Nikiski’s Ian Johnson extracts himself from a maze of defenders Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Nikiski High School. From left are Caleb Spence, Sam McElroy, Eli Sheridan and Derek Evans. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Ian Johnson extracts himself from a maze of defenders Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Nikiski High School. From left are Caleb Spence, Sam McElroy, Eli Sheridan and Derek Evans. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski girls, Soldotna boys cagers notch wins

Four days after putting 38 points on the Seward Seahawks, Bethany Carstens was at it again Tuesday night on her home court in Nikiski.

Carstens led the Bulldogs to a 54-45 nonconference victory over Soldotna with 33 points, giving Nikiski (11-1 overall) its eighth straight win. SoHi dropped to 8-8 overall.

“This is exactly what we needed,” said Nikiski head coach Scott Anderson. “Soldotna is always hard to stop, and these local peninsula games are always tough.”

In their previous seven games, Nikiski had beaten their opponents by an average of 31.8 points per game, so Tuesday’s contest gave the Bulldogs a test to see how the team held up under pressure.

The game was tied at 13 apiece after one quarter and 28 at halftime. It wasn’t until the dying minutes of the game that Nikiski was able to breathe a bit and savor the win.

Aliann Schmidt posted 12 points to pace the Stars, and Brittani Blossom had nine.

Sophomore Ituau Tuisuala recorded eight points for SoHi but did much of her work in the paint, putting up a defensive wall on one end of the court and bringing down rebounds on the other end. Anderson said the Bulldogs needed a matchup like the one they found against Tuisaula.

“We’re going to need that experience when we play Grace (Christian) this weekend,” he said.

Following the halftime stalemate, Nikiski got going early in the third quarter with six unanswered points on buckets from Carstens and Ayla Pitt, who Anderson said had a great second half.

Nikiski pushed the lead to 43-34 with 2:28 to play in the third quarter, a run that included seven straight points by Carstens, but SoHi fought back at the end of the frame with consecutive buckets by Tuisaula and Blossom, forcing a five-point game heading into the fourth quarter.

Carstens helped the Bulldogs stay ahead with a layup off a nifty assist from Kelsey Clark and a jumper that made it 48-39.

Danica Schmidt and sister, Aliann, laid up a pair of shots that cut the gap to 48-43, but a floater by Pitt with 2:10 remaining in the game essentially iced the game.

The Nikiski girls travel to Anchorage Friday for a Southcentral Conference showdown at 6 p.m., while Soldotna travels down to Juneau to face the Crimson Bears in an important Class 4A matchup, Friday night at 5 p.m.

Soldotna boys 51, Nikiski 31

After taking an 18-14 lead into halftime, the SoHi boys erupted in the third quarter with 26 points, starting with a 10-0 run, to distance itself from Nikiski in the nonconference victory.

Sam McElroy had a big game for the Stars, scoring a game-high 17 points, while teammate Derek Evans added 14 points in his return from illness and Caleb Spence had 10. Jace Kornstad paced Nikiski with 12 points.

For SoHi head coach Nolan Rose, the result was satisfying but the first-year coach was still looking for improvement.

“It doesn’t matter who we play, we’ve got to find that rhythm and vibe,” Rose said. The Stars recently suffered through a winless weekend against opposing Northern Lights Conference teams with home losses to Colony, Wasilla and Palmer.

“We’re happy to get the win, but there’s still a lot of things to improve on,” Rose said.

The win boosted SoHi to 7-10 overall this season.

Leading by four points at the half, the Stars got going in the third quarter with 10 straight points, eight coming from Evans and McElroy alone. With a small height and length advantage to their credit, both players found space to transition from the defensive end to build SoHi’s lead to 28-14 with 5:21 left in the third. The Stars capitalized on Bulldog turnovers to score.

“We took steps in the first half, but had a couple of mental breakdowns in the third quarter,” said Nikiski head coach Reid Kornstad. “They caught us not being alert.”

Another 10-0 run late in the third quarter put SoHi up 38-16, and Nikiski never threatened again.

The Nikiski boys face a tough challenge against Grace Christian on the road Friday night, while the SoHi boys wait a week until they face Grace on the road next Tuesday.

Lumen Christi girls 38, Nikolaevsk 23

An 11-1 run in the first quarter was enough to propel the Archangels past the Warriors in Peninsula Conference play Tuesday.

Chiamaka Lebechi had 17 points to lead Lumen, while Vera Fefelov had 12 for Nikolaevsk.

Nikolaevsk boys 61, Lumen Christi 26

The visiting Nikolaevsk boys cruised past the Archangels on Tuesday in Peninsula Conference action.

Anfim Kalugin had 14 points to pace the Warriors, while Kalenik Molodih had 13 and Nikit Fefelov had 12. Also for Nikolaevsk, Michael Trail had nine, Kosta Nikitenko had six, Zachary Trail had four and Sergey Yakunin had three.

 

Tuesday girls

Bulldogs 54, Stars 45

Soldotna 13 15 10 7 — 45

Nikiski 13 15 15 11 — 54

SOLDOTNA (45) — Houser 0 0-0 0, Miller 1 1-2 3, Blossom 4 1-2 9, A. Schmidt 5 2-4 12, Tuttle 1 0-0 2, Tuisuaula 4 0-2 8, Kruse 1 0-0 2, Wells 2 1-1 5, D. Schmidt 2 0-0 4. Totals 20 5-11 45.

NIKISKI (54) — Wik 0 0-0 0, Pitt 4 0-0 8, Vollertsen 0 1-2 1, Carstens 15 0-0 33, Kornstad 3 0-0 6, Clark 2 0-0 4, Jackson 1 0-0 2, Porter 0 0-0 0. Totals 25 1-2 54.

3-point goals — Soldotna 0; Nikiski 3 (Carstens 3).

Team fouls — Soldotna 9; Nikiski 12. Fouled out — none.

 

Archangels 38, Warriors 23

Nikolaevsk 1 12 4 6 — 23

Lumen 11 14 3 10 —38

NIKOLAEVSK (23) — S. Klaich 0 0-0 0, K. Klaich 1 1-2 3, Yakunin 1 0-0 2, J. Fefelov 0 0-0 0, Johnson 2 0-0 4, Lasiter 0 0-0 0, E. Fefelov 1 0-0 2, V. Fefelov 6 0-1 12, Brown 0 0-0 0, Mametieff 0 0-0 0. Totals — 11 1-3 23.

LUMEN CHRISTI (38) — Estes 1 0-0 2, Lebechi 7 3-8 17, Bakic 3 0-0 7, DuPras 1 0-0 2, Martin 0 1-2 1, McCamy 0 0-0 0, Loeffler 0 0-0 0, McCormick 0 0-0 0, Puoy 4 1-2 9. Totals — 16 5-12 38.

3-point goals — Lumen (Bakic). Team fouls — Nikolaevsk 8, Lumen Christi 10. Fouled out — none.

 

Tuesday boys

Stars 51, Bulldogs 31

Soldotna 6 12 26 7 — 51

Nikiski 5 9 9 8 — 31

SOLDOTNA (51) — Truesdell 0 0-0 0, Trammell 1 0-0 2, Spence 5 0-0 10, Reutov 1 0-0 2, Sheridan 0 0-0 0, Crowder 1 0-0 2, Tuisaula 2 0-1 4, Evans 5 4-6 14, McElroy 8 1-2 17, Michael 0 0-0 0, Kant 0 0-0 0, Marcuson 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 5-9 51.

NIKISKI (31) — Johnson 1 2-2 4, Weathers 1 0-0 3, G. Ellis 1 0-2 3, Kornstad 4 2-3 12, Ellis 1 0-0 2, DeSiena 0 0-0 0, Bridges 0 0-0 0, Handley 3 0-0 7. Totals 11 4-7 31.

3-point goals — Soldotna 0; Nikiski 5 (Kornstad 2, Handley 1, G. Ellis 1, Weathers 1).

Team fouls — Soldotna 11; Nikiski 12. Fouled out — none.

Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens drives on Soldotna’s Danica Schmidt on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikiski’s Bethany Carstens drives on Soldotna’s Danica Schmidt on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Derek Evans soars for a rebound Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Derek Evans soars for a rebound Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at Nikiski High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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