Both Palmer and Soldotna high schools walked away with basketball wins Saturday at Soldotna High School.
The SoHi girls and Palmer boys took Northern Lights Conference victories, with the girls winning 57-40 and the boys winning 54-46. In both games, the eventual winners took a lead early in the game that they were able to hang on to through all four quarters.
The Stars girls claimed a narrow lead in the first quarter against the Moose, with a score of 13-11 after eight minutes. SoHi’s Ituau Tuisaula and Drysta Crosby-Schneider scored twice in quick succession, and Palmer’s Catherine Lischmann and Kylie Henry came back with a 3-pointer and a pair of buckets within the last few minutes of the first quarter. By the end of the second quarter, the Stars still held the lead, but only by three points, with 27-24.
The second half of the game saw more close teamwork between Crosby-Schneider and Tuisaula, each starting out the quarter with a basket. Palmer’s Dazhane Maclean scored two hoops early on in the third quarter, bringing the game closer, but by the end of the quarter the Stars had widened their lead to 39-31.
By the close of the fourth quarter, SoHi had pulled ahead by 17 points. The second half of the game was much more physical, though, with nine fouls on Soldotna’s side and 10 on Palmer’s.
For Soldotna, Tuisaula scored 25 points, with a 3-pointer; Crosby-Schneider scored 14, also with a 3. Lischmann scored 11 points for Palmer.
While the girls notched a win with a significant lead, the Stars boys fought hard for every basket in their game against Palmer’s varsity boys team.
The Moose pulled ahead with a lead of 17-9 by the end of the first quarter, playing strong defense with Palmer’s Lavar Marshall scoring twice in quick succession and Palmer’s Dae Osiensky sinking two 3-pointers.
Soldotna was able to score nine points in the first quarter, with Jersey Truesdell sinking a 3-pointer and Ethan Sewell scoring a bucket, and getting the rest of the points on foul shots.
By the end of the second quarter, Soldotna had closed the gap, but the Moose led 29-24. SoHi’s Ray Chumley managed to score six points and pushed the Stars to the only time they had the lead in the game, but the Moose soon retook the lead and started the fourth quarter up 39-35.
The fourth quarter saw some aggressive plays, and within the last minute, there were six free throws. However, Soldotna couldn’t make up the difference and closed the game with Palmer winning 54-46.
SoHi head coach Nolan Rose said Palmer is a solid, well-coached team and made more plays than SoHi did.
“We had chances,” Rose said by text. “It seemed like every time we had a chance to grab a loose ball we would fumble it and it would bounce right to Palmer for a layup.”
Palmer played more physically, too, Rose said. Truesdell was the only SoHi player to make a shot outside the 3-point line, and it’s tough to win like that, Rose said.
“Sometimes the basketball gods can be cruel, and today felt like one of those days, just nothing seemed to go our way,” Rose said. “We’ll definitely improve because of this experience. In the big picture of things today will help us.”
The game wasn’t all dark clouds for SoHi, though. Truesdell, a senior who scored 12 points in Saturday’s game, passed a milestone for high school players — he scored his 1,000th career point. The team presented him with a banner commemorating the milestone at the end of the game.
Chumley scored 16 points for Soldotna. For Palmer, Marshall scored 21 points, and Osiensky scored 14, with two 3-pointers.
Reach Elizabeth Earl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stars — 13 14 12 18 —57
Moose — 11 13 7 9 — 40
SOLDOTNA (57): Sheridan 7, Bouschor 6, Tuisaula 25, Fischer 3, Holland 2, Crosby-Schneider 13.
PALMER (40): Maclean 6, Solis 2, Lundin 2, Lischmann 11, Anderson 6, Henry 7, Pickett 4, Franrich 2.
3-point goals: Soldotna 3 (Sheridan 1, Tuisaula 1, Crosby-Schneider 1), Palmer 2 (Henry 2).
Stars—9 15 11 11 — 46
Moose — 17 12 10 15 — 54
SOLDOTNA (46): Rich 8, Sewell 2, Morrison 7, Hanson 1, Chumley 16, Truesdell 12.
PALMER (54): Osiensky 14, Marshall 21, Maclean 6, Helm 5, Evans 2, Hanson 6.
3-point goals: Soldotna 2 (Truesdell 2), Palmer 2 (Osiensky 2).
By ELIZABETH EARL
For the Clarion