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Kenai takes 1st at Challenge: Soldotna also finishes perfect at tourney, loses in tiebreaker

Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2010

A year after Mt. Edgecumbe defeated the Kenai Central girls basketball team to win the Atigun Inc./Powerade Kenai River Challenge, the Kardinals returned the favor.

Photo By Wesley Remmer
Photo By Wesley Remmer
Allie McGahan controls the ball for Kenai Central against Ketchikan on Friday at Kenai Central.

Raquel Young scored a game-high 15 points to lead Kenai Central past Mt. Edgecumbe 45-20 on the tournament's final day Saturday, capping a 3-0 weekend for the host Kards.

The Kards defeated Grace Christian 42-25 Thursday and Ketchikan 41-34 on Friday en route to the contest with Mt. Edgecumbe, which finished the three-day event 1-2 after winning it in 2009 thanks to a victory over Kenai Central on the tournament's final day.

Soldotna also went 3-0 from Thursday to Saturday, but the Kards won the title by virtue of a tiebreaker, allowing fewer points in the three games combined -- 79 to SoHi's 90.

"Just really proud of the girls," Kenai Central coach Stacia Rustad said. "They all stepped up. All the congratulations goes to them."

The Kards and Stars entered Saturday's games having both allowed 59 points over two games, meaning the champion wasn't determined until both squads had finished their third contest. The Stars defeated Ketchikan 53-31 in their finale, while the Kards delivered their best defensive performance of the tournament in yielding just 20 against the Braves.

That effort came on the heels of a victory Friday in which Rustad said the team lacked intensity, hustle and defensive pressure during the first half, before ramping it up over the final two quarters.

On Saturday, the Kards put it all together for 32 minutes.

"It was a lot of fun to watch from a coach's perspective," Rustad said. "We were a completely different team from Friday night to Saturday."

It wasn't a flawless weekend, but Kenai Central executed when it mattered most.

The Kards got their offense on track late in the fourth quarter after a sluggish first half against Ketchikan, pulling away for a seven-point win.

Young, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored 12 of her game-high 18 points over the final eight minutes after going scoreless in the second and third quarters.

She scored eight straight points to key a 10-2 Kenai Central run in the fourth, turning a 27-27 tie into an eight-point advantage.

"She struggled most of the game," Rustad said. "But when we needed baskets she came through for us."

The senior touched the ball on nearly every possession in the fourth quarter.

Carolyn Kiefer scored nine points, while Wensley added eight.

But it was Young who touched the ball nearly every possession late in the game, the Kards setting up their half-court offense around her.

"That's something we are trying to do all the time," Rustad said of getting Young the ball in the post.

Young wasn't the only post player who turned individual success into an undefeated showing for her team.

SoHi's Kaillee Skjold was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.

The sophomore scored a game-high 28 points to lead SoHi to a 70-30 victory over Grace Christian on Friday. She then poured in 27 in the finale against Ketchikan, finishing the tournament with an average of 22.7 a game. Her low was a 13-point effort in the Stars' 59-29 victory Thursday over Mt. Edgecumbe.

"She's a quality player," coach Mark Tuter said. "She can play inside, outside. She can dribble the ball, pass the ball. She makes coaches look pretty good at times."

Skjold appeared in midseason form Friday, tallying 22 first-half points against Grace Christian and helping her team build a commanding 42-17 lead it never relinquished.

The Stars were the aggressors on both ends of the floor, running much of their offense through Skjold while harassing the Grizzlies defensively with a full-court press.

And when Skjold wasn't scoring, she created chances for her teammates.

Jessie Duke, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored a combined 16 in the final two games, as did senior Kaili Sholin. Julie Litchfield and Becca Satathite posted seven apiece Friday.

"She sees the court and she's not afraid to give it up if she's not open," Tutor said of Skjold. "She's just a complete ballplayer."

Nikiski also competed, finishing 1-2 after a 47-42 win over Grace Christian on Saturday.

Makenzie Moore scored 24 against the Grizzlies, including four 3-pointers. She also scored a team-high 11 in a back-and-forth loss against Mt. Edgecumbe on Friday.

The young Bulldogs never trailed by more than seven against the Braves, who hit key shots late in the game to hold on 47-41.

Coach Lee Moore said the focus this early in the season isn't so much about winning, but improving.

"The No. 1 thing we always preach is, 'Get better, get better,'" Moore said. "We ask them to give 100 percent effort all the time, to go and go and go."

Friday girls

Stars 70, Grizzlies 30

Grace 9 8 6 7 --30

Soldotna 22 20 18 10 --70

GRACE (30) -- Dupea 2 2-2 6, H. Johnson 0 1-2 1, S. Johnson 0 0-0 0, Fredrickson 3 0-0 9, Todd 2 0-0 4, Eckmann 0 0-0 0, Burroughs 2 0-1 4, Birky 1 0-0 2, Viergutz 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 9 3-5 30.

SOLDOTNA (70) -- Kress 0 0-0 0, Benson 2 0-0 4, Sholin 4 0-2 8, Litchfield 3 1-2 7, Munn 0 2-2 2, Skjold 12 4-6 28, Hutchings 0 0-0 0, Duke 3 4-4 10, Westerman 2 0-0 4, Smith 0 0-0 0, Satathite 2 3-4 7. Totals - 28 14-20 70.

3-point goals -- Grace 3 (Fredrickson 3). Total fouls - Soldotna 10, Grace 18. Fouled out - Todd.

Kardinals 41, Kings 34

Ketchikan 6 5 10 13 --34

Kenai Central 12 3 9 17 --41

KETCHIKAN (34) -- Shells 4 0-2 10, Christensen 0 0-0 0, Barajas 0 0-0 0, Porter 0 0-0 0, Doherty 6 2-4 15, Lindgren 0 0-0 0, Carson 1 2-2 4, Ortiz 1 0-0 2, Albertson 1 0-0 3, Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 13 4-8 34.

KENAI CENTRAL (41) -- Sandahl 0 0-0 0, McGahan 1 1-3 3, Beeson 0 0-0 0, Kiefer 3 3-4 9, Chay 0 0-0 0, Dunlap 1 0-1 3, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Glonek 0-0 0, Kelly 0 0-0 0, Wensley 3 0-0 8, Jackman 0 0-0 0, Young 8 2-4 18. Totals -- 16 6-12 41.

3-point goals -- Kenai Central 3 (Wensley 2, Dunlap), Ketchikan 4 (Sells 2, Doherty, Albertson). Total fouls - Kenai Central 13, Ketchikan 11.

Braves 47, Bulldogs 41

Mt. Edgecumbe 14 7 15 11 --47

Nikiski 8 13 12 6 --41

MT. EDGECUMBE (47) -- Beaver 6 0-1 18, Kashevarof 0 0-2 0, Hale 2 0-0 4, Simon 0 2-2 2, Demonski 0 0-0 0, Tittle 2 1-2 5, Martin 0 0-0 0, K. Johanson 2 0-5 4, B. Johanson 7 0-0 14. Totals -- 19 3-12 47.

NIKISKI (41) -- Griffel 1 1-2 4, D. Holloway 4 0-0 8, Dixon 0 0-0 0, T. Holloway 0 2-2 2, Tuttle 1 0-0 2, Parish 4 2-3 10, Moore 4 0-0 11, Martin 0 0-0 0, Wallis 2 0-0 4. Totals -- 16 5-7 41.

3-point field goals -- Mt. Edgecumbe 3 (Beaver 3), Nikiski 4 (Moore 3, Griffel). Team fouls -- Mt. Edgecumbe 11, Nikiski 11.

Saturday girls

Bulldogs 46, Grizzlies 42

Grace 8 21 6 7 --42

Nikiski 10 13 14 9 --46

GRACE CHRISTIAN (42) -- Dupea 1 0-1 2, H. Johnson 1 0-0 2, S. Johnson 0 0-0 0, Fredrickson 4 4-6 13, Todd 2 0-1 4, Eckmann 0 0-0 0, Burroughs 2 2-6 6, Birky 1 1-2 3, Viergutz 5 0-0 12. Totals -- 16 7-16 42.

NIKISKI (46) -- Griffel 3 0-0 7, D. Holloway 1 0-0 2, Dixon 0 0-1 0, T. Holloway 0 2-2 2, Tuttle 2 0-0 4, Parish 0 0-0 0, Moore 8 4-4 24, Martin 2 0-0 4, Wallis 1 1-2 3. Totals -- 17 7-9 46.

3-point goals -- Grace 4 (Viergutz 3, Fredrickson 1); Nikiski 5 (Moore 4, Griffel 1). Team fouls -- Grace 16, Nikiski 16. Fouled out -- none.

Stars 53, Kings 31

Ketchikan 7 8 6 10 --31

Soldotna 15 5 21 12 --53

KETCHIKAN (31) -- Sels 3 0-0 8, Christensen 2 0-0 4, Barajas 0 0-0 0, Porter 2 0-0 4, Doherty 0 6-11 6, Lindgren 1 0-0 2, Carson 1 3-4 5, Ortiz 1 0-0 2, Albertson 0 0-0 0, Brown 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 10 9-15 31.

SOLDOTNA (53) -- Kress 0 0-0 0, Benson 2 1-2 5, Sholin 2 4-6 8, Litchfield 0 0-0 0, Munn 1 0-0 2, Skjold 11 5-9 27, Hutchings 0 0-0 0, Duke 2 2-6 6, Westerman 0 0-0 0, Satathite 1 3-4 5. Totals -- 19 15-27 53.

3-point goals -- Ketchikan 2 (Sells 2). Team fouls -- Ketchikan 17, Soldotna 17. Fouled out -- Doherty, Satathite.

Kardinals 45, Braves 20

Mt. Edgecumbe 5 2 7 6 --20

Kenai Central 16 8 10 11 --45

MT. EDGECUMBE (20) -- Beaver 2 0-0 4, Kashevarof 0 0-0 0, Hale 3 0-0 8, Simon 2 0-0 4, Demoski 0 0-0 0, Martin 1 0-0 2, K. Johanson 0 2-2 2, B. Johanson 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 8 2-2 20.

KENAI CENTRAL (45) -- Sandahl 1 0-0 2, McGahan 1 1-4 3, Kiefer 3 0-0 6, Chay 1 1-1 3, Dunlap 2 0-0 4, Garcia 0 0-0 0, Glonek 0 0-0 0, Kelley 0 0-0 0, Wensley 2 0-0 4, Jackman 3 2-2 8, Young 6 3-4 15. Totals -- 19 7-11 45.

3-point goals -- Mt. Edgecumbe 2 (Hale 2). Team fouls -- Mt. Edgecumbe 11, Kenai Central 7. Team fouls -- none.



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