Soldotna’s Sam McElroy goes up for a shot in front of Kodiak’s Sam Glairdo (11) and other defenders Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Sam McElroy goes up for a shot in front of Kodiak’s Sam Glairdo (11) and other defenders Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

SoHi boys return to beat Kodiak

The host Soldotna boys basketball team overcame a slow start to defeat Kodiak 45-40 in Northern Lights Conference action Wednesday.

The Stars move to 9-10 overall and 3-3 in the league, while Kodiak falls to 3-14 overall and 2-6 in the league.

The Stars had defeated the Bears 52-29 on the same floor earlier this season, but both Soldotna coach Nolan Rose and Kodiak coach David Anderson expected a tougher battle this time.

Anderson said that, according to the WPI, his team has had the toughest schedule in the state and is improving rapidly. The coach said SoHi’s press crushed his team last time, but this game the Bears whistled passes smartly to beat the press and keep the game close.

Anderson said his defense has been good early in the games, and that was the case Wednesday as Kodiak led 11-6 after the first quarter and 17-13 at halftime.

“We got good looks early on but did not knock them down,” Rose said. “We just had to keep playing.

“We’ve been in a funk offensively and we can’t let it affect the defense.”

Rose also said SoHi’s defense has had some lapses recently, but Wednesday it did its job. In the first half, that defense kept the Stars in the game. At the beginning of the second half, the defense keyed one of the turning points in the game.

“At the beginning of the second half, we ramped up our defensive intensity, got some stops and ran,” Rose said.

Kodiak pretty much played the same five players the whole game. Anderson said the group is in great physical shape, but had a mental letdown at the beginning of the second half that cost them the lead.

The Stars had a 28-27 lead heading into the fourth quarter. They then went up 32-27 with 6:55 left in the contest when Caleb Spence and Sam McElroy had back-to-back rebound layups.

“That was a big emphasis at halftime,” Rose said of offensive rebounding. “Very rarely do we have a size advantage and Kodiak is actually our size.”

Anderson said Kodiak usually rebounds well despite the size disadvantage, but that was not the case in the fourth quarter.

“They had a couple of possessions where they got four rebounds and scored on the fourth rebound,” Anderson said. “Those things really hurt.”

Those offensive rebounds gave Soldotna a lead that Kodiak could never erase. After Kodiak’s Gleen Penemora nailed a 3-pointer with 1:45 left to cut the gap to 37-35, Jersey Truesdell made 1 of 2 free throws, McElroy made 2 of 2 and Caleb Spence made 3 of 4 to salt away the game.

Rose said his team did a great job protecting the ball while not being too passive.

“We did fine at the end,” he said. “We haven’t been in a lot of close games, either we’ve blown somebody out or they’ve blown us out, so it was a good experience.”

McElroy paced the Stars with 12 points, with Rose crediting the senior’s length and aggression for good work on the boards. Wendell Tuisaula also was stout underneath with 11 points, while Jersey Truesdell had 10.

For Kodiak, Roberto Giron and Sam Glairdo each had 11 points.

Chugiak girls 50, Soldotna 40

The SoHi girls got off to a rough start at the Anchorage Kia Dimond Lady Lynx Prep Shootout tournament Wednesdy with a loss to Chugiak.

The Mustangs opened up a 41-15 lead before the Stars rallied back with a 23-3 run to cut the gap to six points, but Chugiak held on to win.

Stars head coach Kyle McFall said in a text that Drysta Crosby-Schneider played a big role in the comeback with strong play in the third quarter, while Aliann Schmidt was named player of the game in her role.

Also at the Prep Shootout, the Kenai Central girls lost their opening game to host Dimond. No score was reported as the Clarion went to press.

Akiak boys 64, CIA 27

Arthur Phillp led Akiak to a nonconference win over Cook Inlet Academy Wednesday with 23 points, giving the Thunderbolts a sweep of the Eagles in boys and girls action.

Hunter Moos netted 12 points to lead the Eagles, who got off to a slow start with a 16-6 first quarter deficit. Akiak outscored CIA 13-9 in the second quarter to grab a 29-15 lead at halftime, then poured in 22 points in the third to take a 51-17 lead.

Akiak girls 61, CIA 20

The Akiak girls dominated a nonconference meeting Wednesday night at Cook Inlet Academy.

Miranda Demientieff rattled in 24 points to lead Akiak, while Adara Warren scored 12 to lead CIA.

Akiak hit the court running with a 27-10 first-quarter lead, which expanded to 43-15 at halftime. The Thunderbolts outscored the Eagles 16-3 in the third quarter to ice the game.

Wednesday boys

Stars 45, Bears 40

Kodiak 11 6 10 13 — 40

Soldotna 6 7 15 17 — 45

KODIAK (40) — Giron 5 1-2 11, Rocheleau 3 0-0 9, Penemora 3 0-0 7, Glairdo 4 0-2 11, Parnell 0 0-0 0, Walker 1 0-3 2. Totals — 17 1-7 40.

SOLDOTNA (45) — Truesdell 4 1-2 10, Spence 1 3-4 5, Sheridan 0 0-0 0, Crowder 2 1-2 5, Tuisaula 5 0-0 11, Michael 1 0-2 2, McElroy 5 2-2 12, Kant 0 0-0 0. Totals — 18 7-12 45.

3-point goals — Kodiak 7 (Rocheleau 3, Glairdo 3, Penemora); Soldotna 2 (Truesdell, Tuisaula). Team fouls — Kodiak 10, Soldotna 14. Fouled out — none.

Thunderbolts 64, Eagles 27

Akiak 16 13 22 13 —64

CIA 6 9 2 10 —27

AKIAK (64) — Albright 2 0-0 6, Williams 2 0-0 5, Williams 6 0-0 15, Ivan 6 0-0 13, Phillp 10 3-3 23. Totals 26 3-3 64.

CIA (27) — Moos 5 1-4 12, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Cragg 3 0-0 6, Walsh 1 0-0 3, Anderson 1 0-0 3, Boyd 0 0-0 0, Peterson 0 0-0 0, Leaf 1 1-3 3. Totals 11 2-7 27.

3-point goals — Akiak 7 (Williams 3, Albright 2, Williams 1, Ivan 1); CIA 3 (Moos 1, Walsh 1, Anderson 1).

Team fouls — Akiak 5; CIA 10. Fouled out — none.

Wednesday girls

Thunderbolts 61, Eagles 20

Akiak 27 16 16 2 —61

CIA 10 5 3 2 —20

AKIAK (61) — George 3 0-0 7, S. Williams 2 0-0 4, A. Williams 2 0-0 5, Dock 2 0-0 4, Demientieff 10 0-0 24, Egoak 5 0-0 11, Andrews 2 0-0 6. Totals 26 0-0 61.

CIA (20) — Delon 1 0-6 2, Hyatt 1 0-0 2, Cragg 1 0-0 2, Cizek 1 0-2 2, Hammond 0 0-0 0, Warren 4 3-4 12. Totals 8 3-12 20.

3-point goals — Akiak 9 (Demientieff 4, Andrews 2, George 1, A. Williams 1, Egoak 1); CIA 1 (Warren).

Team fouls — Akiak 8; CIA 1. Fouled out — none.

Soldotna’s Wendell Tuisaula and Brandon Crowder sandwich Kodiak’s Wesley Walker while battling for the rebound Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna’s Wendell Tuisaula and Brandon Crowder sandwich Kodiak’s Wesley Walker while battling for the rebound Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, at Soldotna High School. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)

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