Kenai boys upset Colony; girls lose to Knights

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central forward Alli Steinbeck jumps for the rebound against Colony forward Chase Stephens (20) and Kenai teammate Abby Beck (40) Friday night at Kenai Central High School. The Kardinals lost to the Knights 36-26.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central forward Alli Steinbeck jumps for the rebound against Colony forward Chase Stephens (20) and Kenai teammate Abby Beck (40) Friday night at Kenai Central High School. The Kardinals lost to the Knights 36-26.

All those early season games that saw the Kenai Central boys come up just shy of a win can be put to rest for now.

After losing several games this year that saw them hold late leads, the Kenai boys managed to pull it together when it mattered most Friday night at Cliff Massie Court in Kenai, pulling off a 46-44 upset win over the Colony Knights in a Northern Lights Conference clash.

Marshall Vest, Austin Brazell and Josh Jackman combined to put on a clutch shooting performance in the final minute to clinch the win. Vest hit two game-tying layups, Brazell buried a jumper with 24 seconds left to give Kenai its first lead of the game, and Jackman hit the biggest shot of all, banking in a shot off the glass with two ticks left to put Kenai ahead for the final time.

“I got a cut to the basket, had a look and took it,” Jackman said. “It’s a good region win, it’s pretty important to us.”

“Everybody bought in and we got some garbage buckets,” Vest added. “Sometimes you have to do the dirty work and get in there.”

With the win, Kenai went to 3-4 in conference and 10-9 overall. The Kards handed Colony its first Northern Lights Conference loss of the season, as the Knights slipped to 6-1 in conference, 11-7 overall.

For Jackman, a junior, and Vest, a senior, it’s the first time beating Colony in their high school careers. Colony won its previous matchup with Kenai earlier this year 63-56, and the high-powered Knights of the past few years have seemingly had Kenai’s number.

Not this time, however.

“It’s just an unbelievable win for our program,” said Kenai coach Ken Felchle. “We just talked all week, it’s never going to be easy. There’s never going to be a game where we beat one of these division teams by 15 or 20 points.

“This is the best win with this team.”

Jackman led Kenai with 10 points, while Keith Ivy chipped in eight and Garrett Fitt and Vest added seven apiece.

Anton Chamblee scored a game-high 18 points for Colony.

Colony streaked out to an early 8-2 lead midway through the first quarter, but Kenai battled back and continued to just hang with the Knights. The Kards never held the lead through the first three quarters but also never trailed by more than six points.

Colony led 25-21 at halftime, and once the teams returned to the court, the action began resembling a 3-point contest. Ivy hit a corner 3 just 30 seconds into the third quarter, then Chamblee responded with a triple from the top of the arc. Jackman then got in the action with a trey that closed the lead back up to 30-27 midway through the quarter.

Colony escaped the third frame with a 33-30 lead, but Kenai was just getting warmed up. With 5:41 left in the game, Jackman caught a steal and raced down court for a two-handed slam, injecting Cliff Massie Court with much-needed energy and cutting the Knights lead to 36-34.

The game remained close until 60 seconds to go, when Vest charged up the baseline and delivered the layup that tied things up at 39 apiece.

Joshua James answered for Colony with a layup of his own just 12 seconds later, but Vest returned the favor with a drive to the rim that went in and tied the two teams at 41-41 with 32 seconds left.

Felchle said Vest struggled with shooting and ballhandling Friday, but when the time came, Vest stepped up his game.

“He played to win, not not to lose,” Felchle said.

On the ensuing Knights possession, Jackman made the crucial mistake of fouling Chamblee, one of Colony’s best shooters. Chamblee hit 1 of 2 to retake the lead, but Brazell was fouled by a Colony player on the subsequent rebound.

Brazell sank the first free throw to tie the game once again at 42 each, but missed the second. Connor Johnson, recently back from injury, grabbed the rebound and dished it back to Brazell, who connected on the go-ahead jumper.

Colony worked quickly on its next possession, finding space for Chamblee to drive the lane for a game-tying floater with 15 ticks on the clock.

After his fouling error, Jackman made up for his mistake on Kenai’s next opportunity. His shot from inside the arc banked off the glass and swished through with the scoreboard showing 2.2 seconds.

Felchle said he did not want to call a timeout in the final possession, but nearly did when he saw his team initially struggling to get to the basket.

“I almost called a timeout, but thank goodness I didn’t,” he said.

Felchle said he and his coaching staff had worked the Kenai players hard during the week in practice, making sure they were ready for the big weekend slate of NLC games.

“Coach has been preaching to us all week long, just hard work,” Vest said. “You can’t give up, and I think it really sunk in.”

Colony girls 36, Kenai 26

In the girls game, the Knights locked down on defense in the middle two periods of action to notch a Northern Lights Conference win at Kenai, giving the Knights a season sweep over the Kards.

After Kenai started fast en route to an 8-7 lead in the first quarter, Colony outscored the Kards 19-7 in the second and third quarters helped by Chase Stephens, who scored all of her game-high 11 points for Colony after the first quarter.

Colony improved to 6-1 in conference play and 11-6 overall. Kenai dropped to 3-4 in conference, 5-13 overall.

Against Valley squads this year, Kenai is 0-4, while the Kards have three wins against other NLC opponents. Senior Kenai guard Alexis Baker said the Valley opposition is not unbeatable, but Kenai needs a full 32 minutes of focus to get that elusive win.

“I don’t think Colony is anything spectacular, I just think that we didn’t really show up to play tonight,” Baker said. “We don’t necessarily plan to upset (current top seed) Wasilla, obviously we’d like to, but we just want to play our hardest and see what happens.

“But Colony we’d like to beat.”

Hannah Drury led the Kards with 10 points, while Baker chipped in eight. Baker helped lead another gritty defensive performance by the Kards, but it was offense that hurt the home team.

“We had a hard time breaking their half-court press,” Baker said.

Colony coach Jeff Bowker said many of the runs that the Knights had were helped by Kenai’s ballhandling. Several drives to the rim ended with the ball getting poked out of Kenai’s grasp and into the hands of the Knights.

“We weren’t scoring points off their defense, we were scoring off their offense,” he said. “We were getting turnovers and our advantage came in those brief runs.”

In the early minutes of the game, Kenai took the lead on a sequence of buckets by Lara Creighton, who managed to lay in a basket, then grab a steal on the Colony inbounds pass and knock down a jumper, all in the final 20 seconds of the quarter.

“We didn’t execute that well in the first half, and that’s what we talked about,” Bowker said. “They executed better in the second half, creating space so Chase (Stephens) could get looks.”

Colony led 17-10 at the half, then immediately built on that in the third quarter. Sophomore guard Alex Carlton stole the ball right after the second-half whistle and dished it to Amanda Smith, who laid it in for an easy bucket just eight seconds into the third quarter.

The Knights continued to thrive on Kenai turnovers and extended their lead to 26-11 midway through the third quarter, but Kenai wasn’t quitting yet.

Down to the 4:10 mark of the fourth quarter, Drury brought down the rebound on an Abby Beck 3-pointer miss and converted the layup to close the lead to 30-21.

A pair of made free throws by Drury with 1:40 left cut the gap to 32-25, but that would be as close as the Kards would get. Smith and Stephens combined to hit four foul shots in the final 1:19 to seal the win for Colony.

Wasilla girls 62, Kenai 24

The visiting Warriors cruised to a Northern Lights Conference victory Saturday.

Leya DePriest and McKenna Dinkel had 10 each for Wasilla. For Kenai, Lara Creighton had 11.

Wasilla boys 42, Kenai 36

The visiting Warriors won a defensive struggle against the Kardinals on Saturday in Northern Lights Conference action.

Kenai led 24-17 at halftime after holding Wasilla scoreless in the second quarter, but Wasilla won the second half 25-12.

Daniel Headdings had 12 points for the Warriors, while Aeron Milliron added 10. For Kenai, Josh Jackman had 11.

 

Friday girls

Knights 36, Kardinals 26

Colony 7 10 9 10 —36

Kenai 8 2 5 11 —26

COLONY (36) — Duguid 1 0-0 2, Smith 0 4-5 4, Clary 2 1-2 5, Lankford 1 0-1 2, Stephens 4 3-5 11, Perltier 0 0-0 0, Steiner 1 0-0 2, Carlton 1 3-4 5, Smith 2 1-2 5, Simpson 0 0-0 0. Totals 12 12-19 36.

KENAI (26) — Holmes 0 1-3 1, Drury 3 4-4 10, Steinbeck 1 1-2 3, Creighton 2 0-2 4, Baker 4 0-0 8, Booth 0 0-0 0, Beck 0 0-0 0, Satathite 0 0-0 0. Totals 10 6-11 26.

3-point goals — Colony 0; Kenai 0. Team fouls — Colony 18; Kenai 19. Fouled out — Drury, Creighton.

 

Friday boys

Kardinals 46, Knights 44

Colony 14 11 8 11 —44

Kenai 11 10 9 16 —46

COLONY (44) — James 4 1-2 9, Nygard 2 2-3 6, Neuner 1 1-2 3, Chamblee 7 1-2 18, Martin 0 1-2 1, Villastrigo 0 1-2 1, Nicholson 3 0-0 6, Menard 0 0-0 0, Pomerenke 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 7-13 44.

KENAI (46) — Ta. Landry 0 0-0 0, Ivy 3 0-2 8, Vest 3 1-3 7, Brazell 2 1-2 5, Tr. Landry 1 1-2 3, Jackman 4 1-2 10, Beiser 0 0-0 0, Fitt 3 1-2 7, Johnson 3 0-2 6. Totals 19 5-15 46.

3-point goals — Colony 3 (Chamblee 3); Kenai 3 (Ivy 2, Jackman 1). Team fouls — Colony 16; Kenai 12. Fouled out — Nicholson.

 

Saturday girls

Warriors 62, Kardinals 24

Wasilla 16 12 11 23 —62

Kenai 8 9 4 3 —24

WASILLA (62) — Kelly 1 2-2 4, Davies 3 0-0 7, Drorbaugh 2 0-2 4, Heath 1 0-0 2, Obemski 2 1-2 5, Baham 3 2-2 9, Lindeman 2 4-4 9, Wheeler 0 0-0 0, Dinkel 4 2-3 10, Green 1 0-0 2, DePriest 4 2-2 10. Totals — 23 13-17 62.

KENAI CENTRAL (24) — Calvert 0 0-0 0, Holmes 1 0-2 2, Drury 0 1-4 1, Steinbeck 0 1-6 1, Creighton 4 3-8 11, Baker 1 0-1 2, Booth 0 0-0 0, Morse 0 0-0 0, Ross 0 1-2 1, Beck 1 2-2 4, Satathite 0 2-2 2, Every 0 0-2 0. Totals — 7 10-29 24.

3-point goals — Wasilla 3 (Davies, Baham, Lindeman). Team fouls — Wasilla 22, Kenai 20. Fouled out — DePriest, Creighton, Beck.

 

Saturday boys

Warriors 42, Kardinals 36

Wasilla 17 0 13 12 —42

Kenai 13 11 4 8 —36

WASILLA (42) — Brown 2 3-4 7, Headdings 3 4-5 12, Devine 1 3-4 5, Houck 1 2-2 4, Milliron 3 3-5 10, Lee 2 0-0 4. Totals — 12 13-18 42.

KENAI CENTRAL (36) — Ta. Landry 0 0-0 0, Ivy 2 1-1 6, Vest 3 0-1 8, Brazell 2 0-0 5, Tr. Landry 0 0-0 0, Jackman 3 1-4 11, Beiser 0 0-0 0, Fitt 2 0-0 4, Johnsen 1 0-0 2. Totals — 13 3-6 36.

3-point goals — Wasilla 3 (Headdings 2, Milliron); Kenai (Vest 2, Jackman 2, Brazell). Team fouls — Wasilla 11, Kenai 17. Fouled out — none.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central guard Marshall Vest (center) dribbles the ball against Colony's Nolan Martin Friday at Kenai Central High School.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central guard Marshall Vest (center) dribbles the ball against Colony’s Nolan Martin Friday at Kenai Central High School.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central forward Alexis Baker works to beat Colony guard Amanda Smith (10) Friday at Kenai Central High School.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central forward Alexis Baker works to beat Colony guard Amanda Smith (10) Friday at Kenai Central High School.

More in Sports

tease
Saturday baseball: Soldotna topples Kenai for NLC title

The Soldotna baseball team defeated Kenai Central 2-1 on Saturday for the… Continue reading

tease
Saturday softball: Kodiak tops Soldotna to defend NLC title

The Kodiak softball team defeated Soldotna twice on Saturday at Palmer to… Continue reading

The Kenai Central High School girls celebrate after a goal by Katie Johnson during the ASAA Soccer Division II State Championships at Veterans Memorial Field in Wasilla, Alaska, on Saturday, May 25, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Central girls, Soldotna boys claim DII soccer titles

Both programs rise to top for 1st time

TEASE
Soldotna softball reaches NLC final, earns 1st state berth since 2017

The Soldotna softball team secured its first Division II state berth since… Continue reading

Soldotna senior Kaleb Swank dribbles around a West Anchorage defender Friday, April 5, 2019, at Soldotna's Justin Maile Field. (Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion)
It’s Kenai-Juneau girls, SoHi-Juneau boys for Division II state soccer titles

The Kenai Central and Juneau-Douglas: Yadaa.at Kale girls, and Soldotna and Juneau… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, Soldotna baseball will play for NLC title Saturday

The Kenai Central and Soldotna baseball teams will play for the Northern… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, SoHi, Homer girls; SoHi boys advance to DII state soccer semis

The Soldotna boys and SoHi, Kenai Central and Homer girls all advanced… Continue reading

tease
Kenai, Soldotna baseball advance to NLC semis

The Kenai Central and Soldotna baseball teams advanced to the semifinals of… Continue reading

Most Read