Kenai girls, boys lose state openers

The Kenai girls and boys basketball teams lost their opening games at the Class 3A state tournament Wednesday at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.

The Kenai girls, the No. 7 seed, lost to No. 2 Monroe Catholic 53-27. Kenai coach Jeff Swick said in a text message that his team’s 25 turnovers took down the Kardinals (16-13 overall).

Emma Beck was able to put together a game-high 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Kardinals. Miranda Wilkerson paced the Rams with 12 points.

The Kardinals now play No. 6 Valdez at noon today for a spot in the fourth-sixth place game Friday. Kenai and Valdez have not yet played this season.

The Kenai boys, the No. 5 seed, took a 43-37 loss to No. 4 Mt. Edgecumbe to fall to 15-13 overall.

The Kardinals had a 20-11 lead in the second quarter in the effort to avenge two losses to the Braves this season. However, Mt. Edgecumbe made a run at the end of the first half to trail 20-17.

“Our kids played hard,” Kenai boys head coach Nolan Rose wrote in a text message. “We controlled the first 14 minutes of the game but a couple turnovers to end the first half gave Edgecumbe some juice.”

Mt. Edgecumbe then won the third quarter 10-3 to take a 27-23 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been a poor third quarter team all season and this morning was no different,” Rose wrote. “Hard to win a state tournament game with a three-point quarter.”

Kenai would trim the lead throughout the fourth quarter, but was never able to get back to even.

“We had chances,” Rose wrote. “We just fell short.”

Wade James led the Kardinals’ effort with 11 points, while Kaison Hermann had 18 points for the Braves.

Also for Kenai, Jakob Kvasnikoff had nine, Daniel McRorie had seven, Bridger Beck had six, Luke Armstrong had two, and Roc Riggle and Carnell Gump had one.

Also for Mt. Edgecumbe, Jacob Friske had nine, Miles Bourdukofsky had eight, Ranen Wassillie had four, and Thomas Mack and Tyrell Cromer each had two.

Kenai plays No. 8 Delta at 10:30 a.m. today for a spot in the fourth-sixth place game. The Kardinals have not played Delta this season.

“We can get a win tomorrow if our shot decisions improve,” Rose said. “We’ve got to work hard to create easier shots. We do that and we’ll win the game.”

Also in the boys tournament, No. 1 Grace Christian defeated Delta 68-36, No. 2 Nome-Beltz defeated No. 7 Barrow 65-50 and No. 3 Houston played No. 6 Valdez in the late game.

Today, the Houston-Valdez loser plays Barrow at 10:30 a.m. for a spot in the fourth-sixth place game, Grace plays Mt. Edgecumbe at 6:15 p.m. in the semifinals, and Nome plays the Houston-Valdez winner in the 7:45 p.m. semifinal.

Also in the girls tournament, No. 1 Grace defeated No. 8 Bethel 56-26, No. 4 Barrow nipped No. 5 Sitka 47-45 and No. 3 Mt. Edgecumbe topped Valdez 49-34.

Today, Sitka and Bethel play at noon to get to the fourth-sixth place game. The semifinals are Grace vs. Barrow at 4:45 p.m. and Mt. Edgecumbe vs. Monroe at 3:15 p.m.

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