Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cook Inlet Academy Eagle's Emma Lyons attempts to block Seldovia Lady Sea Otters Marina Chissus Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cook Inlet Academy Eagle's Emma Lyons attempts to block Seldovia Lady Sea Otters Marina Chissus Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Alaska.

SoHi JV boys, CIA girls claim Classic hoops titles

When the buzzer sounded Saturday night signaling the end of the final game of the CIA Classic tournament, the Seldovia boys hoops team was celebrating a big 55-34 victory over Peninsula Conference rival Cook Inlet Academy, but it was another team walking away with the championship trophy.

The Soldotna boys JV squad took home the hardware after winning a tiebreaker based on the team’s free-throw percentage over the three days. The Stars compiled a 63.4 percent shooting mark from the charity stripe, while Seldovia ranked second with a 61 percent tally.

“I don’t care,” said Seldovia coach Mark Janes with a smile. “We came here and wanted to do well.

“I mean, you do care, but the victory matters mostly just for our conference.”

SoHi, Seldovia and CIA all finished the tournament with a 2-1 record, locking the trio in a three-way tie. Ultimately, the winner was decided with free-throw percentage, and head-to-head matchup decided the second- and third-place rankings, which is where Saturday’s game came into play.

Opinions on using free-throw percentage as a championship tiebreaker varied, but most competitors were fine with it.

“It’s got its downsides, but this early in the season, what a great teaching tool for my guys,” Janes said.

CIA coach Justin Franchino said he was in favor of the format, which he described as “designed to make teams better.”

“I’m glad we didn’t get the tiebreaker,” Franchino said. “These tournaments are fun because you get to see other teams, and we got our weaknesses exposed. Now, going forward, we can correct the things we need to.”

The game itself went from being a barnburner to a blowout in pretty short order.

After a first half that saw CIA junior Timmy Smithwick score 21 of his team’s 26 points, Seldovia clamped down hard on the Eagles, holding them to only five points in the third quarter and three in the fourth quarter. Smithwick ended the game with 24 points.

“We played a lot of pressure defense and keep the pressure on the whole team,” Janes said. “We had one guy looking at (Timmy) the whole time.”

Seldovia’s suffocating defense left CIA with few options at the end of the game, but the Sea Otter offense wasn’t slacking by any means. Juniors Calem Collier and Aidan Philpot combined for 44 points, with Collier leading the way with 23 and Philpot adding 21.

“We just played tighter defense,” Philpot said of the second-half effort.

Philpot said his on-court battles with Smithwick and the rest of the CIA players over the past few years have fueled his desire to beat the Eagles on the court. Saturday’s win — even though his team didn’t claim the tournament title outright — made it all the more satisfying.

“Ever since seventh grade it’s been like this,” Philpot said. “Our team and Timmy and CIA. Usually we pull it out though.”

Philpot hit two crucial 3-pointers in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to push Seldovia’s lead from eight to 14 points. The pair of treys were a part of a larger 16-0 run that Seldovia produced in the fourth quarter that iced the game.

“I just tried to run our offense, and they were playing a zone (defense) and so the corners were open,” Philpot said about his sharpshooting performance.

Smithwick hit eight shots — including three 3s — to get CIA’s offense going early, while Seldovia’s biggest scorer in the first half came from senior Seth O’Leary and Philpot, who had nine points each.

“(Smithwick) played a great first half, shots were falling for him,” said CIA coach Justin Franchino. “The second half, the same things weren’t happening. It just came down to us not executing and playing the way we’re supposed to play.”

Seldovia held a precarious 29-26 lead at the half, but when Johnny Smithwick sunk a 3 with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter, it brought the gap down to one point.

From there, Collier took over with several quick slashes to the bucket that pushed the lead to 39-31 after three quarters. Philpot’s pair of long-range buckets to begin the fourth quarter ended up as icing on the cake.


In girls action, CIA finished as the big winners of the weekend, claiming the championship with a 45-20 victory over Seldovia that finished off a 3-0 weekend.

Senior captain Ashleigh Hammond led all players in scoring with 14 points, while sophomore Danielle Hills added 10 and junior Kendra Brush and sophomore Emma Lyons had eight points apiece.

“The girls built a lot of confidence through the course of this tournament,” said CIA coach Kenny Leaf. “This allowed us to drop some pressure back and see how we run our offense and how we can run our full-court press.”

Brush, Orth and Hammond were all named to the All-Tournament team.

Junior Olivia Turner paced Seldovia with 11 points, including nine in the first half, and Marina Chissus added five. Both players were named to the All-Tournament team.

After CIA pushed its lead to 20-11 with just over five minutes to play in the first half, the Sea Otters pushed back with three straight buckets from Turner, Monique Cook and Cyrena Joseph that cut the deficit to three points.

“(Turner) had a phenomenal half,” Leaf said. “It wasn’t that we were playing bad defense, she was in heavy coverage and hitting everything.”

After a few adjustments during halftime — in which CIA led 24-17 — the Eagles came out in the second half and began to frustrate the Sea Otters offense. Seldovia scored three points total in the second half.

Soldotna JV boys 66, Kalskag 50

The SoHi JV finished off its weekend with a comfortable win over Kalskag Saturday at CIA, effectively earning the Stars the championship.

Kyle Marcuson’s 13 points led the Stars, while teammates Caleb Spence and Derek Evans chipped in 11 apiece. Kalskag was led by Derrick Holmberg, who scored 19 points, and Austin Hetherington with 15.

Soldotna started fast, finishing the first quarter with a 20-5 lead and the first half with a 37-23 lead.

Soldotna JV girls 39, Kalskag 35

The Stars nipped the Grizzlies on Saturday to finish 1-2 at the tournament, while Kalskag was 0-3.

SoHi trailed 13-2 after one quarter and 23-7 at halftime, but outscored Kalskag 32-12 in the second half.

Madeline Kindred led the second-half comeback, scoring 15 of her 16 points. Kristen Levi had 13 points for the Grizzlies, while Marissa Abarca had 12.


The defending Peninsula Conference Seldovia boys dominated Kalskag to the tune of a 68-21 win Friday at the CIA Classic tournament at Cook Inlet Academy.

Calem Collier poured in 33 points — including 13 in the third quarter — to lead Seldovia, while teammate Aidan Philpot added 14. Derrick Holmberg led Kalskag with eight points.

CIA boys 59, Soldotna JV 52

The host Cook Inlet Academy boys grabbed a close win over the SoHi JV squad Friday, setting the Eagles up for a Saturday match with Seldovia.

Timmy Smithwick scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the first half, while teammate and brother Riley Smithwick notched 17 points, hitting five 3s along the way.

Soldotna’s Derek Evans scored a game-high 22 points, including 12 in the first quarter.

SoHi took control of the opening quarter, moving out to a 19-17 lead heading into the second frame. However, CIA outscored the Stars 16-8 and by halftime held a 33-27 lead.

CIA girls 41, Soldotna JV 18

The host Eagles cruised to a win Friday over the Soldotna JV squad.

Team captains Ashleigh Hammond and Madison Orth combined for 28 of CIA’s points, with each chipping in 14 points. Sophie Sorenson led the Stars in scoring with six points, while Judah Aley added four.

CIA started fast with 17 first-quarter points, but struggled in the second with only two points, leading to a 19-10 halftime lead.

The Eagles caught fire once again in the third stanza, getting 15 points.

CIA will play Seldovia Saturday at 3 p.m.

Seldovia girls 29, Kalskag 27

The Sea Otters escaped with a narrow victory over Kalskag Friday at the CIA Classic.

Marina Chissus scored 10 of her team-high 14 points in the first half, when Seldovia outscored Kalskag 14-10, and held Kalskag scoreless in the opening quarter. Olivia Turner added 11 points to follow Chissus.

Marissa Abarea scored 16 of Kalskag’s points to lead the team, hitting four 3-pointers.


CIA Classic


All-tournament — Sonya Houser, Soldotna; Judah Aley, Soldotna; Kendra Brush, CIA; Delaney Schneider, Soldotna; Abigail Kruse, Soldotna; Marissa Abarca, Kalskag; Marina Chissus, Seldovia; Olivia Turner, Seldovia; Madison Orth, CIA; Ashley Hammond, CIA.

Free-throw champ — Madison Orth, CIA.

Sportsmanship — Seldovia Sea Otters.


All-tournament — Andrew Hammond, CIA; Austin Heatherington, Kalskag; Johnny Smithwick, CIA; Derrick Holmberg, Kalskag; Riley Smithwick, CIA; Calem Collier, Seldovia; Caleb Spence, Soldotna; Derek Evans, Soldotna; Aidan Philpot, Seldovia; Timmy Smithwick, CIA.

Free-throw champ — Aidan Philpot, Seldovia.

Sportsmanship — Kalskag Grizzlies.


Saturday boys

Sea Otters 55, Eagles 34

Seldovia 13 16 10 16 —55

Cook Inlet 12 14 5 3 —34

SELDOVIA (55) — R. Waterbury 0 0-0 0, Ozyildirim 0 0-1 0, D. Waterbury 0 0-2 0, Collier 7 7-9 23, Haller 1 0-2 2, Philpot 8 2-2 21, O’Leary 3 3-6 9. Totals 19 12-22 55.

CIA (34) — A. Hammond 2 0-2 4, B. Hammond 0 0-0 0, R. Smithwick 0 0-1 0, Miller 0 0-0 0, J. Smithwick 1 0-2 3, Solie 1 0-0 3, T. Smithwick 9 3-4 24. Totals 13 3-9 34.

3-point goals — Seldovia 5 (Philpot 3, Collier 2); CIA 5 (T. Smithwick 3, J. Smithwick 1, Solie 1). Fouled out — R. Smithwick.


Saturday girls

Eagles 45, Sea Otters 20

Cook Inlet 16 8 13 8 —45

Seldovia 9 8 1 2 —20

CIA (45) — Orth 2 0-0 4, Hammond 5 2-6 14, Lyons 3 0-0 8, Brush 4 0-1 8, Hills 5 0-3 10, Taplin 0 0-0 0, Carey 0 1-2 1, Delon 0 0-0 0. Totals 19 3-12 45.

SELDOVIA (20) — Cook 1 0-0 2, Waterbury 0 0-0 0, Turner 5 0-0 11, LaBelle 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 0 0-1 0, Naumann 0 0-0 0, Meganack 0 0-0 0, Chissus 2 1-4 5, Joseph 1 0-0 2. Totals 9 1-5 20.

3-point goals — CIA 4 (Lyons 2, Hammond 2); Seldovia 1 (Turner). Fouled out — none.


Friday boys

Sea Otters 68, Grizzlies 21

Seldovia 22 20 21 5 —68

Kalskag 9 6 2 4 —21

SELDOVIA (68) — R. Waterbury 0 1-2 1, Scribner 0 0-0 0, Ozyildirim 1 1-2 3, D. Waterbury 3 1-2 7, Collier 12 1-2 33, Haller 1 0-0 2, Philpot 4 4-6 14, O’Leary 2 4-4 8, Stanish 0 0-0 0. Totals 23 12-18 68.

KALSKAG (21) — Wire 1 0-0 2, Mute 2 0-0 6, Levi 0 0-0 0, A. Hetherington 2 1-2 5, Holmberg 4 2-2 8, B. Hetherington 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 3-4 21.

3-point goals — Seldovia 10 (Collier 8, Philpot 2); Kalskag 2 (Mute 2). Fouled out — A. Hetherington.


Eagles 59, Stars JV 52

CIA 17 16 14 12 —59

Soldotna 19 8 8 17 —52

CIA (59) — A. Hammond 1 2-3 4, B. Hammond 0 0-0 0, R. Smithwick 6 0-0 17, Miller 0 0-0 0, J. Smithwick 3 2-2 9, Solie 4 0-0 9, T. Smithwick 6 5-6 20, Barlow 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 9-11 59.

SOLDOTNA (52) — Harshman 0 0-0 0, Spence 3 1-2 8, Kruse 1 0-0 2, Casey 1 0-0 3, Becher 1 1-2 3, Evans 10 2-2 22, Shendan 0 1-3 1, Dickson 0 0-0 0, Marouson 6 0-2 13. Totals 22 5-11 52.

3-point goals — CIA 10 (R. Smithwick 5, T. Smithwick 3, J. Smithwick 1, Solie 1); Soldotna JV 3 (Spence 1, Casey 1, Marouson 1). Fouled out — none.


Friday girls

Eagles 41, Stars JV 18

Cook Inlet 17 2 15 7 —41

Soldotna 3 4 3 8 —18

CIA (41) — Delon 0 0-0 0, Carey 1 0-0 2, Taplin 0 0-0 0, Hills 2 0-2 4, Brush 2 0-2 5, Lyons 1 0-0 2, Hammond 4 5-6 14, Orth 6 1-3 14. Totals 16 6-13 41.

SOLDOTNA (18) — Aley 1 2-4 4, Sorenson 3 0-0 6, Schneider 0 0-0 0, Keyes 0 0-0 0, Tiana 1 1-2 3, Kruse 0 0-0 0, Houser 0 3-6 3, Kindred 1 0-2 2, Graham 0 0-0 0, Farrell 0 0-0 0. Totals 6 6-14 18.

3-point goals — CIA 2 (Brush 1, Hammond 1).

Fouled out — none.


Sea Otters 29, Grizzlies 27

Seldovia 6 8 3 12 —29

Kalskag 0 10 7 10 —27

SELDOVIA (29) — Joseph 1 0-0 2, Chissus 6 2-4 14, Mayonack 1 0-0 2, Neumann 0 0-0 0, Mitchell 0 0-0 0, LaBelle 0 0-0 0, Turner 4 3-4 11, Waterbury 0 0-2 0. Totals 12 5-10 29.

KALSKAG (27) — Holmberg 0 0-0 0, Levi 1 2-5 4, Samuelson 1 0-1 3, Nook 0 0-0 0, Abarea 6 0-2 16 Nelson 0 0-0 0, Wise 2 0-0 4. Totals 8 2-8 27.

3-point goals — Kalskag 5 (Abarea 4, Samuelson 1). Fouled out — Samuelson.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cook Inlet Academy Eagle's Kendall Taplin tries to pass the ball around Seldovia Lady Sea Otters' Violet Mitchell Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Cook Inlet Academy Eagle’s Kendall Taplin tries to pass the ball around Seldovia Lady Sea Otters’ Violet Mitchell Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014, at Cook Inlet Academy in Soldotna, Alaska.

More in Sports

Kenai Central's Sawyer Vann controls Nikiski's Wyatt Maguire at 125 pounds Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021, at Nikiski High School in Nikiski, Alaska. Vann notched a 7-6 victory. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Area wrestlers collect mat time before Thanksgiving break

Area wrestlers got in some mat time Tuesday before the Thanksgiving break.… Continue reading

Soldotna junior Liam Babitt holds a grip on South Anchorage’s Britten Hamilton during the 215-pound final of the Lancer Smith Fall Varsity 2021 Invite on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021 at the Menard Arena in Wasilla, Alaska. (Photo by Jeremiah Bartz/Frontiersman)
Soldotna crowns 4 champions at Lancer Smith

The Soldotna wrestling team finished fourth Friday and Saturday at the Lancer… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Bryce Monrean tries to find a way through the defense of the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues during a first-period power play Friday, Nov. 19, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Jr. Blues come back to take series from Bears

The Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues lost not only a 2020-21 season to… Continue reading

Assistant coach Taylor Shaw leads the Kenai River Brown Bears during a game Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears start search for new head coach

The Kenai River Brown Bears issued a press release Friday about staff… Continue reading

Hockey roundup: SoHi sweeps in Kodiak; West wins End of Road tourney

The Soldotna hockey team swept Kodiak in the first high school games… Continue reading

A brown bear feeds on a salmon. (Photo by C. Canterbury/USFWS)
Refuge Notebook: Bears, uniquely built to respond to winter

With the new snow and temperatures dipping into the single digits, you… Continue reading

Kenai Central's Caden Warren surveys the ice against West at the End of the Road Tournament at Kevin Bell Arena in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Kenai, Homer hockey lose to open tourney

The Kenai Central and Homer hockey teams both opened the End of… Continue reading

Caden Triggs of the Kenai River Brown Bears celebrates his first-period goal against the Springfield (Illinois) Jr. Blues on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears topple Jr. Blues

By JEFF HELMINIAK Peninsula Clarion The Kenai River Brown Bears received two… Continue reading

Michael proposes to Sarah at the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Out of the Office: Falling in love one snowflake at a time

Do you want to know what I’ve been looking forward to the… Continue reading

Kenai River Brown Bears forward Caden Triggs carries the puck against Anchorage Wolverines defenseman Campbell Cichosz on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Brown Bears to host 1st place Jr. Blues

The current stretch of the schedule for the Kenai River Brown Bears… Continue reading

Soldotna's Isaac Chavarria wrestles to a major decision over Kenai Central's Andrew Gaethle at 152 pounds during a dual meet at Kenai Central High School on Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi wrestlers take dual meet from Kenai

The visiting Soldotna wrestling team defeated Kenai Central 69-6 in a dual… Continue reading