If the high school basketball season were a series of family portraits, the annual Kenai Peninsula All-Star Games would be the goof-off picture at the end where players simply do whatever they want.
This year's rendition of the games, played Thursday at Soldotna High School, offered up the usual wacky refs, overly animated guest coaches, 4-point shots and too-many-players-on-the-floor gag.
"It was so much fun," said Homer senior Chantrelle Cousins. "I got to do things in this game you can't do during the season, like dribble in all the time.
"I just threw up things I would have been benched for."
Cousins helped lead the Light team to victory with her 13 points. Others in double figures for the Light force were Skyview senior Sara Garrant with 12 points and Seward senior Breanna Bardarson with 18 points.
"It was just fun playing against my friends today," Bardarson said. "And my rivals were now my teammates."
The Light squad controlled the contest, taking a 36-24 lead at the half.
But, like in pro wrestling, there always has to be a dramatic outcome of these all-star games.
Aided by a number of beneficial calls from the referees, including a 4-point shot by Homer senior Skya McKinstry with continuation, the Dark side stormed back in the final minute only to come up a point short.
"I was kind of like, 'Hey, what's going on?'" Bardarson said of the questionable calls in the final minute. "Then the refs told us they wanted it to be a close game.
"It really doesn't matter because this wasn't for competition."
McKinstry led all scorers with 22 points.
"It was probably because this was not an important game," McKinstry said of her scoring prowess. "I just felt a lot more comfortable."
McKinstry made her first shot from beyond the 3-point arc all year in the game, but the real long-range shooting honors belonged to Skyview senior Amanda Fay and Kenai senior Breezy Saltzgiver. Playing for the Dark side, both Fay and Saltzgiver hit a game-high three 3-pointers to roll up 13 points apiece.
The boys game, won by the Dark side 112-110, offered up all the fun of the girls game, only Skyview senior Kaleb Shields and Homer senior Llosh Winne added some dunks.
Cook Inlet Academy senior Kyle Nettles had 22 points to pace the Dark side. He had six 3-pointers in the game, many coming from far behind the 3-point arc.
Others in double figures for Dark were Homer senior Steven Golson with 12 points, Nikiski senior Ben Quesnel with 11 points and Skyview senior Andrew Smith, Winne, Ninilchik senior Jason Schollenberg and Nikiski senior Josh Boye with 10 points apiece.
For the Light side, Ninilchik senior Charles Pullium led all scorers with 23 points. Others in double figures were Homer senior Eric Szymoniak with 17 points, Nikiski senior Miles Jorgensen with 16 points, Shields with 16 points and Skyview senior Nathan Schmidt with 13 points.
DARK (112) Geoffrey Gemmell 5 0-0 12, Ryan Geller 3 0-0 6, Andrew Smith 5 0-0 10, Steven Golson 5 0-0 12, Llosh Winne 5 0-0 10, Jason Schollenberg 5 0-0 10, Vinny Kruzick 1 0-0 3, Kyle Nettles 8 0-0 22, Ben Quesnel 4 1-1 11, Josh Boye 4 0-0 10, Spencer Giles 0 0-0 0, Sam Banse 3 0-2 6. Totals 48 1-3 112.
Halftime score: Dark 58, Light 54.
DARK (68) Anjani Salonen 1 1-7 3, Skya McKinstry 8 4-7 22, Amanda Fay 5 0-0 13, Lindsay Gephardt 2 0-0 5, Amanda Matson 0 1-2 1, Breezy Saltzgiver 5 0-0 13, Amy Gruber 1 0-0 2, Emma Seigel 1 0-2 2, Jenni Regis 3 1-2 7. Totals 26 7-20 68.
Halftime score: Light 36, Dark 24.
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