Tuesday hoops roundup: SoHi boys escape with win over Kenai

It may not have been pretty, but the SoHi boys escaped Tuesday night with their first Northern Lights Conference win of the season, holding off a frenzied rally by the Kenai boys to win 67-63.

After scoring 17 first-half points that left them trailing by 24 at halftime, the Kardinals mounted a comeback that very nearly succeeded by piling up 46 second-half points.

Kenai coach Ken Felchle said he has never seen a bigger rally from his boys squad in his time coaching the team.

“I’ve never been a part of that or quite frankly, seen something of that level,” Felchle said. “First of all, credit to Soldotna. They came out and hit us in the face.”

Seniors Joe Weltzin and Nate Spence led SoHi in scoring with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Weltzin said even though Kenai made a game of it in the end, it still felt good to snap a four-game losing skid.

“We got the W, which we need to lift us up right now,” Weltzin said. “We came out wanting to win and beat Kenai, but our third quarter all year has been the worst all year.”

The Stars (1-2 in conference, 6-7 overall) scored 28 points in the second quarter to stake out a 41-17 lead at halftime. SoHi found most of its success by attacking the rim, with most of the damage coming from Spence. Spence was 6 of 7 from the line in the first half, and ended the game 9 for 11.

SoHi was also deadly from beyond the arc. Dylan Kuntz came out firing from the 3-point line, sinking three treys in a span of two minutes that lifted his team to a 23-11 lead early in the second quarter.

“It was the best first half we’ve had this year, and it was the worst second half we’ve had,” said Soldotna coach Mark Tuter. “That’s pretty much been the picture of our season thus far.”

SoHi also owned a 24-7 advantage on the boards in the first half.

However, in their effort to sit on the lead and cruise to the win, the Stars nearly gave it away. Keith Ivy got the rally going with a pair of floaters in the first two minutes of the third quarter, then was joined by Marshall Vest, Jonah Theisen and Josh Jackman. Theisen scored a game-high 18 points.

Vest in particular found the netting with ease, hitting two 3s and a jumper in a time span of less than two minutes. Jackman caught a defensive rebound and raced down the court to score a layup with 1:48 left in the third quarter to cut SoHi’s lead to 47-37.

“We just weren’t stepping out and defending them,” Tuter said. “We were letting them shoot, and I was screaming to step out and defend them.”

The Kards ended up with four shots from beyond the arc in the quarter.

Weltzin countered for SoHi with two driving layups early in the fourth quarter to push the Stars back up by 14 points. “I got a little more height than they do, and just getting down low was helping,” Weltzin said.

However, the Kards kept hitting back. Jackman nailed a 3 with 4:03 left in the third quarter, then Ivy followed with another trey with 3:23 remaining to cut the lead back to 10 points.

“I just put it on the shoulders of the guys,” Felchle said. “I asked them to play for each other, because it’s a lot easier to live with disappointing yourself, but a lot of times you can’t live with disappointing the ones that mean the most to you, your teammates.”

Theisen found space on the outer edge and netted his second 3 with 1:52 left. On the ensuing SoHi possession, Ivy caught a steal and converted the transition layup to cut the Stars lead to 61-56 with 90 seconds to play.

After the next SoHi possession came up empty, Ivy was fouled from the arc and stepped up for three free-throw attempts, hitting two of them to make it a one-possession game at 61-58.

With 36 seconds left, Theisen grabbed an offensive rebound and put in the layup for a 62-60 score. However, that would be the closest the Kards came to completing the upset comeback.

“They fought as hard as I’ve ever seen any team fight,” Felchle said. “I’m as proud as I can be.”

Jackman helped Kenai out with three free-throw attempts after getting fouled from the arc with three seconds left, but Brooks Furlong sunk the second of two free throws with 2.3 ticks on the clock to seal the game.

Ultimately, Soldotna ended up going 25 for 36 from the free-throw line.

Soldotna girls 34, Kenai 23

The Stars managed to figure out Kenai’s notoriously tough defense to nab their first NLC win of the year Tuesday night at Soldotna.

Senior Haley Miller led the Stars in a balanced effort with 10 points, while teammate Kelsey Jackson added six. Skylar Shaw, Lindsey Wong and Hayley Ramsell each chipped in five points as well.

Kenai’s Abby Beck led the Kards with nine points, and Hannah Drury and Alli Steinbeck added four points each.

“We ironed out some things in practice after last weekend,” said SoHi coach Kyle McFall. “We gambled too much on defense, so we gotta get smarter that way, but we’ll get better at that.”

After a fairly even first quarter, Kenai cut Soldotna’s lead to 12-10 with four minutes remaining in the second quarter.

From there, the Stars took control and hit 8 of 10 free throw attempts in the quarter. Soldotna scored 10 unanswered points to end the half for a 22-10 lead.

Miller caught fire in the third quarter to help push the lead to 28-11 with 4:29 to play, all while holding Kenai to six points.

Kenai responded by keeping SoHi to two points in the entire fourth quarter, but it was not enough to make up the gap.

Cook Inlet boys 51, Nanwalek 18

The host Eagles cruised to a Peninsula Conference win Tuesday.

Timmy Smithwick paced CIA with 19 points, including 10 in a first quarter that saw Cook Inlet bolt to a 27-5 lead. Xavier Romanoff had 10 for Nanwalek.

Nikolaevsk girls 38, Ninilchik 16

The host Warriors used a stifling defensive effort to notch a Peninsula Conference victory Tuesday.

Nikolaevsk allowed just eight points through the first three quarters to take control of the game.

Serafima Kalugin had 18 points for the Warriors, while Kilina Klaich added nine. For Ninilchik, Olivia Delgado led the way with six points.

Nikolaevsk boys 61, Ninilchik 51

The host Warriors dominated the first quarter en route to a victory over the Wolverines on Tuesday.

Nikolaevsk won the first quarter 18-5 and was able to keep at least a 10-point lead after each quarter.

The Warriors got it done with balanced scoring, as Jonah Fefelov had 17, Neil Gordeev had 14, and Nikit Fefelov and Felemon Molodih had 10 apiece.

For Ninilchik, Tyler Presley poured in 21, while Austin White added 20.

 

Tuesday girls

Warriors 38, Wolverines 16

Ninilchik 4 2 2 8 —16

Nikolaevsk 9 14 10 5 —38

NINILCHIK (16) — Delgado 2 2-4 6, Appelhanz 0 0-0 0, Cooper 0 0-0 0, Goins 0 0-2 0, Finney 1 3-8 5, Me. Clark 1 1-2 3, Mi. Clark 1 0-0 2. Totals —5 6-16 16.

NIKOLAEVSK (38) — Ki. Klaich 3 3-6 9, Kr. Klaich 0 0-0 0, Fefelov 1 2-4 4, Johnson 0 0-0 0, Sellers 0 0-0 0, Mametieff 0 0-0 0, Kalugin 6 5-11 18, N. Gordeev 2 1-2 5, E. Gordeev 0 0-0 0, Dorvall 0 0-0 0, Hickman 1 0-0 2, Jones 0 0-0 0. Totals — 13 11-23 38.

3-point goals — Nikolaevsk 1 (Kalugin 1). Team fouls — Ninilchik 17, Nikolaevsk 15. Fouled out — Mi. Clark.

 

Stars 34, Kardinals 23

Kenai 4 6 7 6 —23

Soldotna 9 13 10 2 —34

KENAI CENTRAL (23) — Ostrander 1 0-0 2, Holmes 0 0-0 0, Drury 2 0-0 4, Steinbeck 0 4-4 4, Baker 0 0-1 0, Booth 0 0-0 0, Barcus 0 2-2 2, Beck 3 3-6 9, Every 1 0-0 2. Totals — 7 9-13 23.

SOLDOTNA (34) — Nelson 1 0-0 3, Shaw 1 2-2 5, Jackson 2 2-2 6, Wong 0 5-6 5, Ramsell 1 3-4 5, Miller 4 2-2 10, Glaves 0 0-2 0. Totals — 9 14-18 34.

3-point goals — Soldotna 2 (Nelson, Shaw). Team fouls — Kenai 13, Soldotna 13. Fouled out — Ramsell.

 

Tuesday boys

Warriors 61, Wolverines 51

Ninilchik 5 12 13 21 —51

Nikolaevsk 18 11 14 18 —61

NINILCHIK (51) — Appelhanz 0 0-0 0, Presley 7 5-5 21, Mireles 2 0-1 4, Bartolowits 2 0-0 6, Pasqua 0 0-0 0, White 10 0-2 20. Totals — 21 5-8 51.

NIKOLAEVSK (61) — K. Molodih 0 1-2 1, Trail 2 1-1 5, N. Fefelov 3 3-4 10, Gordeev 7 0-2 14, F. Molodih 5 0-0 10, J. Fefelov 5 4-5 17, Kalugin 2 0-0 4. Totals — 24 9-14 61.

3-point goals — Ninilchik 4 (Presley 2, Bartolowits 2); Nikolaevsk 4 (J. Fefelov 3, N. Fefelov 1). Team fouls — Ninilchik 16, Nikolaevsk 12. Fouled out — none.

 

Cook Inlet 51, Nanwalek 18

Nanwalek 5 7 4 2 —18

CIA 27 7 6 11 —51

NANWALEK (18) — Romanoff 4 0-0 10, Jimmy 0 0-0 0, Bales 0 0-0 0, Huntsman 2 0-0 4, Ukatish 2 0-0 4. Totals — 8 0-0 18.

COOK INLET ACADEMY (51) — A. Hammond 2 0-0 4, B. Hammond 3 0-0 6, R. Smithwick 2 1-2 5, Miller 1 0-0 3, Barlow 3 0-0 7, J. Smithwick 2 0-0 4, Solie 1 0-0 3, T. Smithwick 9 0-0 19. Totals — 23 1-2 51.

3-point goals — Nanwalek 2 (Romanoff 2); CIA 4 (Miller, Barlow, Solie, T. Smithwick). Team fouls — Nanwalek 1, CIA 0. Fouled out — none.

 

Stars 67, Kardinals 63

Kenai 9 8 20 26 —63

Soldotna 13 28 9 17 —67

KENAI CENTRAL (63) — Theisen 6 4-4 18, Ivy 4 4-5 14, McKee 1 0-3 2, Brazell 0 0-0 0, Jackman 5 3-3 14, Vest 3 0-0 8, Foree 3 0-1 7, Wortham 0 0-2 0. Totals — 22 11-18 63.

SOLDOTNA (67) — Kuntz 3 5-7 14, Weltzin 7 2-5 16, Gibbs 0 0-0 0, Furlong 2 8-9 12, Phillips 2 0-2 4, Spence 3 9-11 15, Duke 1 0-0 3, Fowler 1 1-2 3, Trammell 0 0-0 0. Totals — 19 25-36 67.

3-point goals — Kenai 8 (Theisen 2, Ivy 2, Vest 2, Jackman, Foree); Soldotna 4 (Kuntz 3, Duke). Team fouls — Kenai 23, Soldotna 15. Fouled out — McKee, Foree.

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