Colony basketball sweeps Soldotna

Colony basketball sweeps Soldotna

Knights junior Parker Kizer sliced to the rim to score on consecutive possessions in the final 76 seconds Wednesday night to send the Colony boys basketball team to a 46-44 victory over the Soldotna Stars at Soldotna High School.

Those two precious moments could spell the difference for the Knights come tournament time among Northern Lights Conference teams.

For prep teams competing in the NLC, the first real barrage of conference matchups this weekend on the Kenai Peninsula will surely give everyone an idea of exactly who the contenders and pretenders are. Wednesday night’s clash between Colony and SoHi showed just how close it could be.

“The truth is you’re going to the region tournament to play for Friday night (in the semifinals),” said Colony head coach Tom Berg.

“They wanted to win more than we did,” added Soldotna head coach Nolan Rose. “We let the magnitude and the anxiety of the game get to us, and forced us into mistakes.”

With the win, Colony moved to 2-0 in the conference and 3-5 overall, while SoHi dropped to 1-3 and 5-7 overall. The Wasilla boys, who the Stars will play tonight at 7:30 p.m., currently lead the division at 3-0 (10-2 overall).

Sophomore guard Sullivan Menard led Colony with 16 points, while Isaiah Neuner and Nolan Martin each notched 11. Soldotna was paced by Derek Evans with 11 points.

With a younger varsity squad that features just one senior, the Knights showed they can still deal with a hardy third quarter Wednesday against Soldotna. The home team Stars led 28-20 at halftime, including an 11-3 second quarter effort, but Colony opened the second half on a 7-1 run to cut the gap to two points, a run capped by a 3-pointer by Isaiah Neuner.

A layup by Caleb Spence put SoHi up 38-34 early in the fourth quarter, and Luke Trammell’s floater with 5:42 to play in the game had SoHi up 40-36.

However, Kizer drove into the paint and dished the ball to Menard, who connected on a trey to make it a 1-point game with 4:20 remaining. Martin then put Colony ahead 41-40 with a drive to the rim.

Brandon Crowder answered for SoHi with a hook shot with 2:09 left to take the lead back for the Stars, and Colony’s Neuner was fouled on the ensuing possession for the Knights, hitting one of two freebies to tie the game at 42-all with 2:03 left.

Kizer than took command for Colony, taking an assist from a teammate and cutting to the hoop for a go-ahead layup with 1:16 to go. Kizer repeated the feat on the next possession with 31 seconds left, pushing the lead to four points.

Ultimately, coach Rose pointed to the countless extra rebounds Colony came down with throughout the second half, giving the Knights many second chances.

“Our defensive rebounding was terrible,” Rose said. “I told the guys, when a shot goes up, go up and get it, don’t look at it.”

A number of shot attempts taken in the final 10 seconds by SoHi came up empty until Wendell Tuisaula’s tipback, but it came at the buzzer.

Colony girls 53, Soldotna 24

The Lady Knights opened their weekend on the peninsula with a dominating NLC victory over the Stars on Wednesday evening.

With the win, the Colony girls move to 2-0 in the conference, while SoHi slipped to 2-2.

Colony quickly charged out to a 7-0 lead in the opening minute of the game to establish a comfortable spot, then employed a gritty defensive press that forced SoHi into a multitude of turnovers and mistakes throughout the game.

“That was important for us,” said longtime Colony head coach Jeff Bowker. “Just keeping our tempo up, we didn’t shoot very well all night, but we shot better in the second half, and we just played hard all night.”

Junior guard Alex Carlton scored a game-high 20 points to lead Colony’s attack, while the normally lethal sister duo of Aliann and Danica Schmidt was contained to six points each.

SoHi coach Kyle McFall said the inexperience of the Stars cost them in dealing with Colony’s fierce press.

“We know we struggle with pressure, and as a young team, we’ve got to learn,” McFall said. “The kids played in waves tonight. We’d have a few good possessions, then (Colony) would make a shot and we’d lose energy.”

One of those waves followed a steal and a layup by freshman Elaina Watson, which put the Knights up 18-6 with 4:54 to play in the second quarter. SoHi fought back with a floater by Aliann Schmidt, a foul shot by Ituau Tuisuala and a layup by Danica Schmidt, which cut the lead to 20-11 late in the second quarter, but Colony got the last laugh with a baseline layup by Amanda Smith to end the first half.

In the third quarter, Colony once again surged with a 9-0 start to the half, getting a pair of buckets each from Carlton and Haylee Duguid, then SoHi answered with a 6-0 run.

However, Colony all but put the game away with another 9-0 run to end the third quarter, capped by a corner 3-pointer by Smith to push the lead to 40-17.

SoHi will face Wasilla tonight at 6 p.m. at home.

 

Wednesday boys

Knights 46, Stars 44

Colony 17 3 14 12 — 46

Soldotna 17 11 8 8 — 44

COLONY (46) — Kizer 3 1-2 7, Neuner 3 4-11 11, Menard 6 2-2 16, Martin 5 1-2 11, Villastrigo 0 1-2 1, Pead 0 0-0 0, Oathout 0 0-0 0, Baker 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 9-19 46.

SOLDOTNA (44) — Trammell 2 0-0 4, Spence 2 1-2 5, Sheridan 2 0-0 6, Crowder 1 0-0 2, Tuisaula 3 0-0 6, Evans 4 3-8 11, McElroy 1 0-0 2, Michael 1 0-0 2, Marcuson 2 0-0 6. Totals 18 4-10 44.

3-point goals — Colony 3 (Menard 2, Neuner 1); Soldotna 4 (Sheridan 2, Marcuson 2).

Team fouls — Colony 8; Soldotna 14. Fouled out — none.

 

Wednesday girls

Knights 53, Stars 24

Colony 13 9 18 13 — 53

Soldotna 4 7 6 7 — 24

COLONY (53) — Duguid 3 2-2 10, Watson 2 0-0 4, Smith 3 2-2 10, Clary 1 0-0 2, Bull 1 0-0 2, Steiner 1 0-0 2, Adams 0 0-0 0, Carlton 9 0-0 20, Smith 0 0-0 0, Simpson 0 1-2 1, Aga 1 0-0 2. Totals 21 5-6 53.

SOLDOTNA (24) — Houser 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 0-0 3, Blossom 1 0-0 2, A. Schmidt 3 0-0 6, Tuisaula 1 1-2 3, Kruse 2 0-0 4, Wells 0 0-0 0, D. Schmidt 3 0-0 6. Totals 11 1-2 24.

3-point goals — Colony 6 (Duguid 2, Smith 2, Carlton 2); Soldotna 1 (Miller 1).

Team fouls — Colony 10; Soldotna 7. Fouled out — none.

Colony basketball sweeps Soldotna
Colony basketball sweeps Soldotna
Colony basketball sweeps Soldotna

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