Nikiski splits on 1st day of Tip Off tourney

Nikiski splits on 1st day of Tip Off tourney

A promising start to the basketball season gained momentum Thursday night at the 28th annual Nikiski Tip Off tournament in Nikiski.

The host Bulldogs dominated an opening night clash with the Service girls to the tune of a 51-19 final. Senior guard Avery Kornstad and sophomore guard Bethany Carstens each scored 11 points to pace the Bulldogs.

Nikiski (6-1 overall) used a vicious defensive press to force the Cougars into mistakes that ultimately turned into points for the Bulldogs. Nikiski head coach Scott Anderson said the home tournament showing spurred the team to win in front of their friends and family.

“We have a tendency to get excited at our Tip Off tourney, we could get so overhyped sometimes,” Anderson said. “Our thought is, if we win (the tournament), great, but if we win and don’t get better, then there’s no progress.”

The round-robin tournament continues today for the Bulldogs with a 5:45 p.m. matchup against Kodiak, then finishes Saturday with a 3 p.m. meeting with Valdez.

Early on, Nikiski held leads of 11-2 and 18-4, but Anderson was forced to sit star guard Carstens, who picked up two fouls in the opening minutes of the contest.

With Carstens on the bench, however, Anderson said he was pleased to see the rest of the team continue to build on the lead, and once Carstens was back out on the floor, she avoided any additional fouls.

“That’s something she learned in the comp leagues,” he said. “They’re rougher and more physical.”

Nikiski led 22-10 at the halftime break, but came out firing in the third quarter. Carstens went on a 5-0 tear herself with a couple of putback layups on offensive rebounds, then was followed by a corner 3 from sophomore Kelsey Clark. An inbounds pass from Kornstad to Rylee Jackson left Jackson with a layup and a foul with 3:39 left in the third quarter, pushing Nikiski’s lead to 35-11.

The other girls game of the day saw the Valdez girls beat Kodiak 53-30. Bobbi Mott poured in 32 points to lead Valdez.

Eagle River boys 63, Nikiski 43

The Wolves rolled to a win over the host Bulldogs, Thursday night at the Nikiski Tip Off tournament.

In the second meeting between the two teams this season, Eagle River used a strong third quarter to pull away from Nikiski (1-6 overall), which is now 0-2 against the Wolves this year. After leading 31-22 at halftime, Eagle River opened the third quarter with a statement, scoring nine unanswered points and extending the lead with a 17-5 run.

“They’ve improved,” said Eagle River head coach Bob Atkins. “I think we won with our hustle, we were more patient this time in running plays. I think we also improved in rebounding.”

Aaron Davis and Bryson Rollman led the Wolves with 13 points apiece, while Jace Kornstad hit three 3-pointers en route to 17 points for Nikiski. Ian Johnson chipped in 14 points for the Bulldogs as well.

Eagle River beat Nikiski 68-41 at the SoHi Al Howard/Powerade Tip Off tourney in December, and Bulldogs head coach Reid Kornstad said the gap has closed.

“Our highs were some of the highest we’ve had, and our lows are not as low,” Kornstad said. “There were a few times they kind of flexed on us, and we could’ve gone down by 40 or so, but we kept fighting.”

Rollman, a 6-foot-4 forward, gave Nikiski trouble early on by crashing the offensive glass and putting back several balls. Rollman nine straight points for Eagle River in the first quarter to push the lead from 15-6.

Nikiski answered with a stout second quarter, outscoring Eagle River 11-10 to keep the lead within reach. Cody Handley capped a 6-2 run late in the half with a midrange jumpshot.

However, the Wolves started the second half with three straight buckets that began with steals and turnovers of Nikiski.

A corner trey by Daniel Toribio with 39 seconds left in the third quarter pushed the lead to 51-32.

Even with the game out of reach in the fourth quarter, Nikiski made a 10-0 surge to cut the lead to 57-43 with 1:24 left.

The other boys game Thursday featured the Kodiak boys and West Anchorage JV. Kodiak won 70-33.

Nikiski will play Kodiak today at 7:15 p.m. before finishing with the West Anchorage JV squad Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Thursday girls

Bulldogs 51, Cougars 19

Service 4 6 4 5 — 19

Nikiski 15 7 22 7 — 51

SERVICE (19) — Berlin 1 0-0 3, Giles 0 1-2 1, Noethlich 0 0-2 0, Boerner 0 0-0 0, Pearce 3 2-4 8, Engberson 2 1-2 5, Ropati 0 0-0 0, Aukusitino 1 0-0 2. Totals 7 4-10 19.

NIKISKI (51) — Jefferys 0 1-2 1, Wik 3 2-2 8, Pitt 2 0-2 4, Vollertsen 3 1-2 7, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Carstens 4 3-6 11, Kornstad 4 2-2 11, Clark 1 0-0 3, Jackson 3 0-1 6, Porter 0 0-0 0, Bostic 0 0-0 0, Dreusedow 0 0-1 0. Totals 20 9-18 51.

3-point goals — Service 1 (Berlin 1); Nikiski 2 (Kornstad 1, Clark 1).

Team fouls — Service 19; Nikiski 10. Fouled out — none.

Thursday boys

Wolves 63, Bulldogs 43

Eagle River 21 10 20 12 — 63

Nikiski 11 11 11 10 — 43

EAGLE RIVER (63) — Toribio 4 0-0 10, Piper 4 0-4 8, Retzlaff 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0 Haskin 0 1-2 1, Wadsworth 0 0-0 0, Davis 6 1-2 13, Wilson 4 0-0 8, Adkins 3 0-0 6, Murry 2 0-2 4, Rollman 5 3-4 13. Totals 28 5-14 63.

NIKISKI (43) — Johnson 6 2-5 14, Weathers 0 0-0 0, Ellis 1 0-0 2, Kornstad 6 2-2 17, Litke 1 0-0 2, Handley 3 0-0 6, B. Ellis 0 1-2 1, DeSiena 0 1-2 1. Totals 17 6-11 43.

3-point goals — Eagle River 2 (Toribio 2); Nikiski 3 (Kornstad 3).

Team fouls — Eagle River 13; Nikiski 9. Fouled out — none.

Nikiski splits on 1st day of Tip Off tourney
Nikiski splits on 1st day of Tip Off tourney

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