The host Kenai Central girls basketball team snapped a seven-game losing streak by defeating Nikiski 29-27 on Monday in Southcentral Conference action.
The Kardinals boys later completed the sweep with a 55-54 victory over the Bulldogs.
The Kardinals girls had been going through a tough stretch that saw them down three starters at times. Sophomore Logan Satathite was lost for the season in the middle of the streak with a knee injury, then starters Damaris Severson and Jaiden Streiff missed the last two games due to a choir trip to Arizona.
With the junior varsity out of town for the last two games, Kenai head coach Jeff Swick said Kenai actually used some C team players, and added the players did a pretty good job.
“It was a really good team win, especially to end the losing streak,” Swick said after moving to 3-1 in the league. “It was nice getting everybody back.”
The tight, defensive battle went to the final minute tied at 27. After America Jeffreys missed for Nikiski with 40 seconds left, Streiff hit a driving layup for the Kardinals with 25 seconds left.
Swick said Streiff has been making nice drives in the game, but had been looking to pass.
“I told her to look to shoot,” Swick said. “She picked a good time to do it.”
After Bailey Epperheimer missed for Nikiski with 16 seconds left, the Bulldogs fouled Taylor Pierce with 11 seconds left and she missed the front end of the bonus.
Nikiski called timeout with 6.8 seconds left and got Lillian Carstens an open 3-pointer in the corner, but she missed.
“On that last shot, my heart stopped beating,” Swick said.
Nikiski coach Rustin Hitchcock said the final play and final minute was a good representation of the game. He said Carstens played hard the whole game, as did his whole team, hitting the floor for loose balls whenever possible.
He also said his team executed the whole game, just as the squad did on that last play. Hitchcock said America Jeffreys was great at point guard, and Bailey Epperheimer used aggressiveness to play one of her best games.
“The shots we normally hit just weren’t going in,” Hitchcock said after falling to 3-1 in the league.
Kenai scored 23 points in the first half, but just six in the second half after Nikiski went to a tightly packed zone. However, Kenai’s 1-3-1 defense held Nikiski to under 10 points each quarter.
“That’s our bread and butter,” Swick said. “We’re forcing teams to beat us. We know they have shooters, but they weren’t hitting shots tonight.”
Kenai boys 55, Nikiski 54
The Kardinals held on for a Southcentral Conference victory Monday.
Kenai led 17-12 after the first quarter, but Nikiski grabbed a 30-29 lead at halftime. The Kardinals went back up 45-39 after three quarters.
Evan Stockton paced Kenai with 23 points, while Braedon Pitsch added 20. For the Bulldogs, Noah Litke poured in 28 points.
Ninilchik girls 47, Kodiak ESS 45, OT
The host Wolverines topped Kodiak ESS in a dramatic Peninsula Conference game on Monday.
The game was close throughout, with quarter scores never more than two points apart from each other.
For Ninilchik, Jade Robuck had 14 points, Madi Cooper had 10, Rachael Okonek had nine, Autumn Calabrese had six, Mia Denboer had four and Rian Ofstad had two. Teanna Amodo paced Kodiak with 24 points.
The Ninilchik boys topped Homer JV 58-46 on Monday.
Kardinals 29, Bulldogs 27
Nikiski 9 8 6 4 —27
Kenai 9 14 2 4 —29
NIKISKI (27) — Jeffreys 4, Reichert 3, Carstens 6, Bostic 5, Johnson 3, Zimmerman 0, B. Epperheimer 6, Freeman 0.
KENAI CENTRAL (29) — Morris 5, Koziczkowski 0, Pierce 0, Hamilton 8, Keyes 0, Hanson 2, Streiff 6, Severson 8, Nash 0, Lauritsen 0.
3-point goals — Nikiski 1 (Reichert 1).
Kardinals 55, Bulldogs 54
Nikiski 12 18 9 15 —54
Kenai 17 12 16 10 —55
NIKISKI (54) — Mysing 7, Litke 28, White 3, Malston 2, Stafford 8, C. Payne 4, Handley 2.
KENAI CENTRAL (55) — Dunham 3, McKibben 0, Baisden 2, Bezdecny 4, Stockton 23, Pitsch 20, Daniels 3.