The Soldotna girls and boys basketball teams pulled off a senior night sweep over rival Kenai Central on Saturday in nonconference basketball action.
The Stars girls rolled to a 62-30 victory, while the boys pulled away in the second half for a 48-35 triumph.
The Soldotna girls honored four for senior night — Meijan Leaf, Ituau Tuisaula, Kianna Holland and Rachel Spence.
The Stars boys honored nine of the 10 on their roster before the game. The seniors are Mekhai Rich, Jeffrey Bouschor, Tyler Morrison, Zach Hanson, Iona Reutov, Ray Chumley, Jersey Truesdell, Cameron Johnson and Levi Rosin. Senior Faith Glassmaker also was honored as the boys team manager.
The Soldotna girls got off to an 11-6 lead in the first quarter thanks mainly to Tuisuala. She had her team’s first nine points in the game en route to finishing with a game-high 23.
“We don’t really have an answer for her,” Kenai coach Jeff Swick said. “She can drive and she can post up, and she did both of those things well against us.”
In the second quarter, Leaf stepped to the fore with jumper after jumper to score eight of her 12 points as SoHi led 23-9 at the half.
“She’s capable in practice, but she hasn’t done it in a game,” Soldotna coach Kyle McFall said. “She played the game of her life and she did it on senior night.”
As much as McFall enjoyed all the jumpshots by Leaf, he said his team settled for too many jumpers in the first half.
In getting swept at Wasilla and Colony, McFall said the Stars lost a bit of confidence and their identity.
“We’ve been working on getting back to pressure defense and running on offense,” McFall said. “We’re not going to beat those teams grinding.”
In the second half, the Stars earned multiple layups by beating the Kardinals down the floor. Drysta Crosby-Schneider had 10 of her 14 points in the third quarter, while Morgan Bouschor had nine of her 10 points in the fourth quarter.
“At halftime, I told them to get out and run,” McFall said. “Drysta and Morgan did a good job of that.”
Swick said all of SoHi’s offensive weapons were too much to handle, but he did say his team got valuable experience handling the ball against speed and aggression.
“We’ve got to get used to facing that intense, hard defense,” he said. “We were capable of breaking their press, but then a lot of times we were shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Kailey Hamilton paced Kenai with 13 points.
“She battled on the inside today,” Swick said. “She was on the floor more times than I can count.”
Soldotna boys 48, Kenai 35
The host Stars used a big third quarter to break away from their rivals as the massive crop of seniors left their home floor for the last time happy.
The Kardinals led 10-8 after the first quarter, but Soldotna led 22-18 at halftime. The Stars then won the third quarter 13-6 to take control of the game.
In his last game on a home floor during a career which has seen him score over 1,000 points, Truesdell hit five 3-pointers to lead all scorers with 20 points. Also for the Stars, Chumley had eight, Rosin had seven, Rich had five, Morrison had five and Bouschor had three.
For the Kardinals, Kayden Daniels had nine, Braedon Pitsch had nine, Jordan Kvasnikoff had eight, Evan Stockton had six and Lucas Tunseth added three.
Stars 62, Kardinals 30
Kenai 6 3 11 10 —30
Soldotna 11 12 19 20 —62
KENAI CENTRAL (30) — Morris 2, Pierce 2, Hamilton 13, Streiff 4, Severson 9.
SOLDOTNA (62) — Leif 12, Bouschor 10, Tuisaula 23, Fischer 3, Crosby-Schneider 14.
3-point goals — Kenai 2 (Hamilton, Streiff); Soldotna 2 (Bouschor, Tuisaula).
Stars 48, Kardinals 35
Kenai 10 8 6 11 —35
Soldotna 8 14 13 13 —48
KENAI CENTRAL (35) — Jo. Kvasnikoff 8, Stockton 6, Tunseth 3, Pitsch 9, Daniels 9.
SOLDOTNA (48) — Truesdell 20, Chumley 8, Rosin 7, Rich 5, Morrison 5, Bouschor 3.