Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion (From left to right) Soldotna forward Derek Evans, Palmer forward Michael Kluting and Soldotna guard Eli Sheridan jostle for the ball Friday at Soldotna High School.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion (From left to right) Soldotna forward Derek Evans, Palmer forward Michael Kluting and Soldotna guard Eli Sheridan jostle for the ball Friday at Soldotna High School.

Palmer basketball sweeps SoHi

The Soldotna boys basketball team found trouble Friday in the form of the Palmer Moose, which stomped the Stars in a 58-39 Northern Lights Conference clash at Soldotna High School.

SoHi dropped to 4-5 in conference play and 10-12 overall, while Palmer boosted its NLC mark to 5-3 and 17-4 overall. With the loss, the best the SoHi can finish in the NLC standings is fourth.

Palmer featured a bit more size than SoHi, but Stars head coach Mark Tuter offered the simplest of explanations to their defeat.

“We ran into a team that shot well, and they beat us,” Tuter said. “Size was a huge difference because (Palmer) got a lot of offensive rebounds.”

Palmer’s two tallest members, the 6-foot-6 Michael Kluting and the 6-7 Clayton Southwick, made life difficult for the Stars from all areas of the floor. Kluting dominated the post game with layups and rebounds, but also threatened from deep, hitting two 3s en route to a game-high 25 points. Southwick played a similar role, notching 16 points for himself.

Nine Soldotna players got into the scoring column, led by the nine points of Timmy Smithwick. Sophomore teammate Griffin Casey added eight points.

Casey stands tallest among SoHi starters at 6-foot-5, while Derek Evans measures in at 6-4, but it wasn’t enough to control the glass against the Moose.

“We have to have them on an off day for us to beat them,” Tuter said.

With the region tournament approaching and Palmer playing host, Moose coach Chuck Martin said no one is fooling anyone any more.

“That is who we are,” Martin said about Friday’s game. “We’ve defended like that all year, and that’s how we play.”

SoHi was the one leading early in Friday’s game, as the Stars pumped in an early trey from Caleb Spence and a slick post-up move by Evans in the first three minutes to take a 5-1 lead.

However, a pair of 3s by Payton Martin and Brady Southwick got the Moose offense fired up, and another pair of triples from the top of the arc by Chase Ferris and Clayton Southwick in the last 1:30 of the opening quarter left Palmer with a 15-9 lead.

The Moose kept the ball rolling in the second quarter, as Kluting began the period with a jump shot and was called for the foul. An arcing triple from Smithwick cut SoHi’s deficit to 18-12, but that would be as close as the Stars would get the rest of the way.

Kluting had 15 points by himself in the second quarter. Kluting buried a 3 with 2:37 to play in the first half to push Palmer’s lead to 28-16, then hit another on the next Moose possession to make it 31-16.

Southwick caught a steal and rushed the court for a two-handed slam dunk with 42 seconds left and Kluting tried to replicate it on the next play, catching the steal but settling for a layup with 24 ticks to go. The sequence left Palmer leading 35-20 at the break.

The Moose began the third quarter on a 7-0 run to take a 23-point lead, getting a offensive rebound shot by Kluting, a triple from Martin and another triple from the corner by Southwick by the midway mark of the period. At the end of three quarters, Palmer led 47-22.

Palmer girls 43, Soldotna 22

The Moose controlled proceedings from the get-go and cruised to a Northern Lights Conference win Friday night at Soldotna.

Palmer moved to 5-3 in conference play and 11-11 overall, while the loss drops SoHi to 2-7 in conference play, 8-16 overall.

Led by the 10 points of Kali Bull, the Moose had nine players score. Palmer coach Elgin Hollins said what pleased him the most was the clean, disciplined play of his team.

“We had only 10 team fouls tonight, and we’ve been working on cleaning up our defense,” Hollins said. “It was a dramatic turnaround in team defense for us.”

Soldotna was led by Danica Schmidt, who notched eight points, and Daisy Nelson, who added seven. SoHi’s leading scorer, senior Lindsey Wong, was held to four points.

The Moose quickly jumped out to a 6-2 lead, then expanded that to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.

A baseline layup by Schmidt cut Palmer’s lead to 17-8 early in the second quarter, and a layup by Maddie Kindred helped to keep it a nine-point lead, but the Moose had an answer for everything. Savanna Dixon and Kassidy Bowman traded midrange jump shots late in the first half to push the lead to 25-11, where it stood at halftime.

“Overall I thought the team energy was high, and we want to play with that high energy,” Hollins said.

Palmer continued to feast in the third quarter, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Bull and Abrianna Busbey, then a transition layup from Emma Uschmann off of a steal from teammate Dixon with 4:29 to play in the third, which put the lead at 35-11. A long jump shot from Schyler Goers capped the 12-0 run by Palmer to start the second half.

At the end of three quarters, the Moose led the Stars 41-15 after outscoring the home team 16-4 in the frame.

 

Friday girls

Moose 43, Stars 22

Palmer 14 11 16 2 —43

Soldotna 6 5 4 7 —22

PALMER (43) — Pettingill 0 2-3 2, Busbey 2 0-0 5, Benshetle 0 0-0 0, Goers 3 0-0 7, Bull 4 0-0 10, Alley 0 0-0 0, King 0 0-0 0, Bradford 1 0-0 2, Uschmann 3 0-0 7, Till 1 0-0 2, Bowman 1 0-2 2, Dixon 3 0-0 6. Totals 18 2-5 43.

SOLDOTNA (22) — Houser 0 0-0 0, Nelson 2 2-2 7, Miller 0 0-0 0, A. Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Wong 2 0-0 4, Blossom 0 0-0 0, Kruse 0 0-0 0, Brush 0 0-0 0, McElroy 0 0-0 0, D. Schmidt 4 0-1 8, Tuisaula 1 0-0 2, Kindred 0 1-4 1. Totals 9 3-7 22.

3-point goals — Palmer 5 (Bull 2, Busbey 1, Goers 1, Uschmann 1); Soldotna 1 (Nelson). Team fouls — Palmer 10; Soldotna 11. Fouled out — Wong.

 

Friday boys

Moose 58, Stars 39

Palmer 15 20 12 11 —58

Soldotna 9 11 21 7 —39

PALMER (58) — Hawkins 0 0-0 0, Hughes-Duff 0 1-2 1, Martin 3 0-0 9, Ferris 1 1-2 4, B. Southwick 1 0-0 3, Witz 0 0-0 0, C. Southwick 6 2-2 16, Debach 0 0-0 0, Eiman 0 0-0 0, Halbert 0 0-0 0, Kluting 11 1-1 25. Totals 22 5-7 58.

SOLDOTNA (39) — Trammell 1 0-0 2, Kuntz 0 0-0 0, Sheridan 2 0-0 5, McElroy 1 0-0 3, Reutov 0 0-0 0, Crowder 0 0-0 0, Casey 3 2-2 8, Spence 1 1-2 4, Dickson 0 0-0 0, Smithwick 3 2-4 9, Evans 1 1-2 3, Tuisaula 1 0-0 3. Totals 14 6-10 39.

3-point goals — Palmer 9 (Martin 3, Kluting 2, C. Southwick 2, Ferris 1, B. Southwick 1); Soldotna 5 (Smithwick, Spence, Sheridan, McElroy, Tuisaula). Team fouls — Palmer 14; Soldotna 12. Fouled out — none.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Palmer forward Clayton Southwick (23) puts a block on Soldotna sophomore Derek Evans Friday at Soldotna High School.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Palmer forward Clayton Southwick (23) puts a block on Soldotna sophomore Derek Evans Friday at Soldotna High School.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna guard Daisy Nelson looks for an opening against a Palmer defender Friday at Soldotna High School. The Moose beat the Stars 43-22.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna guard Daisy Nelson looks for an opening against a Palmer defender Friday at Soldotna High School. The Moose beat the Stars 43-22.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna senior Dylan Kuntz looks for a teammate to pass to while Palmer forward Chase Ferris and Michael Kluting look on.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna senior Dylan Kuntz looks for a teammate to pass to while Palmer forward Chase Ferris and Michael Kluting look on.

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