The Kenai Central boys basketball team concluded the Clarke Cochrane Christmas Classic in Ketchikan with a 53-52 loss to Philomath (Ore.) on Wednesday.
The Kardinals finished the classic with a 1-2 record, earning sixth place.
Kenai Central coach Ken Felchle said Wednesday's finale came down to the final possession after Philomath erased a six-point deficit over the final two minutes.
After Philomath hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 52-51 with about 20 seconds left, the Kardinals missed a layup after breaking Philomath's full-court press. On the ensuing possession, John Hanson hit what proved to be the game-winner for Philomath, despite being double-teamed.
AJ Hull had a chance to win the game for Kenai Central, but his shot from the top of the key bounced out as time expired.
Felchle said it was a difficult loss, but his team played well.
"I can't emphasize enough how much our kids improved over the last two games," he said. "They played really well against a quality opponent."
The Kardinals defeated Petersburg 54-49 Tuesday after losing a first-round game to Anacortes (Wash.) 56-40 Monday.
In girls action, Kenai Central and Soldotna square off at 2 p.m. today in a game four third and fifth place.
Kenai Peninsula resident Colleen Robertia won the Gin Gin 200 women's division sled dog race, pulling into the finish line at Paxson Lodge ahead of the pack Tuesday.
Robertia, who also won the Humanitarian Award, bested a field of seven entrants in a competition that began and ended at Paxson, with checkpoints at Maclaren Lodge.
Brent Sass won the men's competition, topping a field of 11 participants.
-- Staff report
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