The top senior high school basketball players from the Kenai Peninsula gathered at Skyview High School Thursday evening and put together an unprecedented display of shooting in the annual Senior All-Star Games.
The all-star girls played to a 79-79 tie as Homer's Lauren Trimble hit a pair of free throws with seconds left to secure the draw.
If the all-star girls burned down the barn, then the boys reduced the rest of the homestead to cinders with a 128-125 game, won by the designated visiting team.
"There was not a whole lot of defense, but it was a lot of fun," said Skyview's Dorian Heatherly after the boys game.
In fact, the only defense of the night may have been a rejection by Soldotna's Paul John Zobeck on a shot attempt by Nikiski's Jeremy Kouf with 4:58 left to play in the second half.
"The coach told us to do everything that, during the season, the coaches told us not to do," said Nikiski's Tiffany Cason after the girls game.
And it was probably a good thing that the head coaches were sitting in the stands for the game, nowhere near the team benches, because those players they had drilled all season did just that.
Kenai's Cory Hershberger had a rough start in the girls game, grabbing the ball off the opening tip, but almost immediately turning it over to Stephanie Arbelovsky, a Kardinals teammate during the regular season but an opponent in the all-star game.
"I just turned around, and saw all these colors," Hershberger said.
Players were wearing either their home or away uniforms, and while most of the away jerseys are dark blue or black, the home jerseys vary from white to yellow to gray.
"I recognized a face," Hershberger said of her pass to Arbelovsky. "Hey, it's OK. (Ninilchik's Theresa) Chihuly did it too. And that's not to cut her down -- she's an amazing player."
Hershberger did find her range, and it happened to be from downtown -- way downtown. The Kenai guard started hitting treys from distances that would have made NBA players think twice before shooting. She was even awarded four points for one of her bombs, and finished tied with Chihuly, the 2A/1A girls Player of the Year, as the game's high scorer with 23 points.
"I wouldn't call those 3s -- I'd call them prayers," Hershberger said.
Ninilchik's Tasha Leman netted 19 points and Nikiski's Maggie Kendall scored 12 points for the visiting girls team.
Homer's Sheena Cundiff scored 17 for the girls home team, while Stephanie Arno from the Community Christian School scored nine points.
The boys game started off at a breakneck pace and never slowed down. Zobeck netted the first two points of the game, but Kouf answered back just seconds later with a 3-pointer.
The boys teams combined for 29 3-pointers, as well as several spectacular dunks, and some even more spectacular attempts at dunks.
"It was what I was trying to do," said Nikiski's Jamie Queen. "(The coaches) just wanted us to go out and get dunks. I think there might have been a wager between the coaches for who got the first dunk."
Homer's Sean Haynes led all scorers in the boys game with 35 points, including five treys, though his home team all-stars wound up on the losing end of things.
Seward's Clint Draper knocked down 24 points for the home team, Zobeck finished with 21, and Scott Carlson from Nikiski finished 13 points, including a pair off a nifty feed from Nikolaevsk's Dimitry Martusheff.
"Shoot -- that's the funnest part," Haynes said of his team's game plan.
Kouf led the winning away team with 32 points, while Kenai's Willie Castillo netted 17, Skyview's Dan Davis hit for 16 and Cook Inlet Academy's Noah Shields hit for 12 points.
Heatherly got a chance to experience the other side of life late in the game when he traded in his game jersey for a striped shirt and a whistle.
Not to be outdone, referee Mike Travoli grabbed Heatherly's jersey and finished the game as a player -- even getting a last-second shot at a 3-pointer that would have tied the game, but the ball rimmed out.
"We got to know each other over the past few years and thought it would be fun," Heatherly said of his stint in stripes.
Thursday at Skyview high School
Home All-Stars 79, Away All-Stars 79
AWAY ALL-STARS (79) -- Tasha Leman 7 2-3 19, Lauren Trimble 2 4-8 8, Krystal Gifford 3 0-0 6, Stephanie Benner 1 0-0 2, Cory Hershberger 9 0-2 23, Maggie Kendall 5 1-2 12, Shannon Carlon 1 1-2 4, Corina Sullivan 1 0-0 3, Jessica Carr 2-3 2. Totals -- 29 10-20 79.
HOME ALL-STARS (79) -- Marcie Zimmerman 2 0-0 4, Stephanie Arbelovsky 3 0-0 6, Theresa Chihuly 10 3-5 23, Sheena Cundiff 7 2-2 17, Dayna Pritchard 1 5-8 7, Autumn Thurmond 0 0-0 0, Stephanie Arno 4 0-0 9, Crystal Stapel 3 1-2 7, Tiffany Cason 3 0-0 6. Totals -- 33 11-17 79.
Halftime score -- Home 43, Away 33. 3-point goals -- Away 9 (Leman 3, Hershberger 3, Kendall, Carlon, Sullivan), Home 2 (Cundiff, Arno). 4-point goals -- Away 1 (Hershberger).
Away All-Stars 128, Home All-Stars 125
AWAY ALL-STARS (128) -- Aaron Steiner 3 0-0 8, Willie Castillo 7 0-0 17, Jerrod Reynolds 1 0-0 3, Jeremy Kouf 13 0-1 32, Ryan Lewis 2 0-0 7, Josh Demske 3 0-1 6, Joel Reemtsma 6 2-6 14, Noah Shields 4 4-6 12, Blake Varnell 4 2-3 10, Dan Davis 6 0-2 16, Referee 2 0-0 2. Totals -- 51 8-20 128.
HOME ALL-STARS (125) -- Jamie Queen 4 0-2 8, Mike Garcia 2 0-0 4, Clint Draper 9 0-0 24, Dorian Heatherly 1 0-0 2, Dimitry Martusheff 1 0-0 2, Kevin Cleveland 0 0-0 0, Scott Carlson 5 2-2 13, Paul John Zobeck 8 4-6 21, Matt Brown 2 0-1 4, Sean Haynes 15 0-2 35, Brian Blankenship 4 0-4 12. Totals -- 51 6-15 125.
Halftime score -- Home 63, Away 54. 3-point goals -- Away 12 (Steiner 2, Kouf 3, Davis 4, Castillo, Reynolds, Lewis), Home 17 (Draper 6, Haynes 5, Blankenship 4, Carlson, Zobeck). 4-point goals -- Away 2 (Castillo, Lewis.
Peninsula Clarion ©2014. All Rights Reserved.