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Stars wrap up 4th at Tip-Off

Posted: Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Stars kept shooting, and the lead kept shrinking. But when the final whistle blew, the comeback was incomplete.

The Soldotna boys basketball team nearly erased a 23-point deficit before falling to Mt. Edgecumbe 69-64 in the game for third and fourth place Saturday afternoon at the 2010 Powerade/Al Howard Tip-Off Tournament before a home crowd at Soldotna.

Peninsula schools Homer, Nikiski and Kenai Central also competed in the three-day event. The Bulldogs placed sixth after falling 49-36 to Grace Christian on Saturday, while the Kardinals took seventh thanks to a 57-45 win over Homer the same day.

After falling behind 39-22 at halftime and going down 57-34 late in the third quarter against the Braves, SoHi caught fire from 3-point range.

They opened the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run to slash the margin from 21 to 11, then cut the lead to three with 40 seconds to play after a barrage of 3-pointers.

Evan Withrow hit four from long-distance in the fourth, hitting from the right wing to cut the lead to 67-64 with 40 seconds remaining.

Sean Melovidov's pair of free throws with 15 seconds left gave the Braves a 69-64 cushion.

The Stars wouldn't score again.

"They showed good heart coming back in that second half," SoHi coach Matthew Johnson said. "But we needed to come out of the gates a little better."

SoHi put itself in a deep hole from the beginning, struggling to handle the Braves press defense and falling behind 16-4 after the first quarter. The lead ballooned to as many as 23 in the second, when the Braves took a 36-13 lead, thanks to Savian Waters' 15 first-half points.

The Stars, a quick team, were sluggish through 16 minutes.

"The energy from the starters was really flat to start the game," Johnson said.

The lead remained around 20 well into the third quarter. That's when the Stars found their stroke from the 3-point line.

SoHi finished with 10 treys on the game, led by Withrow's four. Tanner Fowler hit three from long range, while Robbie Smithwick hit two.

It was an exciting finish to a competitive eight-team tournament in which the Stars finished 1-2. After an opening round win against Grace Christian on Thursday, SoHi lost a 51-50 thriller against Ketchikan on Friday. That loss put them in the game for third and fourth place.

Johnson expected it to be a difficult tournament given the level competition and the fact it's so early in the season.

"Coming in, I knew it wasn't going to be smooth sailing," he said. "There were going to be lumps along the way. But our guys responded to adversity well."

Grizzles 49, Bulldogs 36

Nikiski wrapped up the tournament with a 49-36 loss against Grace Christian on Saturday, falling behind by 12 at halftime.

Lucas Herrin led the way with 14 points and Sam Taylor added 10 for the Bulldogs, who defeated Kenai Central 44-39 in a consolation game Friday.

Kardinals 57, Mariners 45

Kenai Central avoided a last-place finish and picked up its lone win of the tournament with a 57-45 victory Saturday over Homer.

AJ Hull paced the Kards with 14 points, while Kai Risung added 13. Every Kenai Central player scored at least a point, something coach Ken Felchle said has never happened during his tenure at the school.

Homer's Dyllan Day led all scorers with 15, including three 3-pointers.

Saturday boys

Braves 69, Stars 64

Mt. Edgecumbe 16 23 18 12 --69

Soldotna 4 18 14 28 --64

MT. EDGECUMBE (69) -- Waters 7 3-4 22, Sherman 1 1-2 3, Ivanhoff 0 0-0 0, Morry 2 0-0 4, Melovidov 4 4-4 12, Williams 6 1-5 13, Frankson 0 0-0 0, Hall 3 2-2 9, Green 2 2-3 6. Totals -- 25 13-20 69.

SOLDOTNA (64) -- Hallford 0 0-0 0, Schneider 3 0-0 6, Jackson 3 0-0 6, Carver 1 0-0 3, Bates 0 0-0 0, Skjold 3 0-0 6, Smithwick 2 0-0 6, Withrow 8 0-2 20, Fowler 3 0-0 9, Bosick 2 0-0 4, Barkman 0 0-0 0.

3-point field goals -- Mt. Edgecumbe 6 (Waters 5, Hall), Soldotna 10 (Withrow 4, Fowler 3, Smithwick 2, Carver). Team fouls -- Mt. Edgecumbe 9, Sodotna 17. Fouled out -- none.

Grizzles 49, Bulldogs 36

Grace 16 11 6 16 --49

Nikiski 8 7 7 14 --36

GRACE -- Not reported

NIKISKI (36) -- Herrin 14, Gomez 0, Taylor 10, Johnson 0, Carstens 0, Anderson 6, Covery 0, Griffith 0, Krongseng 5, Hartley 1, Parrish 0, Taylor 0. Totals -- 49.

3-point field goals -- Niksiki 5 (Anderson 2, Herrin, Taylor, Krogseng). Team fouls -- Nikiski 13. Fouled out -- none.

Kardinals 57, Mariners 45

Homer 14 4 8 19 --45

Kenai Central 20 11 12 14 --57

HOMER (45) -- Day 15, Glosser 13, Jester 7, Moyer 6, Johnson 4, Kennelty 4. Totals -- 45.

KENAI CENTRAL (57) -- Hull 14, Risung 13, Spalding 9, Reilly 9, Sandahl 3, Hayes 2, Landry 2, Glidden 2. Totals -- 57.

3-point field goals -- Homer 4 (Day 3, Glosser), Kenai Central 2 (Reilly, Sandahl). Team fouls -- Homer 17, Kenai Central 19. Fouled out -- Kennelty.



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