Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna sophomore Derek Evans (right) drives in the lane against Grace Christian sophomore Jimmy McGovern Friday at the Soldotna Prep gymnasium. Grace defeated SoHi 56-50.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna sophomore Derek Evans (right) drives in the lane against Grace Christian sophomore Jimmy McGovern Friday at the Soldotna Prep gymnasium. Grace defeated SoHi 56-50.

SoHi boys start fast but lose to Grace

Soldotna had the better start, but Grace Christian had the better finish Friday evening at the Soldotna Prep gymnasium.

The Stars lost 58-50 to the Grizzlies, a Class 3A opponent, to drop to 3-7 overall this season.

Senior Trevor Osborne and sophomore Tobin Karlberg combined to score 48 points for Grace, which improved to 6-2 overall.

SoHi coach Mark Tuter said the Stars had difficulty keeping up with the hot hands of the Grizzlies.

“They hit some shots, and their shots kept falling, and we couldn’t match them shot for shot,” Tuter said. “We got a little tired on defense and they’re a really good team.”

SoHi got help from an emerging source. Sophomore guard Eli Sheridan, one of the younger but brighter prospects on the team, led the Stars with 15 points, all on 3-pointers.

Sheridan said as his game has developed throughout the season, he has continued to instill confidence in his teammates, which has resulted in larger roles.

“Throughout this season, it’s gotten better and better,” Sheridan said. “When you hit shots, they tend to give the ball to you more.”

Tuter said Sheridan poses as an outside threat, along with senior Timmy Smithwick, who chipped in 11 points for Soldotna. Both are adept shooters from beyond the arc, and while Smithwick’s hot start to the game eventually cooled off, Sheridan continued to keep SoHi in the game with some big buckets.

“Eli hit some big shots for us,” Tuter said. “When we can’t hit from far, we like to try to work inside a bit.”

Soldotna started fast and led by as much as 16-5 late in the first quarter. With Smithwick and Sheridan’s outside threats keeping Grace occupied, Derek Evans and Griffin Casey were able to find room to slash to the bucket on multiple occasions. Evans ended with nine points and Casey with eight.

However, Grace mounted a charge as Osborne and Karlberg caught fire. Osborne scored nine points in the second quarter and Karlberg tallied 13, including a game-tying triple with 1 minutes, 29 seconds, before the half. Osborne ended with a game-high 25 points and Karlberg had 23.

A baseline layup by Jimmy McGovern with just seconds to spare before halftime gave Grace its first lead of the night at 32-30.

Sheridan sunk a trey early in the second half to tie things up at 35 apiece, then gave Soldotna the lead on the next possession with another 3.

Sheridan continued his assault with another triple with 6:09 to go in the fourth quarter that tied the game again, this time at 48 apiece.

Eventually, however, Grace proved to be too much. Noah Shamburger laid in a banked shot — his only points of the game — with 4:53 to play that gave Grace the lead, then Osborne followed up with a step-back jumper on the next possession to push the lead to 52-48.

Overall, Grace tallied nine 3-pointers, all by Karlberg (5) and Osborne (4).

Grace coach Jason Boerger said he repeated the value of teamwork to the squad as the game wore on. The players must have listened.

“We got down early, but we were able to right the ship by halftime,” Boerger said. “We feel good about being able to pull one back and get one here.”

In the remaining few minutes, SoHi had trouble finding the ball. Grace played a smart game of keep away, and on the rare occasion that the Stars were on offense, the shots were not falling. SoHi’s only field goal in the final six minutes of the game came with 41 seconds left on a putback layup by Derek Evans, and the home team managed just five points total in the final quarter.

Two 3-point attempts by Smithwick and Caleb Spence in the final 30 seconds missed.

 

Friday boys

Grizzlies 58, Stars 50

Grace 10 22 14 12 —58

Soldotna 19 11 15 5 —50

GRACE CHRISTIAN (58) — Salima 1 1-2 3, Osborne 10 1-1 25, Shamburger 1 0-0 2, McGovern 0 1-2 1, Nieder 0 0-0 0, Karlberg 8 2-2 23, Sheldon 2 0-0 4. Totals 22 5-7 58.

SOLDOTNA (50) — Kuntz 0 0-0 0, Sheridan 5 0-0 15, Casey 4 0-0 8, Spence 3 0-0 7, Dickson 0 0-0 0, Smithwick 4 0-0 1, Evans 4 1-2 9, Marcuson 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 1-2 50.

3-point goals — Grace Christian 9 (Karlberg 5, Osborne 4); Soldotna 9 (Sheridan 5, Smithwick 3, Spence 1).

Team fouls — Grace 3; Soldotna 12. Fouled out — none.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna sophomore Caleb Spence looks for an opening against Grace Christian senior Trevor Osborne (10) Friday at the Soldotna Prep gymnasium. Grace defeated SoHi 56-50.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna sophomore Caleb Spence looks for an opening against Grace Christian senior Trevor Osborne (10) Friday at the Soldotna Prep gymnasium. Grace defeated SoHi 56-50.

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