For the second time in as many games, the Cook Inlet Academy boys basketball team turned a quick start into a double-digit victory.
The Eagles jumped out to a 14-1 lead and never relinquished it, defeating Ninilchik 60-42 in the first round of the Cook Inlet Classic Thursday night on their home floor.
With the win, Cook Inlet moved to 2-0 after opening the season with a 10-point win over Class 3A Nikiski last week. The Eagles scored 14 of the first 16 in that game.
"We executed on offense and worked hard on defense," Cook Inlet coach Justin Franchino said of the opening four minutes, which proved the difference despite the fact Ninilchik trimmed the lead to seven points midway through the quarter. "When they came back it's because we stopped doing those things."
The Eagles did enough to hold off the Wolverines, using a 14-2 spurt at the end of the first and into the second to build a comfortable cushion.
With a 17-point lead at halftime, Franchino told his players to focus on their intensity, not the score.
The Eagles listened.
Senior David Reischach finished with 21 points -- 13 in the second half -- and logged a solid defensive effort, guarding the Wolverines' big men in the absence of starting center Cody Munn, who was unavailable due to poor grades.
Each time the Eagles went on a run, Reischach had a hand in keying the rally.
"A couple of key stretches, he spurred us on," Franchino said. "He gave a lot of effort."
Teammate Matthew Moffis also posted 21 points, including 19 of the Eagles' 35 in the first half.
Despite missing Munn and being undersized in the low post, Cook Inlet kept Ninilchik's big men in check.
Forwards Sam Bennett and Jack Wheeler, both hovering around 6-foot-5, combined for 24 points. But neither took over the game, thanks in large part, Franchino said, to the efforts of Moffis and Reischach.
"They can guard with versatility," the coach said of the game's two high-scorers. "It was just a matter of them staying in front of their guy and boxing out."
The Eagles led by as many as 25 in the third and never allowed the Wolverines closer than 17.
It was the second consecutive victory for Cook Inlet over Ninilchik, the other coming in last year's conference championship game.
Although both squads experienced a large turnover during the offseason, Franchino said it's always an accomplishment to defeat the Wolverines.
"They don't like us very much," he said. "And we like to beat them up pretty good when we are out here, too."
The Eagles continue the classic against Bethel at at 2 p.m. today. Ninilchik faces the Soldotna junior varsity team at 5:30 p.m. Both games are at Cook Inlet.
Bethel 66, Soldotna JV 26
The Bethel varsity boys basketball squad steamrolled Soldotna's junior varsity team 66-26 in the first round of the Cook Inlet Classic Thursday at Cook Inlet Academy.
Bethel had three players score in double figures - Brodie Smith (23), Austin Miller (16) and Joey Glasheen (12).
Mitchell Daugherty and Colton Young scored eight apiece for the Stars, who face Ninilchik's varsity unit at 5:30 p.m. today. Bethel, meanwhile, faces Cook Inlet at 2 p.m.
Eagles 60, Wolverines 42
Ninilchik 10 7 9 16 --42
Cook Inlet 19 16 11 14 --60
Cook Inlet - J. Boudreaux 2, K. O'Dell 2, T. Solie 14, Z. Taplin 0, D. Reischach 21, B. Riley 0, M Moffis 21, R. Solie 0.
Ninilchik - C. Newman 0, B. Riley 8, U. Moto 2, T. Thorn 2, S. Bennett 12, J. Wheeler 12, E. Barber 2, J. Cooper 4.
3-point goals - Cook Inlet 2 (Reischach 1, Moffis 1), Ninilchik 1 (Riley). Total fouls - Cook Inlet 15, Ninilchik not reported. Fouled out - None.
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