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Thriller

Ninilchik wins opener in OT

Posted: Friday, March 26, 2004

The Ninilchik girls basketball team defeated Point Hope 48-44 in overtime in the first round of the Class 2A state basketball tournament Thursday at Service High School in Anchorage.

The Wolverines move on to today's semifinals, where they will face Skagway at 8:30 p.m. at Service. Ninilchik defeated Skagway 32-27 in late February at the Tok Tournament.

Thursday's game featured two of the top Class 2A programs in the state and lived up to expectations. Together, the two have won eight of the last 10 state titles, with Ninilchik winning six, including the last four, and Point Hope winning two.

Ninilchik (23-1 overall) appeared to have Thursday's game under control when Amanda Matson, who finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds and six assists, hit a pair of free throws with 1:24 remaining in regulation to give the Wolverines a 42-36 lead.

However, Ruth Maggie Lane came down and nailed a 3-pointer for Point Hope. The Harpoonerettes then got a steal and a quick layup to cut Ninilchik's lead to 42-41 with 55 seconds left.

The Wolverines turned the ball over again with 33 seconds left, but Katie Moerlein stole the ball for Ninilchik and was fouled with 8 seconds left.

Moerlein missed the front end of the bonus, then fouled Point Hope's Esther Kingik. Kingik made one of two from the line to send the game to overtime.

In the overtime, Ninilchik jumped on top when Matson hit a layup and Amanda Peterson hit a free throw for a 45-42 lead.

Kingik hit a layup with 2:25 left, but then Ninilchik's defense dug in and didn't allow a point the rest of the game.

Mindy Dawson had a free throw with 1:35 left to make it 46-44, then Peterson added a layup with a minute remaining.

The game started close, with Point Hope taking a 12-10 lead after the first quarter. In the second quarter, Ninilchik's quick pace got to the Harpoonerettes, and the Wolverines took a 28-19 lead into the locker room. Kendra Moerlein had 11 of her 13 points in the first half for Ninilchik.

In the second half, Point Hope settled down and hung around until the last-minute spurt tied the game. The Harpoonerettes managed to shoot 52 percent from the floor for the game.

Matson was huge for the Wolverines late. She didn't score at all in the first half, then scored all 14 of her points in the second half and overtime. Cassandra Nashookpuk had 11 points to pace Point Hope, while Lane and Ruth Nash each added 10 points.

WOLVERINES 48, HARPOONERETTES 44, OT

Point Hope 12 7 9 14 2 --44

Ninilchik 10 18 6 8 6 --48

POINT HOPE (44) -- Nashookpuk 3 4-8 11, R. Lane 4 0-0 10, Nash 5 0-0 10, Omnik 0 0-0 0, Kingik 1 1-2 3, T. Frankson 4 1-3 9, Timothy 0 0-0 0, Oktollik 0 0-0 0, H. Frankson 0 0-0 0, A. Lane 0 1-2 1, Johnson 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 17 7-15 44.

NINILCHIK (48) -- Peterson 1 2-4 4, Ka. Moerlein 1 2-3 4, Leman 0 0-0 0, Wolford 1 0-0 3, Matson 5 4-5 14, Ke. Moerlein 6 1-2 13, Wood 2 0-0 5, Erikson 1 0-0 2, Dawson 1 1-2 3. Totals -- 18 10-16 48.

3-point goals -- Point Hope 3 (Lane 2, Nashookpuk 1); Ninilchik 2 (Wolford 1, Wood 1). Team fouls -- Point Hope 17, Ninilchik 17. Fouled out -- Timothy, Wood.



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