Friday night, all that mattered to Skyview senior Jacob Carlson was getting his team a win on senior night.
Carlson did much more than that, as he scored all 24 of his points in the first half to help the Skyview boys to a 58-49 victory over Southcentral Conference opponent Homer at Skyview High School.
“It’s really special,” Carlson said. “My grandma’s in the hospital and I came in with a lot of emotions, and it’s senior night and it’s the last time anyone will play on this court, so I just want to go out for my coaches and all the students.”
Friday was the last home game ever for the Panthers before the school closes, and Carlson’s shooting was lights out, as he hit 8 of 11 shots, even as he was held scoreless in the second half.
Adding to the on-court energy that Skyview brought was the support from friends and family in the bleachers, and Carlson didn’t hold back in tabbing Friday night as his best performance of his Skyview basketball career.
“I just felt like I had to put all my effort out there on the court tonight,” Carlson said. “I couldn’t leave anything back because then it would just be a shame.”
Skyview teammate Micah Hilbish, also a senior, had a big game as well in scoring 19 points, and Tim Duke added 10.
“It was a special night,” said Skyview coach Jesse Settlemyer. “We use that emotion, but we used it in the right way. We didn’t let it overwhelm us, we turned it into excitement and energy on the court. The crowd was great in cheering us on, and it was just a special moment.”
The Mariners weren’t too shabby on offense, either, as Quinn Daugharty scored 19 points and teammate Filip Reutov added 15.
However, when they needed it most, the Panthers found the points to distance themselves in the end.
“They’re a talented team,” Settlemyer said. “They have some great shooters, some really talented players, they’re well-coached, and it makes the win that much more special, to get a win against that team.”
After taking a brief lead early in the game, Homer began to fall victim to the Skyview offense, lead by Carlson and a few circus shots. Trailing 7-6 in the first quarter, Carlson proceeded to score the next 16 points for the Panthers.
The hot streak was capped with a driving layup from Hilbish that left Skyview with a 24-10 lead halfway through the second quarter. At halftime, Skyview led 34-25.
Daugharty was no slouch either, answering with 10 points for Homer in the second quarter.
Homer started the third quarter on a 9-4 run. Daugharty’s speed combined with Reutov’s agility and Sheldon Hutt’s height helped pull the Mariners back to within four points of Skyview, and heading into the fourth quarter, they trailed 43-40.
“We had to limit turnovers and not let them get any looks, not let (Homer) get in transition,” Settlemyer said. “We did some of those things and it helped us.”
Hilbish hit a trey to start the final eight minutes, and it set the tone for the rest of the way. Homer never got closer than six points after that.
Settlemyer said while his squad isn’t leading the Southcentral Conference standings, he believes they are primed for a conference tournament run.
“We’ve had some really good practices recently,” Settlemyer said. “Continuing to work hard, continuing to stress getting better, eliminating turnovers, moving the ball and working together as a team. I think that’s showing up on the court.”
With one game to go in its regular season, Skyview improved to 10-11 overall with the win (3-6 conference), while Homer dropped to 16-8 with the loss (5-4 conference).
The Skyview seniors that were recognized between the girls and boys games are Brandon Rice, Hilbish, Carlson, Chad Harley and Dallas Cook on the boys team, and Sam Reynolds and Meghan Powers on the girls team.
Homer girls 35, Skyview 20
The Mariners took charge in the third quarter and held on to take their second straight conference win on Skyview’s senior night.
Leading the way for Homer was Madison Akers with 22 points. Skyview was paced by senior Sam Reynolds with six points.
“Everything was finally coming together for them,” said Homer coach Connie Akers, Madison’s mother. “Their aggressiveness was there, and we changed to a different press.”
The victory pushed Homer to a 5-4 conference record, with one final conference matchup on Saturday with Seward.
Friday’s win came about with intense defensive pressure on Skyview, according to coach Akers.
“We just like to put a lot of pressure on the ball,” Akers said. “It’s the most fun to play and it’s effective.”
With starter Larson Fellows on the bench with a possible stress fracture in her leg, Akers said the squad responded well. Fellows injured her leg in the final seconds of Tuesday’s victory over Nikiski.
Reynolds sank a pair of 3-pointers in the first quarter that sparked a Skyview lead of 10-4 early in the second quarter. But soon after, the Mariners began to find life from Akers and Tayla Cabana.
Trailing 12-11 at halftime, Homer outscored Skyview 13-4 in the third quarter, taking the lead for good with 1:23 left in the frame on an Akers layup.
“We just needed to have a tougher mentality,” said Skyview coach Kyle McFall. “We just weren’t running an efficient offense, and a lot of it was kind of, just chaos. We need to see situations better and not play out of control.”
Homer ended the third quarter on a 10-0 run to put eight points between itself and Skyview, and the Akers-Cabana duo continued to produce in the fourth, grabbing steals on defense and finding the basket off of Skyview turnovers.
“I’m happy with what we’re doing defensively,” McFall mentioned on a positive note. “Offensively, there’s things there, we’re getting shots at the basket. Once we get more comfortable with the ball and handling pressure, we’ll be a better team.”
Powers hit a jump shot with 5:54 to go in the game that closed Skyview’s deficit to six points, but that would ultimately be the final points for the Panthers.
Coach Akers said her team holds some lofty goals for the upcoming conference tournament, which will be held in Cordova.
“We’re hoping to go to state, that’s our big goal,” Akers said. “We don’t care what place we get, we just want to go to state.”
Panthers 58, Mariners 49
Skyview 13 21 9 15 —58
Homer 7 18 15 9 —49
SKYVIEW (58) — Rice 0 0-0 0, Jones 2 0-0 5, Duke 3 4-5 10, Carlson 8 6-6 24, Cook 0 0-1 0, Kruse 0 0-0 0, Harley 0 0-0 0, Lotito 0 0-0 0, Hilbish 8 1-1 19. Totals 21 11-13 58.
HOMER (49) — Beachy 0 1-2 1, Reutov 5 3-4 15, Daugharty 5 7-8 19, Schneider 1 1-2 3, Brown 0 0-0 0, Walsworth 0 0-0 0, Harris 1 1-1 3, Hutt 3 2-3 8. Totals 15 15-20 49.
3-point field goals — Skyview 5 (Carlson 2, Hilbish 2, Jones 1); Homer 4 (Daugharty 2, Reutov 2).
Team fouls — Skyview 17; Homer 17.
Mariners 35, Panthers 20
Homer 4 7 13 11 —35
Skyview 8 4 4 4 —20
HOMER (35) — Ramirez-Clark 0 0-0 0, Koplin 0 0-2 0, Draves 0 0-1 0, Akers 7 8-11 22, Waclawski 2 2-2 6, Hendrickson 0 0-0 0, Cabana 2 3-12 7. Totals 11 13-28 35.
SKYVIEW (20) — Powers 1 2-2 4, Ramsell 2 0-1 4, Mahan 0 0-0 0, Reynolds 2 0-0 6, Rouse 2 0-0 4, Glaves 0 0-0 0, Pyhala 1 0-0 2. Totals 8 2-3 20.
3-point field goals — Homer 0; Skyview 2 (Reynolds 2).