The Kenai girls and boys basketball teams both defeated Seward on Saturday at the Class 3A Peninsula Conference tournament at Grace Christian to earn berths to the Class 3A state tournament by taking second in the conference tournament.
The Kardinals girls won 46-27 to make state for the fourth time in five years and deny Seward a first trip since 2014. The Kenai girls are seed No. 7 for state and take on No. 2 Monroe Catholic in the first round at 11 a.m. March 22 at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage.
The Kards had defeated Seward 39-26 on Jan. 20, but lost to Seward 46-42 on Feb. 17 and 34-28 in the first round of the tourney. Kenai is 16-12 overall, while Seward ends at 13-8.
Kenai jumped ahead early, leading 13-5 after a quarter and 27-10 at halftime. Seward cut the lead to 31-21 after three quarters.
Emma Beck had 28 to lead Kenai, while Malerie Nunn had 10, Chloe Goldsby, Sierra Hershberger and Rylie Sparks had two, and Ella Yragui and Emilee Wilson had one.
Lena Jagielski paced Seward with 14, while Ava Jagielski had five, Robin Cronin had four, and Hailey Ingalls and Renee Elhard each had two.
The Kenai boys defeated Seward 59-29 to earn their first trip to state since 2012, when the Kards were still playing at the Class 4A level. Seward had earned an at-large berth to the 2020 state tourney that was canceled by the pandemic.
Kenai is seeded No. 5 at state and faces No. 4 Mt. Edgecumbe in the first round at 8 a.m. March 22 at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Kenai boys are 15-11 overall, while Seward ends at 9-12.
Like the Kardinals girls, the Kenai boys took advantage of a fast start, leading 17-0 after a quarter and 31-12 at the break.
Wade James paced Kenai with 16, while Daniel McRorie had 14, Jakob Kvasnikoff had 10, Bridger Beck had seven, Carnell Gump had five, Roc Riggle had four and Owen Whicker had three.
For Seward, Ozzy Deel had seven, Nick Ambrosiani, Ben Ambrosiani and Bergen Davis had six, and Van Shank and Talon Lemme had two.
The Seward girls had lost in Friday’s championship 68-32 to Grace.
For Seward, Ava Jagielski had 13, Lena Jagielski had 11, Renee Elhard and Natalie Sieminski had three and Robin Cronin had two.
For Grace, Sophie Lentfer had 25, MJ VanderHorst had 15, Poppy Wiggars-Piddcuk had 11, Ella Boerger had five, Olivia Jones had four, Molly Schild had three, and Hope Jackson and Josie Evans-Grant had two.
The Kenai boys had lost in Friday’s championship game to Grace 62-37.
Jakob Kvasnikoff had 11 for Kenai, while Bridger Beck had nine, Carnell Gump had seven, Wade James had four, Luke Armstrong had three, Daniel McRorie had two and Roc Riggle had one.
For Grace, Kellen Jedlicka had 19, Tyler Binder had 16, Josh Ivanoff had 10, Sloan Lentfer had eight, Luke Lentfer had seven and Hunter Finch had two.
The all-conference awards were given out Friday after the boys championship.
The girls MVP was Emma Beck of Kenai, the boys MVP was Sloan Lentfer of Grace, the Girls Coach of the Year was Curtis Berry of Seward and the Boys Coach of the Year was Jason Boerger of Grace.
Kenai Central won the cheer title, while Calani Holmes of Kenai was the cheer MVP and Brianna Force of Kenai was the Cheer Coach of the Year.
The first team for the girls was Sophie Lentfer of Grace, Ella Boerger of Grace, Lena Jagielski of Seward, Hannah Stonorov of Homer, Maggie Grenier of Nikiski, Sydney Shelby of Homer and Malerie Nunn of Kenai.
The first team for the boys was Kellen Jedlicka of Grace, Jakob Kvasnikoff of Kenai, Luke Lentfer of Grace, Ben Ambrosiani of Seward, Wade James of Kenai, Tyler Binder of Grace and Lance Seneff of Homer.
The cheer all-conference team was Sameah McGhee of Homer, Carolin Klebs of Grace, Lola Swanson of Seward, Makenize Harden of Kenai, Tanyn Willard of Grace, Ally Hight of Homer, Genesis Trevino of Kenai, Brooklyn Reid of Kenai and Abi McKay of Grace.
The second team for the girls was MJ VanderHorst of Grace, Robin Cronin of Seward, Ava Jagielski of Seward, Poppy Wiggers-Pidduck of Grace, Savanna Stock of Nikiski, Chloe Goldsby of Kenai, Bethany Engebretsen of Homer, Ella Yragui of Kenai, Avery White of Nikiski and Shelby Burman of Nikiski.
The second team for the boys was Bridger Beck of Kenai, Braeden Porter of Nikiski, Josh Ivanoff of Grace, Ozzy Deel of Seward, Morgan Techie of Homer, Drew Handley of Nikiski, Lucas Story of Homer, Daniel McRorie of Kenai and Nick Ambrosiani of Seward.
The all-sport team for cheer was Tuaong Tran of Homer, Jennifer Fernandez of Seward, Ayla High of Kenai and Aubrey Buck of Grace.
Class 4A Northern Lights Conference
The Soldotna girls and boys took fourth place at the tournament Saturday. Both were not selected to play in the Class 4A state tournament.
The Soldotna girls defeated Palmer 49-28 in the fourth place game. The Stars stand at 13-14.
Josie Sheridan erupted for 28 points for Soldotna, while Katelyn Morrison had nine, Anaulie Sedivy had six, Morgan Lemm and Alyssa McDonald had two, and Brooke Walters and Tanner Inman had one.
For Palmer, Maija Huckabay had eight, Theresa Arreola and Abby Pettit had seven, Jasmine Hephner had four and Ariana Belk had two.
The SoHi girls lost the third place game to Wasilla 52-34. The Stars led 6-5 after the first quarter, but trailed 24-17 at the half and 39-22 after three quarters.
Josie Sheridan had 15 points to lead the Stars, while Katelyn Morrison had nine, and Anaulie Sedivy, Tanner Inman, Kaytlin McAnelly, Morgan Lemm and Alyssa McDonald had two.
For Wasilla, Layla Hays had 15, Mielee Merchant had 12, Livia Breshears had nine, Mylee Anderson had eight, Kinley Lynon and Katie Jackson had three, and Claire Bredberg had two.
The Soldotna boys defeated Kodiak 51-47 in the fourth place game to move their record to 9-16.
The Stars, who lost to Kodiak 53-36 in the opening round Thursday, trailed 15-11 after the first period, but led 24-21 at the half and 33-31 after three quarters.
Izaiah Gilbert pumped in 17 points for Soldotna, while Andrew Pieh had 12, Cameron Laroque had seven, Jakob Brown had six, Eli Corbett had three, and Will Inman, Lokeni Wong and Owen Buckbee had two.
For Kodiak, JM Ticman and Connor Case had 12, Alex Holland had nine, Kelly Ticman had seven, Aron Paguio had five and Cody Sum had two.
In conference awards Friday, Sayvia Sellers of Anchorage Christian Schools was the girls MVP, Parker Kroon of Wasilla was the boys MVP, Rolyn Vergara of Kodiak was the Cheer Coach of the Year, Jeannie Hebert-Truax was the Girls Coach of the Year and Wasilla’s Steve Henderson was the Boys Coach of the Year.
The cheer all-conference team was Jordan Wilkin of Wasilla, Sydney Cook of Wasilla, Zoe Martel of Palmer, Breanne Gauthier of Palmer, Rica Mangrobang of Kodiak, Darnell Diesta of Kodiak, Hailee Suarez of ACS, Amaliah Leyton of ACS, Benson Todd of Colony and Elisabeth Allain of Colony.
The first-team all-conference girls team was Layla Hays of Wasilla, Hallie Clark of Colony, Chloe Auble of ACS, Mylee Anderson of Wasilla, Ally Shelley of Colony, Maliyah Alex of ACS, Morgan Maldonado of ACS and Josie Sheridan of Soldotna.
The first-team all-conference boys team was Kash Luce of Colony, Jayce Underwood of Colony, JD McGee of ACS, Arthur Adams of Wasilla, Sean Malinis of ACS, Jeph English of ACS, Connor Case of Kodiak and Jakob Brown of Soldotna.
Second team for the girls was Lainey Suaava for Colony, Livia Breshears for Wasilla, Emma Hopkins for Colony, Abby Pettit for Palmer, Mielee Merchant for Wasilla, Avie Arevalo for Kodiak, Katelyn Morrison for Soldotna and Morgan Ainsworth for Colony.
Second team for the boys was Connor Dudley of Wasilla, Owen Beaudry of Wasilla, Blake Dinkel of Colony, Andrew Morgan of Colony, Zach Daniel of Colony and Andrew Pieh of Soldotna.
The good sport team for cheer was Faith Sanders of ACS, Serenity Crawford of Colony, Raean Balolong of Kodiak, Merritt Waite of Palmer and Katelyn Arnone of Wasilla.
The good sport team for the girls was Nyami Mathot of ACS, Adrian Alley of Colony, Avie Arevalo of Kodiak, Abby Pettit of Palmer, Tanner Inman of Soldotna and Katie Jackson of Wasilla.
The good sport team for the boys was Jaidhen Oyao of ACS, Zach Daniel of Colony, Aron Paguio of Kodiak, Nolan Garner of Palmer, Coy Babcock of Soldotna and Jaidas Huffman of Wasilla.
Class 2A Interior Conference
The Interior Conference awards were announced Saturday at the conclusion of the tournament.
Cole Moore of the champion Ninilchik boys was named the MVP, while Jaylin Scott, Peyton Edens and Moore made the all-conference team.
Moore also was on the all-academic team, along with teammates Cody Blossom, Scott and Wyatt McCloskey.
The free-throw champion at the tournament was Edens.
For the Ninilchik girls, who did not qualify for state, Riley Tucker made the all-conference and all-academic teams.
The Ninilchik boys, the defending Class 2A state champ, are seeded first at state. They play No. 8 seed Unalakleet at 9:30 a.m. Thursday at the Alaska Airlines Center.