Houston’s Emily Bitler battles with Nikiski’s Kaycee Bostic for the rebound as Houston’s Denali Whitted watches Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Houston’s Emily Bitler battles with Nikiski’s Kaycee Bostic for the rebound as Houston’s Denali Whitted watches Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski girls, Houston boys get conference wins

The Nikiski and Houston basketball teams split a pair of Southcentral Conference games Friday in Nikiski.

The Bulldogs girls eventually broke free in a tight defensive battle for a 44-25 triumph that put them at 12-8 overall and 4-1 in the league. The Hawks boys used a swarming defense and opportune offense for a 62-43 win that put them at 8-9 overall and 3-2 in the league.

The score of the girls game was 9-3 for Nikiski after the first quarter, 16-8 after two quarters and 19-13 after three quarters. The points finally got flowing in the fourth when both teams spent a lot of time at the foul line. Houston committed 27 fouls in the game, while Nikiski had 23.

Nikiski coach Rustin Hitchcock said Houston’s physical play on defense definitely was a challenge for his squad.

“They’re big, super strong and the game plan is to get right in your face,” Hitchcock said. “Our offense got a little stagnant.”

Houston coach Mat Bredberg said his squad was not scoring for the simplest of reasons — the Hawks were not making shots.

“We didn’t put the round thing in the round thing,” Bredberg said. “That’s what you’ve gotta do. In the first half, we kept them under 20 points, we just didn’t make shots.”

In the fourth quarter, fouls caught up with the Hawks as Denali Whitted, Hanna Elson and Emily Bitler all fouled out. Tika Zimmerman fouled out for Nikiski, but nobody else had more than three fouls.

“Ultimately, it was our depth,” Hitchcock said. “We just had more people.”

Nikiski was 15 for 27 from the line in the final eight minutes, while Houston was 5 of 14.

America Jeffreys paced a balanced Nikiski attack with 12 points, while Denali Whitted led Houston with eight.

Hitchcock also gave credit to Kaycee Bostic for a rough and tumble game where she absorbed many fouls.

Houston boys 62, Nikiski 43

The Hawks grabbed a 17-7 lead after the first quarter and managed to shut down any run Nikiski made to make the game close after that.

Houston went with a man or zone press for the full court the whole game. Nikiski coach Reid Kornstad said his squad got the ball over the half-court stripe just fine, but then the pressure began to add up.

“They were pressing all over the floor and that led to some turnovers,” Kornstad said. “The pressure also led us to take some shots we wouldn’t otherwise take.”

An offensive attack led by the crafty Noah Litke, who paced the Bulldogs with 18 points, did spark several runs at the Hawks. Nikiski got the lead to single digits in the second quarter before Houston went on a run to lead 33-15 at the half.

Kornstad said his team was hurt by not getting defensive stops when they were important. Nikiski also had 17 fouls to Houston’s 10, even though Houston was the one pressing.

“They’ve got guys that can score,” Kornstad said of the Hawks, who have beaten the Bulldogs three times this year. “They’ve got shooters, they’ve got a big guy and they’re well-coached.

“They’ve improved a ton over the course of the year.”

Kyle McLaughlin, at 6-foot-6, had 15 points for the Hawks, while guards Hayden Howard and Cody Wyrick had 18 and 16, respectively.

Houston coach Ted Van Dussen said his team still has improving to do. The Hawks have had problems starting the second half all season. Friday, Nikiski cut the 33-15 halftime deficit to 42-28 by 2:34 left in the third quarter.

“We’re battling a lapse in intensity,” Van Dussen said. “We’ve got to get a little better at putting the pedal down when we have another team down.”

The coach also said his team suffers lulls on offense when the ball doesn’t get in to McLaughlin.

Michael Mysing added eight points for the Bulldogs. Kornstad gave him credit for a defensive game where his motor was constantly running.

Redington girls 36, Nikiski 32

The visiting Huskies knocked the Bulldogs down to 12-9 overall and 4-2 in conference play.

Redington led 9-4 after a quarter, 17-8 at halftime and 23-16 after three quarters.

Lexi Seymore had 18 points for the Huskies, while Nikiski got 17 from Lillian Carstens, eight from America Jeffreys, four from Kaitlyn Johnson, two from Kaycee Bostic and one from Elora Reichert.

Redington boys 63, Nikiski 55

The visiting Huskies took an 18-10 lead after the first quarter and held on for a Southcentral Conference victory.

Redington led 29-24 at the half and 49-39 after three quarters. Ruben Bord paced Redington with 23, while Wayde Bowman had 15 and Tony Rogers had 11. For the Bulldogs, Drew Handley had 19, Austin Stafford had 16, Noah Litke had 14, and Michael Mysing, Simon Grenier and Brady Bostic had two points apiece.

Friday girls

Bulldogs 44, Hawks 25

Houston 3 5 5 12 —25

Nikiski 9 7 3 25 —44

HOUSTON (25) — D. Whitted 8, Rusher 2, Elson 6, Bitler 2, A. Whitted 7.

NIKISKI (44) — A. Jeffreys 12, Carstens 8, Bostic 5, Zimmerman 1, Nunley 7, S. Epperheimer 4, Freeman 3, Puente 1, Mullin 2, Jeffreys 1.

3-point goals — Houston 1 (Elson); Nikiski 3 (A. Jeffreys 2, Freeman).

Friday boys

Hawks 62, Bulldogs 43

Houston 17 16 10 19 —62

Nikiski 7 8 16 12 —43

HOUSTON (62) — Cork 3, L. Taylor 3, Howard 18, Wyrick 16, C. Taylor 4, Falaniko 1, Jefferson 2, McLauglin 15.

NIKISKI (43) — Mysing 8, Litke 18, Stafford 8, Bostic 4, Handley 5.

3-point goals — Houston 3 (Howard 3); Nikiski 7 (Litke 3, Mysing 2, Stafford, Handley).

Houston’s Kyle McLaughlin makes a layup while being fouled by Nikiski’s Noah Litke on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Niksiki High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Houston’s Kyle McLaughlin makes a layup while being fouled by Nikiski’s Noah Litke on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Niksiki High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Elora Reichert tries to evade the pressure of Houston’s Denali Whitted, Anna Whitted, Emily Bitler and Hanna Elson on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Elora Reichert tries to evade the pressure of Houston’s Denali Whitted, Anna Whitted, Emily Bitler and Hanna Elson on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Austin Stafford drives against Houston’s Landon Taylor and Hunter Jefferson on Friday, Feb. 22, 2020, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Austin Stafford drives against Houston’s Landon Taylor and Hunter Jefferson on Friday, Feb. 22, 2020, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

More in Sports

Soldotna's Erika Arthur skis to victory Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at the second day of Kenai Peninsula Borough ski meet at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area ski teams set for state

Kenai Central coach Brad Nyquist and Soldotna coach Isaac Erhardt have no… Continue reading

Soldotna's Morgan Bouschor looks for an outlet pass under pressure from Seward's Shelby Sieminski as Soldotna's Taylor Edwards looks on at Soldotna High School on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Hoops roundup: SoHi notches senior night sweep

The host Soldotna girls basketball team celebrated senior night on Tuesday by… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Peter Morgan makes a pass against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears move into tie for division lead

Staff report The Kenai River Brown Bears returned to their temporary home… Continue reading

tease
Ninilchik boys take 7th straight win

The host Ninilchik basketball team defeated Homer’s junior varsity 73-68 on Monday.… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forwards Laudon Poellinger and Peter Morgan battle with Brendan Ogle and Jaden Grant of the Chippewa (Wisconsin) Steel on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears lose in shootout to Wilderness

The visiting Kenai River Brown Bears lost 3-2 in a shootout to… Continue reading

The women’s field takes to the course Tuesday, July 4, 2017, at the Mount Marathon Race in Seward, Alaska. Eventual winner Allie Ostrander is to the right of Christy Marvin (1). (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Mount Marathon Race moved to July 7

The Mount Marathon Race Committee announced Friday that the 2021 edition of… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Theo Thrun brings the puck up the ice on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, against the Minnesota Magicians at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Bears snap 7-game losing streak

The Kenai River Brown Bears snapped a seven-game losing streak by defeating… Continue reading

The Homer hockey team celebrates the Division II state championship Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at the Curtis Mendard Sports Complex in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Tim Rockey/Frontiersman)
Homer hockey defends Division II state title

For veteran members of the Homer High School hockey team, Saturday’s ASAA… Continue reading

Soldotna's Quinn Cox poles ahead of Tyler Hippchen and Jack Laker on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, at the second day of the Kenai Peninsula Borough ski championships at Tsalteshi Trails just outside of Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna’s Cox, Kenai’s Boonstra take borough ski titles

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion Kenai Central sophomore Jayna Boonstra and Soldotna… Continue reading

Most Read