Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Homer's Brandon Beachy grabs a rebound during their game against Nikiski on Saturday Jan. 10,  2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Homer's Brandon Beachy grabs a rebound during their game against Nikiski on Saturday Jan. 10, 2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Homer sweeps Nikiski in hoops action

The Nikiski boys had trouble containing the Homer offense Saturday at Nikiski. More specifically, the Bulldogs had trouble containing Homer senior Sheldon Hutt.

Hutt propelled the Mariners to a 54-43 Southcentral Conference victory over Nikiski with 25 points on 10 made shots. The win bumps Homer to 2-1 in the conference, and 3-3 overall. Nikiski dropped to 1-1 in conference play (2-4 overall).

“We’re looking pretty strong,” Hutt said. “We’ve got a lot of seniors, and especially this team, a lot of us have been working together since middle school.”

After a seesaw affair in the first half resulted in a 23-19 lead at halftime, the Mariners managed to distance themselves in the third quarter with eight points from Hutt that helped Homer outscore Nikiski 14-8.

Hutt’s dominance was showcased with his post play. Standing at 6-foot-7, Hutt’s teammates didn’t have a hard time finding him near the basket.

“We just tried to work it inside,” Hutt said. “If I didn’t get open looks inside I’d kick it out to our shooters. We have some good shooters, too.”

Shooters such as Jaruby Nelson, who sank five of his six free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter to finish off a 14-point night.

Nathan Carstens led Nikiski with 12 points, and teammate Luke Johnson chipped in eight.

Homer coach Nate Creel said Hutt’s height did more than just ease his shot attempts. It also opened up additional opportunities for the entire team.

“When we give him the ball, the (opposing) defense has to suck in,” Creel said. “We get a lot of open looks away from the ball, just moving the ball inside out. He creates a lot of attention, and it leaves other players open for shots.”

Hutt said he thought he benefited the most when Nelson and Kenneth Schneider were dishing him assists. Both players displayed solid ball movement with Filip Reutov and Drew Brown for the duration of the contest.

“They’re really good at feeding me (the ball) and giving me open looks, and telling me where to go with the ball,” Hutt said.

After a fast start by Nikiski that saw juniors Sam Tauriainen and Carstens sink three 3s, resulting in a 13-10 lead after one quarter, Hutt began to heat up with a trio of shots that pushed the Bulldogs. A 3-pointer from Reutov gave Homer a 19-17 lead with 4:23 to play in the second quarter, and the Mariners led the rest of the way.

At one point during a third- and fourth-quarter span of time, Hutt scored 14 of 18 points for Homer. In the fourth quarter, Nikiski relentlessly battled to chip away at a steady 10-point lead — including a pair of clutch 3s from Cade Anderson and Brady Malston — but Homer held strong.

“We were trying to only allow them to have one shot,” Creel said. “Everybody’s got to crash the boards.”

Homer girls 36, Nikiski 28

A defensive struggle turned out in favor of the visiting Mariners on Saturday afternoon in Nikiski.

Homer started fast and held on through a rough second quarter to claim an important Southcentral Conference battle over Nikiski, improving to 3-0 in conference play this year (5-2 overall). Nikiski is 1-1 in conference play (3-3 overall).

“It’s a real big win for us,” said Homer coach Chad Felice. “We had a long week of practice, and we’re finally back to full strength.”

Felice said Saturday’s contest was the first time this season he had his starting five players on the floor together.

“Once we moved the ball around and played team basketball, it was good. I was impressed,” Felice said.

Homer sophomore Mariah Hendrickson came up big in the waning minutes. Hendrickson hit three crucial jumpers in the final four minutes to push Homer from a precarious 26-24 lead to a 33-24 lead with 1:31 left to play. Those five points ultimately become Hendrickson’s only points of the game.

“She doesn’t know how good she is yet,” Felice said. “She’s just so smooth playing and doesn’t think twice. She doesn’t care when she hits those shots if there’s 20 seconds left or eight minutes.”

Before Hendrickson’s late-game heroics, Nikiski had closed the gap with big plays from senior Rachel Thompson and junior Alison Litke. Litke led Nikiski with 11 points — including seven of Nikiski’s 10 points in the second quarter — for a career game performance. Thompson added eight points.

Homer streaked out to a 13-2 lead in the first quarter, but received a taste of its own medicine in the second. Nikiski turned the tables with a 10-2 points run in the frame.

Felice attributed it to various player substitutions and sluggish play while trying to sit on a lead.

“We were just trying to keep all our legs fresh and everyone working,” he said.

Homer held a 26-20 lead leading into the fourth quarter, but Litke sank a jump shot in the opening minute to cut the lead and Thompson grabbed a steal and was fouled going for the layup on the other end. Thompson converted on the ensuing free throws to cut the lead to two points.

Hendrickson took care of business from there.

The Bulldogs continue hoops action next weekend when they host the 26th annual Nikiski Tip-Off Tournament. Homer will face Soldotna in a nonconference tilt on Tuesday.

Saturday boys

Mariners 54, Bulldogs 43

Homer 10 13 14 17 —54

Nikiski 13 6 8 16 —43

HOMER (54) — B. Beachy 0 0-0 0, Reutov 1 0-0 3, Schneider 2 0-0 4, J. Beachy 0 0-0 0, Brown 1 2-4 4, Knisely 1 0-0 2, Trowbridge 0 0-0 0, Hutt 10 5-8 25, Rainwater 0 0-0 0, Tedesco 1 0-0 2, Nelson 4 5-6 14. Totals 20 12-18 54.

NIKISKI (43) — Anderson 2 0-0 5, Johnson 4 0-0 8, Holloway 2 0-0 4, Malston 1 0-0 3, Tauriainen 2 0-0 5, N. Carstens 5 0-0 12, Jackson 0 2-2 2, Pamplin 2 0-2 4, B. Carstens 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 2-4 43.

3-point field goals — Homer 2 (Reutov, Nelson); Nikiski 5 (Carstens 2, Tauriainen 1, Malston 1, Anderson 1). Fouled out — none.

Saturday girls

Mariners 36, Bulldogs 28

Homer 13 2 11 10 —36

Nikiski 2 10 8 8 —28

HOMER (36) — Reutov 0 0-0 0, Alexander 0 0-0 0, Clark 1 0-0 2, Akers 3 2-4 8, Fellows 3 0-0 6, Waclawski 2 4-4 9, Stafford 3 0-0 6, Fairbanks 0 0-0 0, Hendrickson 2 1-1 5. Totals 14 6-8 36.

NIKISKI (28) — Parrish 1 0-0 2, Perry 0 0-0 0, Riddall 1 1-2 3, Pitt 0 0-0 0, Litke 5 0-1 11, Kornstad 0 0-0 0, Thompson 2 3-8 8, Litzen 1 2-2 4. Totals 10 6-14 28.

3-point field goals — Homer 1 (Waclawski); Nikiski 2 (Litke 1, Thompson 1). Fouled out — none.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Rachel Thompson passes during their gam Homere on Saturday Jan. 10,  2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski’s Rachel Thompson passes during their gam Homere on Saturday Jan. 10, 2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski Alison Litke looks for a path around Homer's Sofia Clark during their game on Saturday Jan. 10,  2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski Alison Litke looks for a path around Homer’s Sofia Clark during their game on Saturday Jan. 10, 2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Luke Johnson catches a pass during their game Homer on Saturday Jan. 10,  2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski’s Luke Johnson catches a pass during their game Homer on Saturday Jan. 10, 2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski's Sam Tauriained sprints down the court during their game against Homer on Saturday Jan. 10,  2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Nikiski’s Sam Tauriained sprints down the court during their game against Homer on Saturday Jan. 10, 2015 at Nikiski Middle-High School in Nikiski, Alaska.

More in Sports

Nick Varney
Reeling ‘Em In: Hints from Nick on catchin’ cohos

Silvers loathe direct sunlight and are spooked by shadows

tease
Hogue, Aldridge win Soldotna Cycle Series 5

Dylan Hogue and Morgan Aldridge picked up victories at the fifth Soldotna… Continue reading

Take a number. The "patients" wait briefly in the trap box before being seen and released upstream to continue their migration. (Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Anatomy of a fish weir — Keeping a finger on the pulse of Alaska’s salmon runs

During a routine physical exam, your doctor checks your vitals: Weight, heart… Continue reading

Mt. Redoubt rises above Cook Inlet and the Anchor River drainage as fireweed is in bloom, as seen from Diamond Ridge Road on Friday, July 22, 2022, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Out of the Office: Take the long way around

“Slow Down. What’s the hurry?” reads an inscription on the Reuben Call… Continue reading

tease
Ulman, Davis win final Salmon Run Series race of season

Sean Ulman and Kristin Davis won the fifth and final Salmon Run… Continue reading

Morgan Aldridge leads riders down a hill at the start of Week 3 of the Soldotna Cycle Series on Thursday, July 18, 2019, at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Aldridge, Iannaccone excel at Moose Nugget Triathlon

Sterling’s Morgan Aldridge and Kenai’s Jon Iannaccone both had notable performances Sunday… Continue reading

tease
Dubovsky, Raney win Res Pass Ultras

Elizabeth Dubovsky and Miles Raney won the Resurrection Pass Ultra Races on… Continue reading

Seward's Erik Johnson finishes the men's Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska, on Monday, July 4, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Deal, Hecht, Johnson put in strong performances at Alyeska Cirque Series

Taylor Deal, Galen Hecht and Erik Johnson led those with Kenai Peninsula… Continue reading

tease
Oilers close season with loss in semifinals

The fourth-seeded Peninsula Oilers gave the top seed and defending champion Anchorage… Continue reading

Most Read