Bulldogs blow past Seahawks

Nikiski boys, girls look sharp in district openers

Posted: Sunday, December 23, 2001

A bumpy road trip only got bumpier once the Seward basketball teams arrived in Nikiski Friday night.

After battling about 20 miles of washboard roads outside of Cooper Landing en route to the central peninsula, the Seward girls lost a 56-27 decision to the Bulldogs. The Seahawks boys followed that up by landing on the wrong end of a 74-32 decision.

It was the District 3/3A opener for the peninsula rivals.

"The game was rough," said Seward coach Rob Hassen, "but the trip over here was rougher."

Like the trip to Nikiski, the game against Nikiski didn't start too bad for the Seahawks boys. Behind six points apiece from David Holloway and Ryan Bowlin, Nikiski jumped out to a 14-6 after the first quarter.

However, Seward righted itself and cut the lead to 14-10 when Chance Humphrey nailed a jumper with 7:00 left in the first half. After that, the Bulldogs started to pull away gradually on big 3-pointers from Jeremiah Taylor, who would finish with 13 points, and John Rooper.

When Jason Gerke canned a trifecta to open the second half, the Bulldogs had a 32-18 edge. The Nikiski coaching staff said the 3-pointers were big, because once the Bulldogs opened the lead to 12, Seward couldn't keep attacking the press at a relaxed pace.

Once Seward tried to speed things up a little, turnovers ensued and the Bulldogs outscored the Seahawks 25-7 in the third quarter to take command of the game.

Hassen said the team's bread and butter is getting the ball inside, but with all the second-half turnovers, the loaf was seldom even getting removed from the oven.

"Nikiski had a great defensive game," Hassen said. "They were very effective forcing turnovers with their pressure."

Bulldogs coach Reid Kornstad stayed in a man-to-man press, with a few wrinkles, for three quarters.

"That's our game -- to pressure you," Kornstad said. "My boys did a good job with that tonight.

"At the same time, we still have to get better."

Kornstad, whose team is off to a 4-1 start, said he is emphasizing to the group that it must get better every quarter. He struck that chord at halftime, with ringing results.

"We picked it up after halftime," said Nikiski senior Holloway, who paced the Bulldogs with 22 points. "We wanted to speed the game up and start getting easy shots off turnovers."

The game was the first of the year for the Seward boys. Although that's a little early in the year for a big Seward-Nikiski matchup, Kornstad said what matters most is the victory.


Seward's Jonah Swiderski tries to block a shot from Nikiski's Ryan Bowlin during the fourth period Friday night.

Photo by M. SCOTT MOON

"This definitely showed us a lot of things we need to work on," said Hassen, who is in his first year at the helm of the Seahawks. "We'll work on those things and hopefully we'll do better when we face them next time."

Jonah Swiderski paced the Seahawks with 10 points.

Nikiski girls 56, Seward 27

Wounded animals can be the most dangerous, and that certainly was the case Friday with the Bulldogs.

Nikiski, traditionally one of Class 3A's top teams, was off to a 1-3 start heading into the game against Seward after losses to solid Class 4A teams Kenai, Juneau-Douglas and Soldotna.

"After that loss to Juneau last week, we lost a lot of confidence as a team, and that just carried over into the Soldotna game," said Nikiski point guard Sally Glaze. "Especially coming off the loss to Eielson last year at state, we were thinking, 'Maybe we're not as good as we thought we were.'

"Coach (Ward Romans) kept our confidence up. We worked our butts off in practice this week and it showed."

The Bulldogs bolted to a 19-2 lead en route to routing the Seahawks -- a team that historically battles with Nikiski for District 3/3A supremacy.

"This is the toughest schedule I've had since I've been here," Romans said. "We did that for a reason. We know we've got a team of upperclassmen that can deal with tough losses to big schools.

"I think we saw the result of that tonight."

Seward also played a tough early season schedule and came into the game 1-2. Coach Roger Steinbrecher said he knew Nikiski would be tough, despite its record. He also knew that Seward would have trouble because two of its best ball-handling guards were out due to injury.

"We had a forward, Kristi Regis, step in and do a good job for us," Steinbrecher said. "Nikiski had us from the start, anyway. This loss can't be blamed on injuries. Nikiski had a hot shooting night."

In last week's game against Soldotna, the Stars focused their defensive pressure on Glaze and dared the rest of the Bulldogs to beat them. The strategy worked like a charm that night, but Friday the Bulldogs received big contributions from Katie Floyd, Emilee Gillaspie, Amanda Weaver, April Lofstedt and Joy Carr.

"Everyone else was shooting tonight, and they were making their shots," Glaze said. "Everyone stepped up. I loved it. If they want to concentrate on me and leave other people open, I'll give my teammates open shots all game."

With Karen Rabung dumping in 19 points, Nikiski's big duo of Glaze and Rabung combined for 29 points. The rest of the team combined for 27.

"I think it shows how much those other players have started to believe in themselves in the last two weeks," Romans said. "I think we're going to be a team that can go eight, nine and 10 players deep.

"I'm excited about this team."

Ruth Banse and Lisa Steinbrecher paced the Seahawks with five points apiece.



Seward 2 7 9 9 --27

Nikiski 17 10 21 8 --56

SEWARD (27) -- Gaule 2 0-0 4, Gillespie 1 0-0 2, Boulden 0 1-2 1, Bardarson 2 0-0 4, Steinbrecher 2 0-0 5, T. Ganser 1 0-0 2, J. Regis 0 0-0 0, K. Regis 1 0-0 2, Banse 2 1-3 5, Beck 0 0-0 0, Loomis 0 0-0 0, Linville 1 0-0 2, L. Ganser 0 0-0 0, Dieckgraeff 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 12 2-5 27.

NIKISKI (56) -- Floyd 3 0-0 6, Gillaspie 1 0-0 2, Weaver 4 0-0 9, Lofstedt 2 0-0 4, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Rabung 8 3-5 19, Carr 2 0-0 4, Glaze 4 1-2 10, Coveyou 0 0-0 0, Solonen 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 25 4-7 56.

3-point goals -- Seward 1 (Steinbrecher 1); Nikiski 2 (Weaver 1, Glaze 1). Total fouls -- Seward 9, Nikiski 12.


Seward 6 12 7 7 --32

Nikiski 14 15 25 20 --74

SEWARD (32) -- Miller 2 2-2 6, Swiderski 4 2-2 10, Clemens 2 0-0 4, Jones 1 1-4 3, Boulden 1 3-4 5, Humphrey 1 1-2 3, Svabik 0 0-0 0, Price 0 1-2 1, Pullins 0 0-0 0, Davis 0 0-0 0, Wolfe 0 0-0 0. Totals -- 11 10-16 32.

NIKISKI (74) -- Reilly 2 0-2 4, Mellburg 0 2-2 2, Crumpacker 0 0-0 0, Calderwood 1 1-2 3, J. Gerke 3 0-0 7, K. Gerke 1 0-0 2, Taylor 5 0-0 13, Holloway 10 2-2 22, Rooper 1 0-0 3, Bowlin 3 8-10 14, Hitchcock 1 0-0 2, Jorgensen 1 0-0 2.

3-point goals -- Seward 0; Nikiski 5 (Holloway 2, J. Gerke, Taylor, Rooper). Total fouls -- Seward 18, Nikiski 16. Fouled out -- Swiderski.

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