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Cook Inlet Classic Tournament

Posted: December 20, 2013 - 1:07am

When Nikolaevsk and Cook Inlet Academy face each other on the basketball court these days, it’s almost a given that it will be a close game.

On Thursday at the Cook Inlet Classic tournament at CIA, the boys and girls teams split. Nikolaevsk edged CIA 27-26 in the girls contest, while the Eagles beat the Warriors 51-43 in the boys game.

The girls game was a rematch of last spring’s exciting 1A State championship that resulted in three overtime periods and the CIA girls capturing the crown in a 43-39 thriller. On Thursday, Nikolaevsk took a shot back and opened the season with a win over the team that denied them the state title almost nine months ago.

“We have a great rivalry with CIA and it was a lot of fun,” said Nikolaevsk girls coach Bea Klaich. “I’m thankful — as poorly as we played today — to come out on top. Less than a week ago we were playing volleyball at state, so we’re just scrambling right now.”

Both teams returned most of the their starters from last year, so it was no surprise the action was once again close and intense, and a 13-12 halftime score certainly indicated that.

Senior Nianiella Dorvall led the Warriors with 15 points, and it was her layup with 1 minute, 56 seconds remaining that put Nikolaevsk ahead for good. 49 seconds before, CIA sophomore Kendra Brush sunk a go-ahead 3-pointer, but after Dorvall’s play, the Eagles were left scrambling. Brush led CIA with eight points.

Multiple attempts to score were denied in the final minute for both squads, and as the last few seconds ticked off the clock, Nikolaevsk’s Kayla Stafford fouled CIA freshman Danielle Hills.

“I’m just glad that it wasn’t experience at the line,” Klaich said. “I knew that girl’s a good shooter, but sometimes when you’re a younger player, it’s difficult to shoot that from the line.”

What looked to be the gamewinning free throws resulted in two misses from Hills with just two-tenths of a second left in the game, and the Warriors were able to snatch the rebound and end the game.

“Basically you just say, take your shot and whatever happens, happens,” said CIA coach Rustin Hitchcock. “I’m not going to be mad because you got the foul and that’s what you’re supposed to do.”

It was a finish that looked very similar to the state championship game in March, which ended in regulation with two free throws from none other than Stafford that ended up tying the game with no time remaining.

“I was okay if we went into overtime, but foul trouble hurt us in this game,” Klaich said. “My starters were in foul trouble the entire game. I sat (Dorvall) more than I normally do, my point guard (Stafford) sat for almost half the game. That really made the difference.”

In the boys game, CIA managed to distance itself in the final five minutes of a close contest, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Nikolaevsk senior Anthony Yakunin put up a jumper with 5:15 remaining that extended the Warrior’s lead to 39-36, but the Eagles weren’t done yet.

Riley Solie struck first with a layup only 16 seconds later, and an arcing 3-pointer from Riley Smithwick with 3:41 left put CIA ahead by two.

“I told them, what makes a champion a champion is finding ways to win,” said CIA coach Justin Franchino. “We started hitting 3’s, and instead of falling back on our heels we tightened up the defense and took control of the game.

“I think the last eight or 10 points we had were uncontested layups, and that’s just good ball movement and looking for each other.”

Timmy Smithwick led the Eagles with 15 points, and teammate Mylon Weems added 10.

Nikolaevsk was paced by Jaruby Nelson with 11 points, while Yakunin and Nikit Fefelov each contributed 10.

“We had a few errors down the stretch that cost us, but this is the first game with some of the boys,” said Nikolaevsk coach Steve Klaich. “I was really optimistic with our passing. The effort and intensity was good.”

Trailing 20-14 at halftime, Nikolaevsk put together a 19-point third quarter that left them with a 33-30 lead going into the fourth frame.

Yakutat girls 44, Ninilchik 16

Sarah Newlun and Kasia Adams each had 10 points to lead the Eagles past the Wolverines on Thursday in the tournament opener.

Yakutat posted an 8-0 lead after the first quarter and did not give up control from there.

Melissa Clark paced the Wolverines with five points.

Yakutat boys 69, Wasilla Lake 18

Kalani Russell bombed in 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, to move the Eagles past the Rams on Thursday.

Yakutat led 12-1 after the first quarter. Ben Rockwood added 15 points for Yakutat, while Billy Brown had 12. For Wasilla Lake, Conner Knowles had 10.

Thursday girls

Warriors 27, Eagles 26

Nikolaevsk 7 5 10 5 —27

CIA 9 4 2 11 —26

NIKOLAEVSK (27) — Ki. Klaich 1 0-0 3, Kr. Klaich 0 0-0 0, Fefelov 0 0-0 0, So. Kalugin 0 2-2 2, Stafford 0 0-0 0, Se. Kalugin 2 0-0 4, An. Dorvall 0 0-0 0, N. Dorvall 6 3-4 15, Hickman 1 1-2 3, Kojin 0 0-0 0. Totals — 10 6-8 27.

COOK INLET ACADEMY (26) — Hanna 0 0-0 0, Moffis 2 1-2 5, Hills 0 0-0 0, Brush 3 0-0 8, Lyons 0 0-0 0, Hammond 3 0-2 7, McGahan 1 1-2 3, Orth 1 1-6 3. Totals — 10 3-14 26.

3-point goals — Nikolaevsk 1 (Ki. Klaich); CIA 3 (Brush 2, Hammond). Team fouls — Nikolaevsk 18, CIA 14. Fouled out — Orth.

Eagles 44, Wolverines 16

Yakutat 8 15 9 12 —44

Ninilchik 0 7 6 3 —16

YAKUTAT (44) — Jensen 4 0-0 8, Newlun 5 0-0 10, Lord 3 0-0 6, Adams 4 1-2 10, Go 2 0-0 4, Bell 2 0-0 4, Pate 0 0-0 0, Lekanof 1 0-0 2. Totals — 21 1-2 44.

NINILCHIK (16) — Cooper 0 0-0 0, Sinclair 2 0-0 4, Goins 0 1-2 1, Ehlers 1 0-2 2, Me. Clark 2 1-2 5, Rubuck 0 0-0 0, Ma. Clark 1 2-2 4. Totals — 6 4-8 16.

3-point goals — Yakutat 1 (Adams 1). Team fouls — Yakutat 10, Ninilchik 5. Fouled out — none.

Thursday boys

Eagles 51, Warriors 43

CIA 10 10 10 21 —51

Nikolaevsk 10 4 19 10 —43

CIA (51) — T. Smithwick 6 2-4 15, Uchtman 0 0-0 0, Hammond 0 0-0 0, R. Smithwick 3 1-2 9, Barlow 2 0-0 4, Leaf 2 2-4 6, J. Solie 0 0-0 0, Lyons 0 0-0 0, R. Solie 3 0-0 6, Weems 3 4-4 10. Totals 19 9-14 51.

Nikolaevsk (43) — Nelson 5 0-0 11, Trail 0 1-2 1, Yakunin 3 4-5 10, N. Fefelov 4 0-0 10, Gordeev 1 0-0 2, Molodih 2 0-0 4, J. Fefelov 2 0-0 5, Kalugin 0 0-0 0, Lasiter 0 0-0 0. Totals 17 5-7 43.

3-point goals — CIA 3 (R. Smithwick 2, T. Smithwick 1); Nikolaevsk 4 (N. Fefelov 2, Nelson 1, J. Fefelov 1).

Eagles 69, Rams 18

Yakutat 12 25 22 10 —69

Wasilla Lake 1 8 5 4 —18

YAKUTAT (69) — Brown 6 0-2 12, Rockwood 5 3-4 15, James 3 2-2 8, Jensen 2 0-0 5, Lekanof 2 0-0 4, Russell 9 0-0 25. Totals — 27 5-8 69.

WASILLA LAKE (18) — J. Stiner 1 0-0 2, B. Stiner 0 0-0 0, Willson 1 0-0 2, Sherbann 0 0-0 0, Knowles 4 2-7 10, Cook 2 0-1 4, Campbell 0 0-0 0, Young 0 0-0 0. Totals — 8 2-8 18.

3-point goals — Yakutat 10 (Russell 7, Rockwood 2, Jensen). Team fouls — Yakutat 11, Wasilla Lake 7. Fouled out — none.

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