Grace boys hold off Kenai hoops

It seems like every gym Chuck Boerger visits these days, it’s the last time he’ll be there as a basketball coach.

In his final year of a long coaching career, Boerger visited the Kenai Central High School gym one last time, and his Grace Christian boys hoops team beat the Kardinals 50-38 Friday night in a nonconference matchup. The Grace boys also notched a victory over Soldotna on Saturday, but details were not available as the Clarion went to press.

“It’s not going to be done until we’re finally eliminated, but I just enjoy every game as best as I can,” Boerger said. “I take joy in my players, and I’ve enjoyed every team I’ve ever coached, and this is a special group of players.”

Boerger said he still remembers the first time he visited the school as the coach of Adak in 1978, and through the years, his impact has certainly been felt by fellow coaches.

Kenai head coach Ken Felchle is one of those coaches, and he said he has a tremendous amount of respect for Boerger.

“He’s taught players and coaches, and he’s been a huge inspiration to all of us,” Felchle said. “It’s just a testament to the kind of coach he is.”

On Friday night, Kenai stuck with Grace for much of the first half, trailing by only a point at times in the second quarter, before the Grizzlies distanced themselves by halftime with a score of 26-22.

“The last couple of games we’ve learned how to compete,” Felchle said. “Against Colony, and even Houston before that, we’ve competed. Before that we were struggling. We were shooting 25 percent, and we were just not playing as well with young kids.”

Trevor Shirnberg led Kenai with 11 points, while Grace’s Hans Karlberg put up 11 points and Alex Fancher added 10. But, the third quarter proved to be trouble for Kenai.

Kenai had a tough time cracking Grace’s defensive schemes, and only managed four points in the quarter, as Grace pulled away to a 10-point lead as the fourth quarter began. Turnovers also played into Grace’s hands.

“(Kenai) controlled the tempo of the game, that was great game-planning by them,” Boerger said. “Ken does a fantastic job with his kids, and we didn’t shoot the ball as well, and didn’t attack the middle as well. In the second half we managed to find better looks and get some steals.”

With the loss, Kenai’s season record dropped to 2-12 overall. The Kards travel to Southeast Alaska next week for a Thursday game with Sitka. Kenai will play Mt. Edgecumbe Friday, and then will face Sitka again on Saturday.

Friday boys

Grizzlies 50, Kardinals 38

Grace 14 12 10 14 —50

Kenai 13 9 4 12 —38

GRACE (50) — Osborne 1 0-0 3, Strand 2 1-2 5, Karlberg 3 3-4 11, Offord 2 0-0 4, Vanderweide 0 1-2 1, Johnson 1 6-8 8, Fancher 3 4-4 10, Laker 2 4-6 8. Totals 14 19-26 50.

KENAI (38) — Theisen 2 0-0 6, Glushkov 0 0-0 0, Shirnberg 5 0-0 11, McKee 2 0-0 5, Jackman 0 4-4 4, Saavedra 2 0-0 5, Ivy 0 0-0 0, Foree 0 1-2 1, Jones 2 0-0 6. Totals 13 5-6 38.

3-point field goals — Grace 3 (Karlberg 2, Osborne 1); Kenai 7 (Theisen 2, Jones 2, Shirnberg 1, McKee 1, Saavedra 1).

Team fouls — Grace 6; Kenai 21.

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