Kenai Central’s Sierra Hershberger shoots against Nikiski’s Kinlee Jeffreys on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Sierra Hershberger shoots against Nikiski’s Kinlee Jeffreys on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai sweeps Nikiski Tip Off titles

The Kenai girls and boys swept the titles at the 30th Annual Rus Hitchcock Nikiski Tip Off Tournament on Saturday at Nikiski.

The Kardinals girls rolled up a 3-0 record while taking their title, while Bethel was second at 2-1.

The title for the Kardinals boys was closer and more dramatic.

Kenai, Bethel and Nikiski all finished 2-1 at the tournament.

After Kenai defeated Colony JV early Saturday to move to 2-1, Bethel was 2-0 heading into the night game with Nikiski. The Bulldogs were still alive for the title, having to defeat the Warriors and hold them to 34 points or less to win the tiebreaker of points allowed.

The Bulldogs notched a 44-36 win in double overtime, but a late 3-pointer by Bethel’s Greg Turner that would have been meaningless in any other context was enough to push the title to Kenai. Nikiski was second.

Kenai Central girls 34, Lumen Christi 27

The Kardinals erased a halftime deficit to pick up the Saturday victory and move to 6-2 overall.

The Archangels led 12-9 after the first quarter and 19-15 at halftime, but Kenai had a 27-23 advantage by the end of three quarters.

Emma Beck paced the Kards with 18 points, while Logan Satathite pitched in with 13. Also for Kenai, Shania McCanna had two and Denali Bernard had one.

For Lumen, Natalie Grubba had 16, Amara Warren had nine and Leyla Tiernan had two.

Kenai Central boys 47, Colony JV 28

The Kardinals improved to 3-5 overall with the Saturday win by winning a second straight game.

Kenai led 12-6 after the first quarter and 25-14 at halftime.

Caleb Litke had 11 to pace the Kardinals, while Jakob Kvasnikoff added 10. Wade James and Luke Armstrong had nine apiece, while Sam Baisden, Hayden Hanson, Griff Gray and Roc Riggle all added two.

For Colony JV, Brady Reaves, Brayden Parrent and Evan Hernandez each had six, Aidan Maad had four, and Ridge Spencer, Trevor Jamison and Caleb Hilty all had two.

Bethel girls 44, Nikiski 34

The Warriors dropped the Bulldogs to 0-6 overall with the Saturday victory.

The game was tied at 13 after a quarter, but the Warriors led 26-21 at the half and 32-26 after three quarters.

Ava Lieb had 12 points for Bethel, while Isabel Lieb and Bryn Garrison had nine, Fiona Phelan had six, Kate Smith had five, Trisha Egoak had two and Payton Boney had one.

A very balanced Nikiski attack had Savanna Stock and Avery White with six, Ashlynne Playle with five, Kinlee Jeffreys with four, Kailey Stynsberg, Destiny Langston and Emma Weeks with three, and Rylee Ellis and Brooke Abel with two.

Nikiski boys 44, Bethel 36, 2 OT

The Bulldogs moved to 5-5 overall with the wild double overtime victory Saturday.

Nikiski led 11-9 after the first quarter, 19-13 at halftime and 29-22 after three, but the Warriors rallied to send it to overtime. Both teams then scored three in the first overtime.

Brady Bostic had 19 for Nikiski, while Drew Handley and Charlie Chamberlain each had seven. Also for the Bulldogs, Simon Grenier had four, Isaiah Daniels and Braeden Porter each had three, and Seth Payne added one.

For Bethel, Peter Crow had 18, Greg Turner had 10, Mason Fitka had four, and Paul Dyment and Mathew Fredericks each had two.

Kenai Central girls 42, Nikiski 19

Friday, Emma Beck had 27 points — all in the first three quarters — to lead Kenai.

The Bulldogs came out and caused some immediate havoc with a press.

“Nikiski came out fired up and ready to go,” Kenai Central girls coach Jeff Swick said. “It was the kind of pressure that’s hard to simulate in practice.”

Kinlee Jeffreys was giving the Kardinals particular trouble, but she picked up three fouls in the first quarter. Nikiski girls coach Rustin Hitchcock said the first six minutes of the game was the best his team has played all season.

“We threw some things at them in the first quarter, but we just got gassed,” Hitchcock said. “Each game we’re getting better, showing positive energy and working hard.”

Beck had eight points in the first quarter as the Kardinals led 10-7 after eight minutes. Beck had 21 points by halftime and Kenai led 27-8.

“Emma did a good job of being a big target down there,” Swick said. “When she gets in that zone, she can unstoppable, and you saw a little bit of that tonight.”

Swick also was happy with Amber Nash, who finished with four points.

“She was our defensive dynamo again,” Swick said. “She just goes in there, sets the tone, and everybody else just follows suit. When I put her in, I can count on her to get everyone fired up.”

Also for Kenai, Erin Koziczkowski had five and Malerie Nunn, Logan Satathite and Kate Wisnewski each had two.

For Nikiski, Kailey Stynsberg had seven, Emma Weeks had six, Rylee Ellis had three, Shelby Burman had two and Jeffreys had one.

Hitchcock was impressed with the scoring of Stynsberg, a freshman. He also like the play of Rylee Ellis, Savanna Stock, Emma Weeks and Avery White, though he said everybody played well against the Kardinals.

Kenai Central boys 42, Nikiski 31

The Kardinals won Friday for the second time this season, with those first two victories coming against the Bulldogs.

Kenai took a 13-3 lead after the first quarter and was able to keep that cushion for most of the contest.

Jakob Kvasnikoff paced the Kardinals with 14 points, while Wade James had 11, Joe Hamilton and Luke Armstrong each had six, Bridger Beck had three and Sam Baisden had two.

For Nikiski, Braeden Porter had 10, Brady Bostic had eight, Charlie Chamberlain had six, Isaiah Daniels had three, and Simon Grenier and Drew Handley each had two.

Bethel girls 40, Lumen Christi 23

The Warriors received 12 points from Ava Lieb in taking the Friday contest. Natalie Grubba had 13 points to pace the Archangels.

Bethel boys 61, Colony JV 52

Peter Crow pumped in 31 points to lead the Warriors to Friday victory, while Greg Turner added 11. For Colony JV, Brayden Parrent had 18 and Brady Reaves added 15.

The free-throw champs at the tournament were David Weathers of Nikiski and Kailey Stynsberg of Nikiski. The 3-point champs were Jakob Kvasnikoff of Kenai and Logan Satathite of Kenai. The hot shot competitions went to the Nikiski boys and Lumen Christi girls, while the post-up competition went to Nikiski’s Brady Bostic and Lumen’s Natalie Grubba.

The tournament MVP players were Brady Bostic of Nikiski and Emma Beck of Kenai, while the Scrappy awards went to Peter Crow of Bethel and Rylee Ellis of Nikiski.

On the boys all-tournament team were Bethel’s Crow, Colony’s Brady Reaves, Nikiski’s Braden Porter, Kenai’s Jakob Kvasnikoff and Bethel’s Paul Dyment.

On the girls all-tournament team were Lumen’s Natalie Grubba, Kenai’s Logan Satathite, Lumen’s Amara Warren, Bethel’s Ava Lieb and Bethel’s Leah Sosa.

The sportsmanship awards went to the Bethel boys and Lumen Christi girls.

Kenai Central’s Wade James loses the ball in front of Nikiski’s Brady Bostic on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Wade James loses the ball in front of Nikiski’s Brady Bostic on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Erin Koziczkowski goes up for a shot against Nikiski on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Central’s Erin Koziczkowski goes up for a shot against Nikiski on Friday, Jan. 14, 2022, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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