SoHi boys escape with win over Bethel

The Soldotna boys escaped with a 46-40 win over Bethel Wednesday night at Soldotna High School, in a nonconference clash that featured teams from two separate classes.

Soldotna, which competes at the Class 4A level in the state of Alaska, and Bethel, which is a 3A team, produced a game of two halves. SoHi streaked out to an early lead but nearly threw it all away.

Ultimately, it was a former 1A star that saved the Stars.

SoHi senior Timmy Smithwick, a transfer from Cook Inlet Academy, swished in a floater with 40 seconds to go that broke a tie game and helped seal the victory.

“I knew we needed a quick bucket to get back on defense,” Smithwick said. “We practice it all the time, because you never know when it’s going to come up.”

Soldotna improved to 3-5 overall with the win.

Smithwick ended the night with 11 points, while sophomore teammate Derek Evans led the Stars with 14, including 10 in the second quarter.

SoHi coach Mark Tuter said after a few early-season struggles, Smithwick has quickly learned to compete at the top level of basketball in the state.

“He’s not afraid,” Tuter said. “We’re just glad he’s on our side.”

A fast start left SoHi with a 25-7 lead midway through the second quarter, sparked by aggressive rebounding on the offensive glass. On numerous occasions, the 6-foot-4 Evans used his height to pick up several missed layups to finally put the ball through the net. At one point in the second quarter, Evans scored on three straight possessions to push SoHi’s lead from eight points to 14.

SoHi led 31-16 at halftime, but the Warriors came out determined in the second half. Tuter said rebounding proved to be the difference between the two halves.

“We just lost focus there,” Tuter said. “But (Bethel) played well. We didn’t keep up our intensity like we needed to, and they wanted it more.”

Bethel sophomore Clevon Constantine provided the spark for the Warriors, scoring seven of the team’s first nine points in the third quarter to close the deficit from 15 points nine. What was once working for Soldotna was now working for Bethel, which was ensnaring offensive rebounds.

Mason Alexie pushed through the lane for a layup with 1:09 left in the third quarter that put Bethel right back in the game, trailing 34-29. Overall, Bethel outscored SoHi 13-4 in the frame.

A 3-pointer by Alexie with six minutes to go in the game tied things up at 35 apiece, then the Warriors took their first lead of the game with 5:06 to go on a free throw by Jayvin Williams. Williams led Bethel with 11 points.

“We arrive for defensive help late,” Tuter said about SoHi’s lack of rebounding in the second half. “If we get there early, we’re in a good position to rebound.”

Smithwick sunk a crucial triple with 4:11 left that gave SoHi the lead back at 38-36, then Caleb Spence tallied two free throws to put the lead at four points.

“I was in rhythm, and I just felt in motion, so I hit it,” Smithwick said. “I trust my two posts down there, Griffin Casey and Derek Evans to get the rebound.”

However, Bethel wasn’t done yet, as Williams came back to hit a running bank shot, then a layup with 59 ticks remaining to tie it up again at 40-all.

That’s when Smithwick took control on the next possession and drove to the rim for a go-ahead floater. It was the second night in a row that Smithwick recorded the final lead change for the Stars, which beat Kenai 57-49 on Tuesday night.

Two pairs of free throws from Dylan Kuntz and Eli Sheridan helped ice the game in the final 23 seconds.

Soldotna goes on the road this weekend for a Northern Lights Conference clash with Wasilla, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

Stars 46, Warriors 40

Bethel 6 10 13 11 —40

Soldotna 15 16 4 11 —46

BETHEL (40) — Daniel 0 0-0 0, Flemings 1 5-6 7, Charlie 1 0-0 2, Williams 4 3-9 11, Alexie 2 3-4 8, Fredericks 0 0-0 0, Constantine 3 1-4 7, Kuhne 2 1-2 5. Totals 12 13-25 40.

SOLDOTNA (46) — Kuntz 2 2-2 6, Sheridan 0 2-2 2, McElroy 0 0-0 0, Crowder 0 0-0 0, Casey 3 0-2 6, Spence 2 2-2 7, Dickson 0 0-0 0, Smithwick 4 1-2 11, Evans 7 0-0 14. Totals 18 7-10 46.

3-point shots — Soldotna 3 (Smithwick 2, Spence 1); Bethel 1 (Alexie).

Team fouls — Soldotna 17; Bethel 9. Fouled out — none.

More in Sports

Christian Seager shows his 2022 Homer Spit Run, with the line "in memory of Gary Williams." Williams, a former Homer Mayor and a former owner of the Homer News, helped start the Spit Run. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Markelz wins Spit Run 10k

2022 Spit Run honors former Homer mayor, avid runner

Allie Ostrander, third from left, competes in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials on Thursday, June 24, 2021, in Eugene, Oregon. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Ostrander finishes 16th at nationals

Allie Ostrander, a 2015 graduate of Kenai Central now living in Seattle,… Continue reading

tease
Central peninsula teams wins Kenai Invite fastpitch tourney

The AK Riptide, a team of players from Soldotna and Kenai, won… Continue reading

Oilers catcher Jerry Nix tags out Ali Camarillo of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Sunday, June 26, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Pilots finish 4-1 series against Oilers

The little things have added up to big things for the Anchorage… Continue reading

Nick Varney
Reeling ‘Em In: Kings acting ‘a bit schizoid’

It’s hard to tell what’s worse: thieving seals or *%$@#0# snaggers

Oilers' Noah Hennings (24) celebrates his home run against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots with Dalton Bowling on Friday, June 24, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Pilots move to 6-0 against Oilers

The Anchorage Glacier Pilots defeated the Peninsula Oilers 8-2 on Friday in… Continue reading

tease
Twins post league sweep of North Pole

After getting swept in a doubleheader by Juneau on Tuesday, the American… Continue reading

Oilers shortstop Trey Becker gets ready to tag out Grant Weiss of the Anchorage Glacier Pilots on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at Coral Seymour Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Pilots shut out Oilers

The Anchorage Glacier Pilots defeated the Peninsula Oilers 1-0 on Thursday at… Continue reading

tease
Bird Homestead Golf Report: The drive before the drives

The Last Frontier is one of the most beautiful places on earth.… Continue reading

Most Read