Kenai Central junior Adam Trujillo works to get a rebound against Palmer during the Northern Lights Conference Championships quarterfinals Thursday, March 8, 2018, at Wasilla High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/

Kenai Central junior Adam Trujillo works to get a rebound against Palmer during the Northern Lights Conference Championships quarterfinals Thursday, March 8, 2018, at Wasilla High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/

Kenai girls top SoHi; SoHi boys win, Kenai boys lose

  • By Staff Report
  • Thursday, March 8, 2018 11:52pm
  • Sports

It’s tough to beat a team three times.

The Soldotna girls became very aware of that Thursday at the Northern Lights Conference basketball tournament at Wasilla High School when Kenai Central toppled their close rivals 48-36 in a quarterfinal clash.

“These Kenai girls just worked today for 32 minutes,” said Kenai head coach Cary Calvert. “They stuck together. The goal was just to work hard.”

The victory for the fifth-seeded Kards over the fourth-seeded Stars moved Kenai into a semifinal meeting with No. 1 Wasilla tonight at 5 p.m., where the home crowd is sure to be in a frenzy. Soldotna dropped into the tournament fifth-place game against Kodiak today at 10 a.m. With no chance of automatic qualification and ranked 13th in the Winning Percentage Index, the Stars will not make the state tournament.

Soldotna had won the two previous meetings against Kenai this year, but in the third installment of the close rivalry, the Kardinals won with a strong defensive effort in the second quarter, holding the Stars to just two points. Kenai led 18-14 at halftime, then outscored SoHi 16-11 in the third quarter to pull out a 34-25 lead headed into the final eight minutes.

“They’re more than excited, they just got to feel a sense of accomplishment,” Calvert said. “Going 0-2 against SoHi and then beating them is a great sense of accomplishment.”

Junior guard Brooke Satathite pumped in 18 points and 14 rebounds to lead Kenai, including going 8 for 13 from the free-throw line and shooting 50 percent from the floor. Senior Lexy Carrasco scored 10 and Jaycie Calvert notched eight.

Calvert said junior guard Hayley Maw injected some energy into Kenai’s game with seven steals. Maw fouled out with two minutes to play, but her impact had been felt.

“She was just a different Hayley Maw,” Calvert said. “She set the tone for us.”

Kenai won the rebounding battle 36-30 and committed 20 turnovers to SoHi’s 24.

Calvert said in playing SoHi for a third time, the strategy changed from pressing and playing a man-to-man defense to a zone look on SoHi, and it appears the plan worked.

However, Calvert said playing a tough team like Wasilla requires every ounce of execution the Kardinals can muster. Kenai lost two contests to Wasilla this year with scores of 65-27 and 67-37.

“We can’t press them, we have to get back (on defense),” he said. “There’s really no game plan.”

Soldotna boys 70, Kodiak 41

The fourth-seeded Soldotna boys led wire to wire in a quarterfinal matchup against Kodiak on Thursday night at Wasilla.

The win moves the Stars into a semifinal with No. 1 Colony today at 3:15 p.m. Soldotna lost a pair of contests to the Knights this year 60-47 and 61-48.

Eli Sheridan shot 7 for 12 from the floor, including three 3-pointers, to finish with a game-high 19 points for SoHi, while Sam McElroy notched 12 and Luke Trammell hit 3 for 5 from beyond the arc to finish with 11. Also, Caleb Spence grabbed 10 boards and had eight points and Jersey Truesdell had nine rebounds to go with a 3-pointer.

Aside from a 20-13 second-quarter effort, Kodiak struggled to get its offense going. SoHi started fast, streaking out to a 22-8 lead in the first quarter and taking a 35-28 halftime lead.

The Stars continued their onslaught in the third quarter by outscoring the Bears 18-6 before capping off the win with a 17-7 fourth quarter. Kodiak struggled with a lengthy scoreless drought in the third.

Louis Rocheleau paced Kodiak with 15 points and Glenn Penamora chipped in 11.

SoHi had an easier time getting to the rim, shooting .491 from the floor, while Kodiak shot .356 on the night. The Stars also won the rebound battle 33-24 and committed just 10 turnovers to Kodiak’s 19.

Palmer boys 44, Kenai 27

WASILLA — Just more than a week ago, the Palmer Moose were forced to watch the Wasilla Warriors celebrate a buzzer-beater in a victory on their home floor.

Now, as Palmer and Wasilla share the bottom side of the region tournament bracket, the Moose knew they had a shot at a rematch. But the Moose also knew they couldn’t overlook their first-round opponent, Kenai Central.

Palmer senior Clayton Southwick used his 30-point night to lead Palmer to a 44-27 win over Kenai during the Northern Lights Conference Championships boys’ quarterfinals Thursday night at Wasilla High School.

Sixth-seeded Kenai entered the tournament without an NLC win during the regular season. But Southwick said Kenai is not the typical 0-10 team.

“They’re a really good team. They lost a couple of close games, but they’re a really good team,” Southwick said after the victory.

Southwick scored 30 of his team’s 44 points in the win, including 20 of Palmer’s 22 points in the first half. Southwick scored Palmer’s first seven of the game.

“It felt good to see the ball go in,” Southwick said of his start. The senior hit 11 of his 16 shots from the floor, and was 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Overall, Southwick said he felt the Moose moved the ball well on the offensive side of the floor.

“We played well on offense,” Southwick said.

And as always, defense was once again key for the Moose. Palmer held Kenai to 10 of 32 shooting, 3 of 16 from 3-point range. Palmer also outrebounded Kenai 28-13.

Southwick was not the only playing wearing the number 32 who stood out Thursday. Kenai’s No. 32, senior Luke Beiser, scored 16 of his team’s 27.

“They’ve got a really good player,” Southwick said of Beiser. “He’s going to get his.”

With the win, Palmer moves forward to face defending NLC champion Wasilla, the No. 2 seed, Friday at 6:45 p.m. in the semifinals. Southwick said the Moose are excited to face a Wasilla squad that used a Reilly Devine buzzer-beater to edge the Moose 36-35 last week.

“Those are the games we live for,” Southwick said.

Southwick said the buzzer-beater certainly adds to Friday’s meeting.

“It has too. When they win on a last-second shot on our home floor, it motivates us a little extra,” Southwick said.

Kenai will meet fifth-seeded Kodiak Friday at 11:45 a.m. in the fifth place game. With no chance of automatic or at-large qualification, Kenai will not go to state.

Jeremiah Bartz contributed the Kenai-Palmer boys capsule. Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman sports editor Jeremiah Bartz at

Thursday girls

Kardinals 48, Stars 36

Kenai 11 7 16 14 —48

Soldotna 12 2 11 11 —36

KENAI (48) — Calvert 3 0-0 8, Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Maw 1 2-2 4, Erlich 0 0-0 0, Hanson 2 2-4 6, Paxton 1 0-0 2, Carrasco 4 0-1 10, Satathite 5 8-13 18, Streiff 0 0-0 0, Severson 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 12-20 48.

SOLDOTNA (36) — McGillivray 0 2-4 2, Miller 2 0-0 6, Blossom 2 2-4 8, A. Schmidt 4 1-2 9, Holland 0 0-0 0, Wurst 1 0-0 2, Schneider 1 0-2 2, D. Schmidt 1 5-8 7. Totals 11 10-20 36.

3-point goals — Kenai 4 (Calvert 2, Carrasco 2); Soldotna 4 (Miller 2, Blossom 2).

Team fouls — Kenai 15, Soldotna 16. Fouled out — Maw, Hanson, D. Schmidt.

Thursday boys

Stars 70, Bears 41

Kodiak 8 20 6 7 —41

Soldotna 22 13 18 17 —70

KODIAK (41) — Giron 1 0-0 2, Rocheleau 7 1-2 15, Penamora 3 2-2 11, Galindao 2 0-0 5, Abellera 1 1-2 3, Parnell 0 0-0 0, Walker 2 0-3 5, Nocon 0 0-0 0, Macaraig 0 0-0 0. Totals 16 4-9 41.

SOLDOTNA (70) — Truesdell 1 0-0 3, Trammell 4 0-0 11, Spence 4 0-0 8, Miller 0 0-0 0, Hanson 0 0-0 0, Sheridan 7 2-2 19, Crowder 1 0-0 3, Tuisaula 3 1-2 7, Michael 2 1-2 5, McElroy 5 2-4 12, Kant 0 2-2 2, Chumley 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 8-12 70.

3-point goals — Kodiak 5 (Penamora 3, Galindao 1, Walker 1); Soldotna 8 (Trammell 3, Sheridan 3, Truesdell 1, Crowder 1).

Team fouls — Kodiak 9, Soldotna 15. Fouled out — none.

Moose 44, Kardinals 27

Kenai 4 11 7 5 —27

Palmer 13 9 14 8 —44

KENAI CENTRAL (27) — Felchle 3 0-0 8, Beiser 6 4-4 16, Strende 1 0-0 3; Totals: 10 4-6 44.

PALMER (44) — Atkins 1 0-0 2, Titus 1 0-0 2, Hawkins 2 2-2 6, Rankin 1 0-0 2, Southwick 11 4-7 30, Oviok 1 0-0 2; Totals: 17 6-9 44.

Palmer senior Clayton Southwick tries to split a pair of defenders, Kenai Central’s Zack Tuttle and Adam Trujillo, during the Northern Lights Conference quarterfinals Thursday, March 8, 2018, at Wasilla High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/

Palmer senior Clayton Southwick tries to split a pair of defenders, Kenai Central’s Zack Tuttle and Adam Trujillo, during the Northern Lights Conference quarterfinals Thursday, March 8, 2018, at Wasilla High School. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/

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