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Kenai, Soldotna come up short

Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2001

While the Kenai Central High School girls and the Soldotna boys were unable to notch a win at the Alaska School Activities Association State 4A Basketball Championships, both teams left the tournament with a feeling of accomplishment.

"It was a great experience to come up here and play -- and we had fun," said Soldotna's Mike Metteer. "Regions, everybody goes to that. To make it to state is pretty special and our team hasn't been here for a while."

The Stars dropped their Friday consolation-round game 61-46 to the Palmer Moose while the Kardinals lost their consolation game by two points, 34-32, to the Colony Knights.

"It's hard to lose two games, but it was definitely worthwhile," Metteer said.

Soldotna put together a solid first half against the Moose, taking a 25-22 lead into the locker room at the break.

The Moose overtook the Stars in the second half, though, shooting 55 percent from the floor while the Soldotna shooters cooled off from their first-half pace.

"We had a lot of penetration, good backdoor cuts and good passing," Metteer said. "In the second half, we laid off of that and that's when they came back."

"We played two tough games and had two good runs at it," Soldotna's Nick Christensen said.

Christensen scored 15 points for the Stars while Shaun Williams poured in 12 points.

"Just the experience of playing in the state tournament -- most people never get that chance," Christensen said. "When you get to state, everyone wants to win. Some of these teams -- like Kodiak -- might be a champion, but we've played them tough. We can hang with most teams in the state. We just couldn't put it all together here."

Soldotna's Pat Hardina said that just playing in the Sullivan Arena was a unique experience.

"It's the atmosphere," Hardina said. "There's a lot of people you're playing in front of that have never seen you play before. You want to leave them with something special."

The Kardinals would have liked to leave the state tournament with a victory to their credit.

"It was good to make it to state, but our coaches told us we shouldn't just be satisfied with that. We wanted to win games while we were here," said Kenai's Jamie Montgomery. "I wish we could have won a game to prove that we deserved to be here, that it wasn't a fluke."

Kenai held a 14-10 lead over Colony at the half, but the Knights went on an 11-6 run in the third quarter and wound up winning by two.

"It was a good game. I felt satisfied with it. We played hard, we just didn't get our shots to fall. Two points is hard to lose by," said Kenai senior Jessi Reilly. "The last time we came up here, my sophomore year, we lost by 20 both games -- that was hard. (This year) I felt like we could play with everybody."

Montgomery scored eight points for the Kardinals, as did teammate Erica Shinn. Reilly netted five points in her final game for the Kardinals.

"We worked very hard in both our games. That's what kept us in them," Montgomery said. "It just came down to some fundamental things."

Reilly said she expects the Kardinals to be back at the state tournament next season and that her teammates will use the experience from this year's tournament to their advantage.

"For them to be more successful next year, they had to come this year and get the jitters out," Reilly said.

Friday

MOOSE 61, STARS 46

Soldotna 15 10 9 12 -- 46

Palmer 9 13 17 22 -- 61

SOLDOTNA (46) -- Kelley 2 0-0 4, Williams 6 0-0 12, Simpson 0 0-0 0, Christensen 6 0-0 15, Hardina 0 0-0 0, Kiffmeyer 2 3-3 7, Zeyer 0 0-0 0, Metteer 2 2-2 6, Morris 1 0-2 2, Rose 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 19 5-7 46.

PALMER (61) -- Bentti 0 0-0 0, Rapp 0 0-0 0, Forsyth 1 0-0 2, Arcala 0 0-0 0, Pettit 4 1-4 9, Perkins 3 2-4 8, Hooker 8 7-12 23, Dubois 0 0-0 0, Nielsen 7 2-2 17, Bryant 1 0-0 2, Chapman 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 24 12-22 61.

3-point goals -- Soldotna 3 (Christensen), Palmer 1 (Nielsen). Total fouls -- Soldotna 16, Palmer 10. Fouled out -- none.

KNIGHTS 34, KARDINALS 32

Kenai 8 6 6 12 -- 32

Colony 4 6 11 13 -- 34

KENAI (32) -- Knudsen 0 3-4 3, Reilly 2 0-0 5, Montgomery 4 0-1 8, Edwards 1 0-0 2, Hall 1 0-0 2, Shinn 4 0-0 8, Erin Smith 1 0-0 2, Erica Smith 1 0-0 2. Totals -- 14 3-5 32.

COLONY (34) -- Colberg 0 0-0 0, Williams 0 0-0 0, Quinn 4 0-0 8, Menard 1 0-2 2, Thaggard 0 0-0 0, Beckman 4 4-5 12, Gatto 1 0-0 2, Klapperich 3 4-5 10, Murphy 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 13 8-12 34.

3-point goals -- Kenai 1 (Reilly), Colony 0. Total fouls -- Kenai 11, Colony 5. Fouled out -- none.



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