their final home game for Ninilchik.

"I think we outplayed them in the second half."

The Woverine press began forcing the Eagles into some bad decisions with the ball, helping Ninilchik narrow the gap.

"We had trouble getting the ball up the court against their full-court press," Keener said. "I was pleased with my guys, too, because they answered."

Ninilchik seniors Noah George (13 points) and Jacob Bell were also playing in the final home game of their careers.

"I felt good about it," Cleveland said. "I'm looking forward to seeing (CIA) again at regions."


Cook Inlet Academy 8 8 6 4 --26

Ninilchik 21 19 12 18 --68

COOK INLET ACADEMY (26) -- Hillyer 2 3-4 7, T. Reese 1 2-2 4, Leiter 0 0-0 0, C. Reese 1 2-2 4, McLeod 3 1-2 7, Hall 0 0-0 0, Evans 2 0-1 4. Totals -- 9 8-11 26.

NINILCHIK (68) -- T. Leman 6 2-3 15, Hansen 0 0-0 0, W. Leman 2 3-7 7, Russo 2 2-2 6, Chihuly 12 2-2 26, Moerlein 0 0-0 0, Bosick 4 2-4 10, B. Leman 0 0-0 0, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Deiman 0 0-0 0, Sullivan 2 0-0 4, Goodwin 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 28 11-18 68.

3-point goals -- Nin 1 (T. Leman). Total fouls -- CIA 15, Nin 13. Fouled out -- none.


Cook Inlet Academy 15 18 20 11 --64

Ninilchik 11 10 14 18 --53

COOK INLET ACADEMY (64) -- Staton 0 2-3 2, Franchino 5 1-4 12, Barry 0 0-0 0, Hillyer 10 0-0 23, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Shields 4 4-9 12, Minelga 6 3-3 15. Totals -- 25 10-19 64.

NINILCHIK (53) -- Miller 2 0-2 4, Bock 0 0-0 0, Smith 2 0-0 4, Boyle 0 0-0 0, Cleveland 4 2-2 10, George 5 3-6 13, Ball 0 0-0 0, Hostetter 3 0-0 6, Kvasnikoff 6 1-2 16. Totals -- 21 6-12 53.

3-point goals -- CIA 4 (Hillyer 3, Franchino), Nin 3 (Kvasnikoff 3). Total fouls -- CIA 12, Nin 20. Fouled out -- none.

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