Some of those no-look passes turned out to be no-catch passes and tracking shooting percentage may have been a lost cause, but the fifth annual Holiday Hoops Alumni Basketball Classic did supply plenty of exciting basketball Saturday at Kenai Central High School.
"It's a lot of fun to come back after not picking up a basketball for a couple of months," said Anne Berdahl, a member of the Nikiski alumnae team.
The Nikiski squad won the championship game in the Ageless (women's) bracket while the combined Soldotna-Skyview team took the old-timer's All-Round Alumni game. Alumni from Nikiski scratched past a scrappy Skyview squad to the take the Actively Agile Alumni title.
"It's nice to play with old friends and teammates," Berdahl said. "I think we all played with each other at least one year in high school. You establish friendships that stay with you. It's good to get together -- and try to play basketball."
Nikiski defeated a Skyview alumnae squad in the final, 37-33. Mary Glaze led the Bulldogs alumnae squad in the championship game with 19 points while Tammy Berdahl and Natalie Miller each scored six points.
The Nikiski squad had a game plan for the tournament, though it wasn't necessarily the right one.
"Of all the offenses that we learned in high school, the only one we could all remember was long," Anne Berdahl said. "It was a man-to-man offense, and all the teams we played against played zone, so it didn't work too well."
Julie Powell Tree scored 13 points for the Panthers while Angie Wheat netted 10.
The ex-Bulldogs made the championship game after defeating Soldotna 51-21 in the opening round of the Ageless bracket.
The Nikiski team got some balanced scoring in that game. While no player reached double figures, every player on the roster also made it into the scoring column. Berdahl had a team-high nine points, Mary Glaze scored eight and Oralie Nudson netted seven.
Carie Hollier and Kara Shields each scored seven points for the Soldotna team.
Anne Berdahl said it was nice to have a chance to catch up with acquaintances she wouldn't have otherwise seen during the holidays.
"Most of the girls that played on the other team, I played against. It's nice to see what they're up to," she said.
The Skyview alumnae knocked Kenai off in the first round of the Ageless bracket 33-32 to make the final. Julie Powell Tree scored 10 for the ex-Panthers while Angie Wheat netted eight and Stephanie St. Clair scored six.
Cory Hershberger led the ex-Kardinal squad with 13 points.
The Skyview Actively Agile team also made the final, but ran into a talented squad of Nikiski alumni. The ex-Bulldogs took the tile with a 50-39 victory.
Jamie Queen scored 13 points to lead Nikiski in the championship while Russell Queen scored nine, Ryan Ellis netted seven, Mike Miller scored six and Reid Kornstad chipped in with five points.
Ben McGarry scored 10 points to lead the Panthers alumni. Tony Travers netted eight and Dorian Heatherly, Jonas West, Ron Kier and Toby Colvin each scored four points.
"It's good to get to play with everybody again," Colvin said. "It's fun to have the clock and the refs. When you get out of high school, it's hard to find games with all the fans."
The Nikiski men won their first game in the Actively Agile bracket, defeating a squad of Soldotna Alumni 68-53.
Mike Miller scored 13 points for the ex-Bulldogs and Jamie Queen and Jeremy Kouf each contributed 11 points to the cause.
Paul John Zobeck netted 13 points for the former Stars while Brandon Avery and Chad Steadman chipped in with nine points apiece.
Skyview made the Actively Agile final by defeating Cook Inlet Academy 37-36 in the opening round. Tony Travers led the Skyview effort with 13 points. Gabe Swank netted 15 for the Eagles alumni.
"Everyone here has played before, so we just went back to basics," Timmy Travers said of the Panthers' game plan.
The Soldotna alumni bumped the Cook Inlet Academy squad in the consolation final of the Actively Agile bracket 80-57. Lee Steadman led ex-Stars with 19 points while Chad Steadman netted 13. Brandon Avery scored 12 in the game.
Travis Knutson led the ex-Eagles with 28 points. Noah Shields scored 11.
The Cook Inlet Academy team started the tournament off with an upset of the Kenai squad in the AAA bracket. Travis Knutson hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer -- his fifth long-distance strike of the game -- to propel the ex-Eagles to a 66-63 win.
Knutson, now playing at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, finished with 21 points while teammate John Jenckes netted 25. Gabe Swank scored 20 for the CIA squad.
Kyle Kornelis led the ex-Kards with 19 points while Casey Hershberger and Willie Castillo each scored nine.
Soldotna defeated Kenai in the Actively Agile consolation semifinal 41-32. Paul John Zobeck's 10 points paced the Stars alumni squad. Matt Van Hoose, Bryan MacKenzie and Brandon Avery each scored six for the Soldotna squad.
Casey Hershberger paced the Kenai squad with seven points while Joel Reemstma scored five and Kyle Kornelis, Aaron McCubbins and Chip Fanning each netted four points.
Kenai rebounded to win the Ageless consolation final, defeating Soldotna 32-29. Cory Hershberger scored a game-high 17 for the ex-Kardinals while April Wilson netted six and Sandra Huss Lewis, Connie Herrick Best, Rio Sanadjan and Stephanie Arbelovsky each scored two points.
Katie Howard and Jen Fosse paced the Stars alumnae with 10 points each. Megan Meacham scored four, Carie Hollier netted three and Shannon Bruner scored two.
In the old-timers' game, the Soldotna-Skyview alumni team defeated the Kenai-Nikiski team 72-54.
Matt Fischer scored a game-high 23 points for the Soldotna-Skyview team while Clayton Phillips scored 15 points. Scott Samples scored 11 points and Reid Kornstad netted 10 points.
Mike Dye led the Kenai-Nikiski team with 15 points while Shawn Jones scored 12. John Stockton, Scott Gere and Billy Hunt each scored seven points.
Statistics for the Holiday Hoops Alumni Classic will be available in Tuesday's Peninsula Clarion.
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