Lumen Christi’s Kaiya Thornsness and Nikolaevsk’s Kerianna Lasiter battle for the ball Thursday, March 5, 2020, at the Peninsula Conference basketball tournament at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Lumen Christi’s Kaiya Thornsness and Nikolaevsk’s Kerianna Lasiter battle for the ball Thursday, March 5, 2020, at the Peninsula Conference basketball tournament at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Nikolaevsk-CIA girls, Lumen-Ninilchik boys to play for Peninsula Conference titles

The Nikolaevsk and Cook Inlet Academy girls and Lumen Christi and Ninilchik boys advanced to the finals of the Peninsula Conference tournament at Cook Inlet Academy with semifinal victories Thursday.

The girls title game tips at 6:30 p.m. today, while the boys start at 8 p.m. The winner of both games earn berths to the Class 1A state tournament.

Everyone else is still alive for the second berth, which will go to the second-place finisher.

In girls consolation play today, Kodiak ESS and Lumen play at noon, while Birchwood Christian and Ninilchik play at 3 p.m. Those winners play at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the winner of that game playing the loser of the championship game for second place.

In boys consolation play today, Birchwood and Nanwalek play at 1:30 p.m., while Nikolaevsk and CIA play at 4:30 p.m. Those winners play at 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The winner of that game plays the championship game loser for second place.

Nikolaevsk girls 60, Lumen Christi 23

The top-seeded Warriors tuned up for the championship game by running away from the No. 3 seed Eagles.

Nikolaevsk led 16-7 after a quarter and was in full command with a 38-11 halftime lead.

“We’ve been working on cutting down turnovers and passing the ball more,” Nikolaevsk head coach Bea Klaich said. “The girls responded with a nice game.”

The coach was happy that six of the nine players scored.

Elizabeth Fefelov led all scorers with 18 points coming on 46 percent shooting. Klaich also said Markiana Yakunin, with 17 points, had a nice shooting night.

Also for the Warriors, Hannah Gerasimof had nine, Zoya Fefelov had seven, Sophia Klaich had five and Emilee Gerasimof had four.

For Lumen, Sophia Dupras had nine points, Natalie Grubba had seven, Eliza Howard had three, Emily Ross had two and Kaiya Thorsness had two.

Nikolaevsk won conference titles in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017, but Lumen Christi won in 2018 and Cook Inlet Academy won last year by knocking the Warriors off in the title game.

Nikolaevsk has cruised through conference play this year, going 10-0 in the regular season, but Klaich said the team is taking nothing for granted.

“The girls are really focused,” Klaich said. “They remember last year. It’s girls basketball. Anything can happen.”

CIA girls 39, Birchwood 33

The No. 3 seed Eagles upset No. 2 seed Birchwood Christian to return to the title game with a chance to defend their title.

The Eagles came out and took an 11-2 lead after the first quarter, then lead 18-16 at halftime and 27-24 after three quarters.

Anna Henderson paced CIA with 17 points, while Tatum Rozak had eight, Jamie Hyatt had four, Linnaea Dohse had four, Genna Nelson had two and Annika Castenholz had two.

For Birchwood, Maddy Buyse had nine, Kailyn Kaas had eight, Faith Clark had seven, Jordan Denny had five, Ella Phillips had two and Mariyah Becker had two.

Ninilchik boys 57, Nikolaevsk 54

The Wolverines avenged a loss to the Warriors in last season’s championship game to reach this season’s championship game.

Ninilchik led 14-13 after the first quarter, but trailed 28-25 at halftime and 49-44 heading into the final quarter. The Wolverines held the Warriors to five points in the final frame.

Ben Botero had 20 points for Ninilchik, while Cole Hadro had 11, Jake Clark had 10, George Nelson had seven, Thomas Nelson had five and Jaylin Scott had two.

For Nikolaevsk, Zachary Trail had 16, Justin Trail had 13, Lukah Kalugin had 11, Kosta Fefelov had nine and Isaak Fefelov had five.

Lumen boys 61, Birchwood 44

The top-seeded Archangels cruised into the final by knocking off No. 4 Birchwood.

For Lumen, Daniel Bennett had 21, Tim Bennett had 17, Brenden Gregory had 14, Andrew Howard had six and Noah Cruz had five.

For Birchwood, Dalton Rogers had 20, Joel Swanberg had nine, Braedon Reich had six, Silas McCrum had five and Braden Palmer had four.

CIA girls 46, Kodiak ESS 27

The No. 3 seed Eagles started tourney play with a commanding victory over No. 6 seed Kodiak ESS.

Cook Inlet Academy led 12-0 after the first quarter and 29-5 at halftime.

For CIA, Tatum Rozak had 17 points, while Anna Henderson pitched in 12. Also for the Eagles, Annika Castenholz had seven, Jamie Hyatt had six, Genna Nelson had two and Kaitlyn Liles had two.

For Kodiak ESS, Ariana Amodo had eight, Teanna Amodo had eight, Desiree Eluska had seven and Jazmine White-Amodo had four.

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