Nikiski’s Kelsey Clark brings the ball up the court against Kenai Central’s Jaycie Calvert on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Kelsey Clark brings the ball up the court against Kenai Central’s Jaycie Calvert on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski girls, Kenai boys notch wins

Down 14 points with five seconds to play Thursday night, Nikiski boys basketball coach Reid Kornstad called timeout to the bewilderment of the home crowd.

The message wasn’t lost on Kenai Central head coach Ken Felchle, however, who knew that Kornstad was sending a message to his team, and an important one at that.

“The message he was sending was, ‘I’m going to coach you all the way to the end,’” Felchle said. “That team’s going to work hard the entire game.”

Ultimately, the Kardinals wrapped up a 54-40 nonconference win over Nikiski to forge a split between the schools on the night. Earlier, the Nikiski girls dominated in a 52-29 clash with Kenai.

While the game was out of hand for the Bulldogs in the final minutes, the message still wasn’t lost as Nikiski rallied back from a 28-point deficit in the third quarter to cut Kenai’s lead to 12 halfway through the fourth.

Felchle credited Nikiski’s fortitude in sticking with its Class 4A opponents, one level up from the Class 3A Bulldogs.

“It got closer than I’d like,” he said.

Senior Luke Beiser scored a game-high 21 points for Kenai and Norwegian exchange student Preben Strende pitched in 18, including going 6 for 6 from the free throw line. Nikiski’s Ian Johnson led Nikiski with 13 points while Jace Kornstad had 11.

Until the late run, Kenai held the upper hand. The Kards (4-1 overall) streaked out to a 14-1 lead by the end of the first quarter, getting seven points from Beiser. The Kenai forward ended with 15 points by halftime, when Kenai led 32-10.

The Kards pushed their lead to 38-10 with 5:24 left in the third quarter, but Nikiski wasn’t done yet. With Beiser on the bench for much of the quarter, the Bulldogs stormed back by opening up their 3-point game, getting shots behind the arc from Kornstad and Noah Litke.

Nikiski cut the lead to 42-28 with 6:20 left in the fourth quarter, and a 3-pointer from Kornstad with 4:28 left made it a 46-34 game, but time ran out for the home team. Kenai hosts Soldotna on Jan. 16, while Nikiski travels to Houston Jan. 11.

Nikiski girls 52, Kenai 29

The Bulldogs led wire to wire in a nonconference showdown between peninsula rivals Thursday night at Nikiski High.

Kelsey Clark scored a game-high 16 points for Nikiski, while Bethany Carstens chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds. Jaycie Calvert hit three 3s to notch 11 points for Kenai.

“This Nikiski team … we struggled for an answer against them,” said Kenai head coach Cary Calvert. “They shut down our offense, and we played well, but Nikiski just doesn’t give you any confidence.”

Nikiski improves to 6-1 overall with the win, while Kenai dropped to 5-3.

Bulldogs head coach Scott Anderson praised Kenai’s effectiveness against the Bulldogs, a Class 3A power that has sights set on a state run.

“Kenai’s really quick, but they had problems getting passing lanes,” Anderson said. “It really gave us a great chance to get better.”

The night started quick for the Bulldogs with a quick steal by Kaitlyn Johnson that set up a corner 3-pointer by Carstens. Another steal on the other end put Johnson in position for a transition layup and a 5-0 lead just 42 seconds into the game.

Nikiski led 11-1 halfway through the first quarter and 24-9 by the 5:28 point of the second. The lead stood at 29-15 at halftime.

The Kardinals fought back in the third quarter with buckets from Liz Hanson and Calvert that cut the lead to 31-19, but a shot from deep by Emma Wik at the third-quarter buzzer put Nikiski up 40-21.

Homer boys 59, Bethel 52

The Mariners used a solid effort at the foul line to hold off the Warriors on the first day of the Lime Solar/Pepsi Tournament at Anchorage Christian Schools.

Homer moves on to play East, which took care of North Pole 79-31, in the semifinals at 5:30 p.m. today.

Homer trailed 25-24 at halftime, but took a 39-33 lead after three quarters. The Warriors put the Mariners on the free-throw line 12 times in the final quarter, and Homer made 11 of those attempts to finish 14 of 15 from the line in the game.

Koby Etzwiler was 9 of 10 from the line in the final eight minutes, scoring 12 points in the quarter and 29 for the game. Jordan Beachy added 19 for the Mariners.

Clevon Constantine powered the Warriors with 22 points, while John Fredericks had 16.

Barrow girls 59, Seward 25

The Whalers cruised past the Seahawks in the first round of the round-robin Mt. McKinley Bank Holiday Classic at Monroe Catholic in Fairbanks.

Seward led 10-9 after the first quarter, but Barrow had a 27-19 lead by halftime and won the second half 30-6.

Riley Von Borstel led Seward with eight points.

The Seahawks continue play by facing Monroe Catholic at 6:20 p.m. today and Grace Christian at noon Saturday.

Thursday boys

Kardinals 54, Bulldogs 40

Kenai 14 18 10 12 —54

Nikiski 1 9 13 17 —40

KENAI (54) — R. Riddall 0 0-0 0, Efta 1 1-2 3, Felchle 0 0-0 0, Baker 2 1-2 5, Bezdecny 0 0-0 0, Tuttle 0 0-0 0, T. Riddall 0 1-2 1, Beiser 9 2-3 21, Goodman 1 2-2 4, Trujillo 1 0-0 2, Strende 5 6-6 18. Totals 19 13-17 54.

NIKISKI (40) — Johnson 4 5-10 13, Kornstad 3 2-2 11, Litke 0 0-0 0, Handley 1 3-7 5, N. Litke 2 0-0 6, Mysing 0 0-0 0, DeSiena 0 0-0 0, Eiter 1 3-5 5. Totals 11 13-24 40.

3-point goals — Kenai 3 (Strende 2, Beiser 1); Nikiski 5 (Kornstad 3, N. Litke 2).

Team fouls — Kenai 17; Nikiski 14. Fouled out — Handley.

Mariners 59, Warriors 52

Homer 16 8 15 20 — 59

Bethel 14 11 8 19 — 52

HOMER (59) — C. Beachy 0 0-0 0, Etzwiler 8 11-12 29, Adkins 2 0-0 4, Reutov 0 0-0 0, Carroll 1 3-3 5, Anderson 0 0-0 0, J. Beachy 8 0-0 19, McGee 1 0-0 2. Totals — 20 14-15 59.

BETHEL (52) — Daniel 2 5-6 9, Mortensen 0 0-0 0, Crow 0 0-4 0, Garrison 0 3-4 3, Constantine 8 3-5 22, Poe 1 0-0 2, Fredericks 6 3-3 16. Totals — 18 14-22 52.

3-point goals — Homer 5 (J. Beachy 3, Etzwiler 2); Bethel 4 (Constantine 3, Fredericks). Team fouls — Homer 18, Bethel 12. Fouled out — Reutov.

Thursday girls

Bulldogs 52, Kardinals 29

Kenai 10 9 6 8 —29

Nikiski 19 10 11 12 —52

KENAI (29) — Calvert 4 0-2 11, Hamilton 0 0-0 0, Maw 0 0-0 0, Eurlich 0 0-0 0, Hanson 2 1-2 5, Paxton 1 0-2 2, Carrasco 2 0-0 4, Satathite 2 1-3 5, Streiff 0 0-0 0, Severson 1 0-0 2. Totals 12 2-9 29.

NIKISKI (52) — Jeffreys 1 0-0 2, Wik 3 0-0 7, L. Carstens 2 0-0 4, Johnson 3 0-0 6, B. Carstens 5 4-4 15, Epperheimer 0 0-0 0, Clark 4 6-7 16, Druesedow 0 0-0 0, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Zimmerman 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 10-11 52.

3-point goals — Kenai 3 (Calvert 3); Nikiski 4 (Clark 2, Wik 1, B. Carstens 1).

Team fouls — Kenai 11; Nikiski 10. Fouled out — none.

Whalers 59, Seahawks 25

Seward 10 9 6 0 — 25

Barrow 9 18 14 16 — 59

SEWARD (25) — Dow 0 0-0 0, Lemme 1 0-0 2, Ambrosian 1 0-2 2, R. Terry 0 0-0 0, Von Borstel 3 1-4 8, Sieverts 0 0-0 0, Jackson 1 2-6 5, Sullivan 0 0-0 0, D. Terry 0 0-0 0, Petrosius 4 0-3 8. Totals — 10 3-15 25.

BARROW (59) — Kaleak 3 1-2 7, Dunner 6 3-9 17, Brower 6 2-4 17, Mongoyok-Brown 1 0-0 2, Leavitt 1 0-0 2, Gerke 2 0-0 6, Wright 1 0-0 2, Ahgeak 2 0-0 5, Kagak 0 0-0 0, Wolgemoth 1 1-3 3. Totals — 23 7-18 59.

3-point goals — Seward 2 (Von Borstel, Jackson); Barrow (Gerke 2, Dunner 2, Brower, Ahgeak). Team fouls — Seward 14, Barrow 15. Fouled out — none.

Nikiski’s Kaitlyn Johnson tries to find a way around Kenai Central’s Brooke Satathite on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Kaitlyn Johnson tries to find a way around Kenai Central’s Brooke Satathite on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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