• Nikolaevsk boys, Cook Inlet girls grab other two spots at State
By Sean Pearson
The Nikolaevsk Lady Warriors went undefeated over the weekend, securing their second straight Peninsula Conference victory in as many seasons. The Seldovia Sea Otter boys team secured their spot at the State Tourney as well, outlasting close games against Cook Inlet Academy and Nikolaevsk.
Small School Peninsula Basketball Conference Tournament director Lara McGinnis said 16 teams — nine boys and seven girls — competed in 26 games over four days to determine this year’s regional champs. The top two teams qualify for State.
The Lady Warriors kicked off the conference tournament with a decisive 59-14 win over Ninilchik on Thursday at Skyview High School. Sophomore Kayla Stafford led Nikolaevsk with 14 points, while sisters Sophia and Serafima Kalugin added nine points each.
Nikolaevsk went on to face CIA in the title game on Friday. The Lady Warriors and Lady Eagles have quite a history of post-season play, as Nikolaevsk beat CIA in last year’s conference tournament, but lost in triple overtime to them in the state championship game.
This year, the Lady Warriors are hoping for a better outcome at State, as they repeated their 2013 Regional performance with 37-20 victory.
Leading 20-10 at the half, Nikolaevsk scored 10 unanswered points as the final seconds of the third quarter ticked down. Strong outside shooting from Stafford and Kilina Klaich’s gave the Warriors a 32-13 lead going into the fourth quarter.
From there, the Nikolaevsk win was simply a formality, as the Lady Warriors stomped CIA 37-20, and poised themselves as the team to beat going into the Class 1A girls state tournament.
The win automatically clinched a state tournament spot for Nikolaevsk, while CIA grabbed the second spot with a Saturday win over Ninilchik.
In other girls games, Ninilchik’s Jessica Rogers scored 14 points to lead her team to a 31-26 victory over Birchwood on Saturday. She picked up another 17 points in the Warriors’ 41-28 win over CIA. Jordan Finney added 14.
The Lady Sea Otters fell out of the tournament on Friday with a 39-52 loss to Birchwood Christian School. Marina Chissus scored 23 for Seldovia.
As much as the Nikolaevsk Warriors would have liked to join their Lady Warrior counterparts at the top, their big win was apparently not in the cards.
After thumping Wasilla Lake 60-30 in Thursday’s opening game, Nikolaevsk cruised into Friday’s game against the Seldovia Sea Otters — who were more than ready to face the Warriors after beating CIA 68-60.
Nikolaevsk’s Jaruby Nelson picked up 26 points, despite his nagging shoulder injury. “My shot just wasn’t falling,” Nelson said. “I think my shoulder bothered it a little.”
Seldovia’s Calem Collier went 8 for 8 at the free-throw line to lead the Sea Otters with 21 points in the CIA game. Teammates Aidan Philpot and Seth O’Leary added 17 and 16 points, respectively. Seldovia led 36-28 at the half, and went on to outscore the Eagles 19-10 in the third quarter. CIA answered by outscoring the Sea Otters 22-13 in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late.
Nikolaevsk will join Seldovia at this weekend’s state tourney.
“I think we have an OK chance,” Nelson said of his team’s future. “All we need to do to beat Seldovia is just finish our easy shots, and play like we have been playing all year long”
In other boys action, Ninilchik’s Austin White scored 25 points to beat Kodiak ESS 59-46 on Thursday. Teammate Sam Mirales scored 14.
Nanwalek’s John Romanoff scored 27 points in the Eagles’ 56-31 win over Birchwood on Thursday.
Romanoff went on to score 42 points in Nanwalek’s 74-77 loss to Wasilla Lake in Friday’s consolation game. Romanoff hit 14 of 24 free throws, and nailed 13 field goals in the loss.
Seldovia’s Mark Janes was named Coach of the Year, and Sea Otter Aidan Philpot was the tournament’s most valuable player.
Boys named to the All-conference first team included Jaruby Nelson and Neil Gordeev, Nikolaevsk; Aidan Philpot, Seldovia; John Romanoff, Nanwalek.
All-conference second team: Austin White and Tyler Presley, Ninilchik; Calem Collier, Seldovia.
Nikolaevsk’s Nikit Fefelov won the free-throw shooting contest with 17, while Seldovia’s Collier won the 3-pointer contest with 14.
All-tournament team: Calem Collier, Seldovia; John Romanoff, Nanwalek; Jaruby Nelson, Neil Gordeev and Anthony Yakunin, Nikolaevsk; Sam Mirales and Austin White, Ninilchik.
Girls named to the All-conference first team included: Nianiella Dorvall and Sophia Kalugin, Nikolaevsk; Jessica Rogers, Ninilchik.
All-conference second team: Kilina Klaich and Serafima Kalugin, Nikolaevsk; Jordan Finney, Ninilchik.
Ninilchik’s Melissa Ehlers won the free-throw contest with 13, while Nicole Moffis took the 3-point challenge with 12.
All-tournament team: Stafford, Dorvall, Serafima Kalugin, Nikolaevsk; Jessica Rogers, Krista Sinclair and Alanna Goins, Ninilchik; Olivia Turner, Seldovia and Marina Chissus, Seldovia.
Academic team: Dorvall and Stafford, Nikolaevsk; Sinclair and Mikayla Clark, Ninilchik; Olivia Turner, Seldovia.
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