Soldotna’s Brittani Blossom (left) and Nikiski’s Kelsey Clark battle for the ball Tuesday night in a nonconference game at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Carion)

Soldotna’s Brittani Blossom (left) and Nikiski’s Kelsey Clark battle for the ball Tuesday night in a nonconference game at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Carion)

Hoops roundup: SoHi, Nikolaevsk sweep; Kenai girls win; CIA, Ninilchik split

The anticipated battle entering Tuesday night’s hoops showdown between two of the best girls teams on the peninsula didn’t quite live up to the hype.

The Soldotna girls made sure of that.

The Stars let loose in a 50-29 nonconference meeting with Nikiski in the Soldotna High gym, propelled by a second quarter spurt that paved the way to victory against a very familiar opponent.

“We grew up with them,” said SoHi senior Danica Schmidt. “All the seniors know them. It’s a small peninsula.”

Schmidt pumped in 10 points and some timely plays down the stretch to help the Stars win, while sister Aliann Schmidt scored a game-high 15 points for SoHi and junior Ituau Tuisaula bullied the paint en route to eight points, four days after sustaining an upper lip injury against the Colony Knights.

The victory kept Soldotna’s undefeated season alive at 12-0, while Nikiski slipped to 11-2 overall, it’s only other loss being an overtime game.

Danica Schmidt and much of the rest of the SoHi varsity are teammates on the club levels of basketball with many Nikiski players, but on the high school level, the two sides are fiercely competitive with each other.

“We’ve never dominated them before, so it’s cool to do that,” Schmidt said. “Those two Colony wins pumped us up.”

SoHi head coach Kyle McFall said the two senior classes — namely Soldotna’s Brittani Blossom and the Schmidt sisters, and Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens, Emma Wik and Kelsey Clark — lift the level of competition when they face off on the high school court.

“It’s a big rivalry between those two classes,” McFall said.

SoHi made life difficult for the Bulldogs by using their size and length to subdue an otherwise potent Nikiski offense. Reigning Class 3A Player of the Year Bethany Carstens was held to 12 points, the most for Nikiski. Kelsey Clark chipped in seven.

First-year Bulldogs head coach Rustin Hitchcock said SoHi’s game plan consistently caught Nikiski on its heels.

“It’s one of those matchups that if you play it 10 times, we’d go 5-5 (against SoHi),” Hitchcock said. “Tonight they were able to adjust to what we were trying to do, and we just kept taking long, quick shots that missed and led to rebounds for them.”

After a very even first quarter that ended with both teams tied at 7-all, SoHi began to build a lead, starting with a pair of foul shots by Brittani Blossom that gave the Stars a 13-11 lead.

A layup by Angela Druesedow tied it but Tuisaula responded quickly with a post shot with 4:42 left in the half.

That started a 13-4 run to the halftime buzzer that included two big buckets by Morgan Bouschor and a 3-pointer by Schmidt, putting SoHi ahead 26-17 at the break.

“I wouldn’t say we (panicked), but you could just feel it sliding,” Hitchcock said. “Ultimately they outplayed us.”

McFall said SoHi began forcing Nikiski into mistakes and turnovers and making sure that Carstens wasn’t getting any easy looks.

“The girls slowed down and recognized the triangle two defense he was running, and started executing our counter to that,” McFall said. “Spread the floor, look for the dive cuts, look for the shallow cuts on the baseline.”

Two quick buckets down low by Aliann Schmidt in the early minutes of the third quarter were followed by a big trey by Blossom and a hook shot by Tuisaula with 4:31 left in the quarter that pushed the lead to 35-17.

Overall, SoHi outscored Nikiski 35-16 in the second and third quarters combined.

Another triple by Danica Schmidt with 3:53 left in the quarter made it a 38-19 game. Carstens pulled some of the gap back in the fourth quarter but it was too much to overcome.

Soldotna boys 51, Nikiski 46

Ray Chumley drained two free throws with 4.4 seconds left to seal a nonconference win Tuesday night over the Bulldogs.

Soldotna (6-6 overall) staved off an early scare by Nikiski (5-8), which pulled out a 20-8 lead in the second quarter against its 4A counterpart.

The Bulldogs led 35-31 entering the fourth quarter but SoHi charged to the front in the span of 12 seconds, starting with a 3-pointer by Chumley. On the ensuing inbound pass by Nikiski, Zach Hanson caught the steal and laid it up for a bucket that gave SoHi a 36-35 lead, its first lead since the early first quarter.

“We played better in the second half,” said SoHi head coach Nolan Rose.

Rose said a combination of Tuesday’s contest between sandwiched between two weekends of conference action for SoHi, combined with the Stars’ contentment that they could beat a 3A team like Nikiski, led to the early deficit.

“They’re a great opponent,” Rose said. “If you overlook a team like Nikiski, especially against a player like Jace Kornstad, they can beat you.”

Kornstad scored a team-high 16 points for Nikiski, while teammate Noah Litke chipped in 13 and Cody Handley had nine.

SoHi was led by junior Jersey Truesdell’s 23 points and Chumley’s 12.

Kornstad scored six points in an early 8-2 run for the Bulldogs in the first and second quarters, helping Nikiski to a 29-18 halftime lead as the visitors enjoyed hot shooting from the field.

The Stars quickly cut into the gap coming out of the halftime break, getting it down to 33-29 by the midpoint of the third quarter.

A breakaway layup at the third-quarter buzzer by Chumley slashed the Nikiski lead to 35-31, setting up the two-play sequence that gave the Stars the lead at 36-35.

Another big triple by Truesdell with 5:42 to go made it a 41-37 game with SoHi leading, but the Bulldogs never went away. A trey by Kornstad with 56 seconds to go created a one-possession game at 47-44, and a pull-up jumper with 25 ticks left closed the gap to 48-46.

However, Brock Kant hit one of two free throws with 20 seconds left to boost the gap to three, and Chumley iced it with 4.4 seconds left following an empty Nikiski possession that included two 3-point attempts by Kornstad and Litke.

Kenai girls 63, Homer 27

The host Kardinals cruised to a Southcentral Conference victory over the Mariners on Tuesday, taking a 12-4 lead after a quarter and a 32-16 lead after two quarters.

Kenai boasted a balanced attack, with Logan Satathite scoring 16, Jaycie Calvert scoring 12 and Hayley Maw scoring 11.

For Homer, Marina Carroll led the way with six points.

Cook Inlet Academy girls 27, Ninilchik 17

The host Eagles notched a Peninsula Conference victory Tuesday.

For CIA, Anna Henderson had 10 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots and a steal, while Adara Warren had nine points, six rebounds and six steals. Jade Robuck had eight for Ninilchik and Isabella Koch pitched in six.

Ninilchik boys 55, CIA 24

The visiting Wolverines cruised to a Peninsula Conference victory Tuesday.

Garrett Koch had 16 for Ninilchik, while Cole Hadro had 13 and Jake Clark added 12. For the hosts, Lucas Cragg had eight.

Nikolaevsk girls 63, Kalskag 22

The host Warriors notched a nonconference victory Tuesday, taking a 23-6 lead after the first quarter.

Elizabeth Fefelov erupted with 34 points for Nikolaevsk, while Markiana Yakunin added 11. For Kalskag, Julia Heckman and Sharlisa Michaelson each had eight points.

Nikolaevsk boys 65, Kalskag 49

The host Warriors notched a nonconference victory Tuesday, taking a 17-10 lead after the first quarter and a 31-20 lead at halftime.

Michael Trail came through with 27 points for Nikolaevsk, while Zachary Trail had 17 and Isaak Fefelov added 15.

For Kalskag, Shae Morgan had 28, while Harvey Levi pumped in 13.

Tuesday girls

Warriors 63, Grizzlies 22

Kalskag 6 8 4 4 — 22

Nikolaevsk 23 18 6 16 — 63

KALSKAG (22) — Levi 0, L. Evan 4, J. Evan 0, Heckman 8, Morgan 0, Wise 2, Michaelson 8. Totals — 10 0-4 22.

NIKOLAEVSK (63) — Klaich 0, Z. Fefelov 4, Lasiter 2, Yakunin 11, Kalugin 8, J. Fefelov 4, E. Fefelov 34. Totals — 29 8-13 63.

3-point goals — Kalskag 2 (Michaelson 2); Nikolaevsk 1 (Yakunin). Team fouls — Kalskag 12, Nikolaevsk 6. Fouled out — none.

Kardinals 63, Mariners 27

Homer 4 12 5 6 — 27

Kenai 12 20 17 14 — 63

HOMER (27) — Rhodes 5, Inama 0 2-4 2, Bishop 3, Johnson 3, Bales 0, Doughty 4, Todd 2, Parish 2, Anderson 0, Carroll 6, Smude 0, Hatfield 0, Dawson 0. Totals — 8 10-17 27.

KENAI CENTRAL (63) — Calvert 12, Galloway 2, Hamilton 0, Maw 11, Hanson 3, Streiff 2, L. Satathite 16, Severson 0, B. Satathite 9, Reis 0, Lauritsen 2. Totals — 26 6-10 63.

3-point goals — Homer 1 (Bishop); Kenai 2 (Calvert 2). Team fouls — Homer 9, Kenai 19. Fouled out — none.

Tuesday girls

Stars 50, Bulldogs 29

Nikiski 7 10 6 6 —29

Soldotna 7 19 16 8 —50

NIKISKI (29) — Jeffreys 2, Wik 3, L. Carstens 3, Bostic 0, Johnson 0, B. Carstens 12, Clark 7, Druesedow 2, Hooper 0.

SOLDOTNA (50) — McGillivray 2, Buckbee 0, Blossom 7, A. Schmidt 15, Bouschor 4, Tuisaula 8, Holland 0, Leadens 0, Crosby-Schneider 4, D. Schmidt 10.

3-point FG — Nikiski 2 (Wik 1, Clark 1); Soldotna 3 (D. Schmidt 2, Blossom 1).

Team fouls — Nikiski 10; Soldotna 5. Fouled out — none.

Tuesday boys

Warriors 65, Grizzlies 49

Kalskag 10 10 15 14 — 49

Nikolaevsk 17 14 18 18 — 65

KALSKAG (49) — Peterson 2, Paul 2, Wise 4, Levi 13, Fultze 0, D. Nook 0, Morgan 28, R. Nook 0. Totals — 20 4-9 49.

NIKOLAEVSK (65) — Boquecosa 0, Brown 0, Fefelov 15, J. Trail 2, Kalugin 4, Nikitenko 0, Z. Trail 17, M. Trail 27. Totals — 27 6-12 65.

3-point goals — Kalskag 5 (Morgan 4, Levi); Nikolaevsk 5 (Fefelov 3, Z. Trail, M. Trail). Team fouls — Kalskag 14, Nikolaevsk 10. Fouled out — none.

Wolverines 55, Eagles 24

Ninilchik 14 11 17 13 — 55

CIA 3 5 6 10 — 24

NINILCHIK (55) — Nelson 5, Presley 0, Hadro 13, Koch 16, Clark 12, Moore 0, Devile 3, Lemons 4, Moto 2, Mumey 0. Totals — 26 6-11 55.

COOK INLET ACADEMY (24) — Moos 3, Ja. Boyd 4, Cragg 8, Leaf 0, Walsh 0, Anderson 0, Van De Grift 0, Zeigler 4, Jo. Boyd 5. Totals — 10 2-4 24.

3-point goals — Ninilchik 6 (Mumey 3, Hadro, Koch, Devile); CIA 2 (Cragg 2). Team fouls — Ninilchik 5, CIA 16. Fouled out — none.

Tuesday boys

Stars 51, Bulldogs 46

Nikiski 15 14 6 11 —46

Soldotna 6 12 13 20 —51

NIKISKI (46) — Mysing 6, Weathers 0, Smith 0, Kornstad 16, Handley 9, Litke 13, DeSiena 0, Eiter 2.

SOLDOTNA (51) — Morrison 5, Hanson 2, Chumley 12, Truesdell 23, Kant 1, Wells 2, Michael 6.

3-point FG — Nikiski 5 (Kornstad 3, Handley 1, Litke 1); Soldotna 4 (Truesdell 3, Chumley 1).

Team fouls — Nikiski 13; Soldotna 7. Fouled out — none.

Soldotna’s Danica Schmidt (top) puts up a block on Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens Tuesday night in a nonconference game at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Carion)

Soldotna’s Danica Schmidt (top) puts up a block on Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens Tuesday night in a nonconference game at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Carion)

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