Kenai Central’s Denali Bernard keeps the ball from Nikiski’s Avery White and Destiny Langston on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Denali Bernard keeps the ball from Nikiski’s Avery White and Destiny Langston on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai girls, Nikiski boys notch league wins

The Kenai Central girls basketball team defeated Nikiski in Peninsula Conference play Tuesday, 49-20, putting the Kardinals at 14-6 overall and 5-2 in conference.

The Bulldogs moved to 1-18 overall and 0-6 in conference play.

Kenai head coach Jeff Swick said he was able to play the entirety of his bench to get them some exposure Tuesday night.

“We were trying to get everyone in the game and get some meaningful minutes,” he said. “One of our goals at the beginning of the year is have a game where everybody scored, and actually we got that today.”

Swick said the Bulldogs played tough defense Tuesday night, and that the score didn’t necessarily reflect the intensity of the game.

“Nikiski is a better team than their record shows, I really believe that they get after the ball on defense and we struggled at first getting anything kind of easily,” he said.

Rustin Hitchcock II, head coach of the Bulldogs, said he had the team switch defenses throughout the game.

“We threw six different defenses at them … and they adapted well,” he said. “We gave a lot of different defensive looks.”

Hitchcock II said Tuesday’s game got scrappy, and that sometimes those aggressive runs turn into turnovers.

“That’s just our Achilles’ heel,” he said.

Kenai led the whole game: 12-2 at the end of the first quarter, 25-6 at the half and 36-13 after the third.

Sophomore Emma Beck led the Kardinals with 17 points Tuesday night. Seniors Amber Nash and Erin Koziczkowski had six each, senior Denali Bernard and freshman Sierra Hershberger scored four each, and juniors Riley Sparks, Malerie Nunn, Shania McCanna and Emilee Wilson had two points each. Freshman Kate Wisnewski scored one point for the Kardinals.

Senior Kinlee Jeffreys was Nikiski’s top scorer with 12 points. Sophomore Avery White had six, and junior Savanna Stock and sophomore Shelby Burman each had a point for the Bulldogs.

Nikiski boys 52, Kenai 51

The Bulldogs boys got a big defensive stop in the final seconds to secure a Peninsula Conference victory and beat the Kardinals for the first time in four tries this season.

Nikiski moves to 2-4 in the league and 7-13 overall, while the Kards stand at 3-4 and 6-13.

The Bulldogs led 14-12 after the first quarter, but the Kards grabbed a 27-24 lead at the break. Nikiski led 40-33 headed to the final quarter.

Drew Handley paced the Bulldogs with 14 points, while Brady Bostic and Simon Grenier had nine, Braedon Porter had eight, Charlie Chamberlain had six, Dillon Hanson had five and Isaiah Daniels had one.

For the Kardinals, Jakob Kvasnikoff had 13, Caleb Litke had 12, Wade James had 11, Bridger Beck had seven, and Ky Calvert and Eli McCubbins each had four.

Nikiski’s Simon Grenier battles Kenai Central’s Eli McCubbins for the ball Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Simon Grenier battles Kenai Central’s Eli McCubbins for the ball Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, at Kenai Central High School in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

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