Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna guard Caleb Spence splits a few Colony defenders for a layup Saturday at Soldotna High School. The Stars beat the Knights 63-49.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Soldotna guard Caleb Spence splits a few Colony defenders for a layup Saturday at Soldotna High School. The Stars beat the Knights 63-49.

Soldotna hoops splits with Colony, swept by Wasilla

Tied at 29 apiece at halftime, the Soldotna boys knew a spectacular second half would be needed to beat a team that has gotten the best of the Stars for several years.

SoHi did exactly that Saturday with a third-quarter surge that propelled the home team to a 63-49 Northern Lights Conference victory over the Colony Knights at Soldotna High School.

Timmy Smithwick fueled SoHi with 24 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, and Derek Evans added 16.

After several close losses this season have kept the Stars from making a serious run for a regular-season conference crown, Soldotna head coach Mark Tuter said it felt good to finally win a game that SoHi was capable of winning.

“We’re tired of moral victories,” Tuter said.

The win lifted SoHi to 4-4 in conference and 9-11 overall. Before this weekend, the Colony boys had been unbeaten in conference play, but consecutive losses to Kenai Central and SoHi have left the reeling Knights 6-2 in NLC and 11-8 overall.

Tuter said it had been at least five years since the Soldotna boys beat Colony, which highlighted the special feeling surrounding Saturday’s victory.

“For us, this is big,” he said. “We had a lot of sophomores and juniors out there, and Adrian (Dickson) came off the bench and had a huge game.”

Dickson, a senior forward, came off the bench to deliver five points, including a corner 3 in the third quarter that helped spark SoHi’s run to the victory.

Smithwick played a big role in distancing the Stars from the Knights in the fourth quarter, starting with a steal and a transition layup with 5:23 to play in the game that put SoHi up 52-39.

“We were just trying to keep our composure in running the offense,” Smithwick said. “We’ve kind of struggled sometimes in the second half in keeping everything under control.

“Everyone came ready to play.”

Following a Colony possession that came up empty, Smithwick grabbed the defensive rebound and raced down the court for a transition layup with 4:18 to go that put SoHi ahead 55-42. On the next SoHi possession, Smithwick stepped back for a jumper, and then with 2:35 left, raced down court to put a nasty block on Colony’s Nolan Martin.

After hitting a pair of foul shots with 2:25 left, Smithwick immediately stole the ball away from the Knights and put another layup in to distance the Stars 62-44, effectively icing the game.

Anton Chamblee led Colony with 16 points, but suffered a poor shooting performance and only had five in the second half. Tuter tasked the sophomore Eli Sheridan with guarding the quick and nimble senior guard from Colony in the second half.

“He’s one of the toughest kids we’ve got,” Tuter said about Sheridan. “He does what he’s told.”

On offense, Sheridan ended with nine points. Smithwick said he was impressed with how the 5-foot-9 guard stopped Chamblee.

“He just took Anton out of his game big time,” Smithwick said. “Eli just came out and totally shut him down.”

In the second quarter, both sides staged a 3-point contest, as Chamblee, Smithwick and Dylan Kuntz buried a combined four treys in a span of 1:06, and Smithwick added a fifth late in the frame. The lead exchanged hands four times in that stretch, and the first half ended with a Brandon Nicholson offensive rebound tip-in at the buzzer to tie things up at 29-29.

As the region tournament draws nearer, Smithwick said he feels especially hopeful of making a state bid a reality for the first time in his high school career. In three years at Cook Inlet Academy, a Class 1A school, Smithwick was a part of three close calls, coming up short in the Peninsula Conference tournament by one game in three straight years. Smithwick was still a year out from joining the high school team the last time the CIA boys went to state in 2012.

“My older brother Riley was a part of that state run,” Smithwick said. “Right now, we’re starting to figure it out and know where we want to be.”

Colony girls 43, Soldotna 25

The girls game Saturday at Soldotna High School also featured a halftime tie, but it was the visiting Knights who pulled off a second-half surge to beat the Stars.

Colony moved to 7-1 in NLC play and 12-6 overall, while SoHi dropped to 2-6 in conference, 7-15 overall.

Led by their top scorer Chase Stephens, who piled up 15 points, the Knights broke a 16-all halftime tie with a banked jumper from Stephens and proceeded to outscore their opponents 16-5 in the third quarter and 11-4 in the fourth.

Senior guard Lindsey Wong led SoHi with eight points, while Kendra Brush and Maddie Kindred chipped in five apiece.

Colony head coach Jeff Bowker pointed to Friday’s conference game against Kenai as a similar example of his team executing.

“We attacked the gaps and got (Soldotna) out of their zone,” Bowker said. “Alex (Carlton) and Haylee (Duguid) both had terrific energy in the second half.”

Following the quick second-half start by Stephens, Carlton put in a jump shot with 5:19 left in the third quarter, and with two minutes to go, Duguid sank a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 27-19.

Duguid then buried a corner 3 with a minute left in the frame and Carlton hit a jumper at the buzzer to push the lead to 32-21 heading into the fourth quarter.

Wong became one of SoHi’s primary attackers in the fourth quarter, trying everything to cut into the deficit. Wong’s off balance jumper with 4:29 to play in the game closed SoHi’s gap to 35-25, but that would be as close as the Stars would get. Two buckets by Carlton in the ensuing 90 seconds sealed the win for Colony.

With the NLC tournament just three weeks out, teams are working to close up any loose ends and weaknesses in their game, and Bowker said he is feeling pretty confident about what his Knights squad can accomplish.

“This (win) is good for us, it’s always good to get a league win,” he said. “It’s a grind sometimes, going on the road and playing two games in 18 hours.

“But now all we’ve got left is our Valley rivals.”

Wasilla girls 62, Soldotna 25

The Wasilla girls burst out of the gates Friday night at Soldotna High School, outscoring SoHi 51-14 by the third quarter to cruise to a conference victory.

Leya DePriest and McKenna Dinkel led the Warriors with 11 points apiece, while Lindsey Wong powered the Stars with 11 as well.

Wasilla boys 42, Soldotna 31

The Warriors notched an NLC victory Friday night in Soldotna, getting 10 points from Isaac Houck.

Timmy Smithwick led the Stars with 14 points.

Wasilla led an early defensive battle 19-13 at halftime, but did not quite distance itself until the fourth quarter, when the Warriors outscored the Stars 13-7.


Saturday boys

Stars 63, Knights 49

Colony 11 18 8 12 —49

Soldotna 11 18 15 19 —63

COLONY (49) — James 7 0-0 15, Nygard 0 0-0 0, Neuner 1 0-0 2, Chamblee 6 1-2 16, Martin 2 1-2 6, Nicholson 3 0-0 6, Menard 1 2-2 4. Totals 20 4-6 49.

SOLDOTNA (63) — Kuntz 1 0-0 3, Sheridan 2 3-4 9, Casey 0 0-0 0, Spence 2 2-4 6, Dickson 2 0-0 5, Smithwick 9 3-4 24, Evans 5 6-8 16. Totals 21 14-20 63.

3-point goals — Colony 5 (Chamblee 3, James 1, Martin 1); Soldotna 7 (Smithwick 3, Sheridan 2, Kuntz 1, Dickson 1).

Team fouls — Colony 17; Soldotna 10. Fouled out — none.

Saturday girls

Knights 43, Kardinals 25

Colony 8 8 16 11 —43

Soldotna 9 7 5 4 —25

COLONY (43) — Duguid 2 3-4 8, Adams 0 0-0 0, Smith 0 7-8 7, Clary 0 0-0 0, Lankford 0 0-0 0, Stephens 5 5-8 15, Peltier 0 0-0 0, Steiner 1 0-0 2, Carlton 3 1-2 7, Smith 1 0-0 2, Simpson 0 0-0 0, Clary 1 0-0 2. Totals 13 16-22 43.

SOLDOTNA (25) — Nelson 2 0-1 4, Miller 0 0-0 0, A. Schmidt 1 1-2 3, Wong 4 0-4 8, Blossom 0 0-0 0, Brush 1 2-2 5, McElroy 0 0-0 0, D. Schmidt 0 0-0 0, Tuisaula 0 0-0 0, Kindred 2 1-2 5. Totals 10 4-11 25.

3-point goals — Colony 1 (Duguid); Soldotna 1 (Brush).

Team fouls — Colony 10; Soldotna 19. Fouled out — none.


Friday girls

Warriors 62, Stars 25

Wasilla 13 17 21 11 —62

Soldotna 5 3 6 11 —25

Wasilla (62) — Kelly 1 0-0 2, Davies 3 0-0 6, Drorbaugh 1 1-2 4, Heath 0 3-4 3, Obremski 2 2-2 7, Baham 3 0-0 7, Lindeman 2 1-2 5, Wheeler 1 2-2 4, Dinkel 5 1-2 11, Green 1 0-0 2, DePriest 5 1-4 11. Totals 24 11-18 62.

Soldotna (25) — A. Schmidt 0 1-2 1, Wong 3 5-8 11, Blossom 2 0-0 6, Brush 1 0-0 3, Kendred 2 0-0 4. Totals 8 6-10 25.

3-point field goals — Wasilla 3 (Drorbaugh, Obremski, Baham 1), Soldotna 3 (Blossom 2). Total fouls — Wasilla 11, Soldotna 13.


Friday boys

Warriors 42, Stars 31

Wasilla 12 7 10 13 —42

Soldotna 9 4 11 7 —31

Wasilla (42) — Brown 4 1-5 9, Headdings 2 2-2 6, Devine 2 1-1 5, Houck 4 1-2 10, Milliron 3 0-0 6, Lee 2 2-2 6. Totals 17 7-12 42.

Soldotna (31) — Kuntz 1 0-0 3, Casey 0 1-2 1, Spence 2 0-0 4, Smithwick 5 2-3 14, Evans 3 3-4 9. Totals 11 6-9 31. 3-point field goals — Wasilla 1 (Houck 1), Soldotna 3 (Smithwick 2). Total fouls — Wasilla 8, Soldotna 13.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Colony guard Amanda Smith (center) is mobbed by Soldotna defenders (left to right) Lindsey Wong, Aliann Schmidt and Danica Schmidt Saturday at Soldotna High School. The Knights defeated the Stars 43-25.

Photo by Joey Klecka/Peninsula Clarion Colony guard Amanda Smith (center) is mobbed by Soldotna defenders (left to right) Lindsey Wong, Aliann Schmidt and Danica Schmidt Saturday at Soldotna High School. The Knights defeated the Stars 43-25.

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