Player introductions were a bit different before the tip of Friday’s girls basketball game between Kodiak and Soldotna.

After each Soldotna player was introduced — bench and starting lineup — a Kodiak girl greeted them with a flower and a bottle of Gatorade. 

It was Kodiak’s way of paying tribute to former Soldotna team manager Macie Schroeder-Dalebout, who, at the age of 17, was killed in a single-car rollover on the Sterling Highway in October. 

This would have been Schroeder-Dalebout’s senior season with the Stars.  

“This was the first team in our conference to talk about it,” Soldotna coach Kyle McFall said. “It was really nice.” 

Schroeder-Dalebout was also the volleyball manager at Soldotna. This was going to be her second season with the basketball team. 

“She was really close with a lot of the girls — a really good friend,” McFall said. “We had been planning all season to go to San Diego, so she was going to go with us.” 

McFall said the team sets out a shirt for her every game on the bench. 

Kodiak coach Sandra Gregory said her players came up with the idea after learning of Schroeder-Dalebout’s death. They bought the flowers and the Gatorade.

“It was a nice gesture ... They are very thoughtful girls,” Gregory said. “They take care of each other and look out for each other.”

On the court, Soldotna proved that it once again will challenge for a Northern Lights Conference championship. The Stars won Friday’s game 59-18 and Saturday’s affair 63-28. 

Soldotna moved to 2-0 in the NLC, 11-0 overall.

“They really surprised me. I did not expect that,” Gregory said. 

Gregory had a reason to be surprised, considering Soldotna graduated three all-conference players off a team that went 25-6 a year ago and lost in semifinals of the 4A state tournament. 

The Stars have reloaded and are making a push for a conference title — they were runner-ups last season. 

“We are just playing a little different — it is a lot faster style, more pressing ... we just tried to find a different style to play, and this group is responding well.”

Using the press, Soldotna turned both games into layup practice as the Stars pushed their winning streak over the Bears to 10 games, a mark dating back to the 2015 season. 

Last year, Kodiak was swept by Soldotna by a combined 67 points; this weekend was a 77 point difference. 

“They did a pretty job of mixing the presses — it wasn’t the same press every time,” said Gregory, whose team committed 50 turnovers in the two losses. “It was challenging for our girls.” 

FRIDAY

Freshman guard Josie Sheridan couldn’t miss, scoring a game-high 18 points to lead Soldotna to a 41 point win. 

“She is a good shooter and is really aggressive defensively, which fits this group really nicely,” McFall said. 

Leslie Spear paced Kodiak (0-2, 4-4) with seven points, while Angle Mangrobang and Alaina Bartel each added four markers. 

Soldotna led 17-2 after the first quarter, 27-6 at halftime and 53-14 at the end of the third quarter. Most of the fourth quarter was played under a running clock.  

 

SATURDAY

Soldotna scored the game’s opening 25 points before Kodiak found its footing.

Behind four points from Spear and a Mangrobang triple, Kodiak used a 9-0 run to cut Soldotna’s lead to 31-15 at halftime. 

The Stars responded and pushed the lead to 27 by the start of the fourth quarter.  

“They didn’t start out pressing, and we hung with them,” Gregory said. “They weren’t comfortable with the score being that close, so they decided to put the press on.”

Junior guard Morgan Bouschor scored a game-high 20 points for Soldotna, while senior center Ituaua Tuisaula added 13 points. 

Spear bounced back with 12 points — her sixth double-figure scoring effort of the season. 

 Mangrobang hit a pair of 3-pointers and ended with eight points. 

 

Friday

Stars 59, Bears 18

Soldotna   17 12 24 6 — 59

Kodiak   2 6 6 4 — 18

Soldotna (59) — Sheridan 8 1-1 18, Bouschor 4 2-4 12, Tuisaula 5 0-0 10, Holland 0 0-0 0, Crosby-Schneider 4 2-3 10, Burns 0 0-2 0, Cannava 0 0-0 0, Leav 1 0-0 2, Leadens 1 4-4 7, Fischer 0 0-0 0, Spence 0 0-0 0. Totals: 23 9-14 59. 

Kodiak (18) — Arevalo 0 1-2 1, Mangrobang 2 0-0 4, Bartel 2 0-0 4, Pruitt 0 0-0 0, Spear 2 3-3 7, Taboy 0 0-0 0, Quiamboa 0 0-0 0, Gumtang 0 0-0 0, Berg 1 0-0 2. Totals: 7 4-5 18. 

3-point goals — Soldotna 4 (Bouschor 2, Sheridan, Leadens); Kodiak 0. Team fouls — Soldotna 10, Kodiak 14. Fouled out — Mangrobang. 

 

Saturday

Stars 63, Bears 28

Soldotna   25 6 16 16 — 63

Kodiak   2 13 5 8 — 28

Soldotna (63) — Sheridan 4 0-0 8, Burns 1 0-0 2, Leaf 0 0-0 0, Bouschor 8 3-3 20, Tuisaula 6 1-1 13, Leadens 4 0-0 8, Fischer 0 0-0 0, Holland 2 0-0 5, Spence 0 0-0 0, Crosby-Schneider 3 1-2 7. Totals: 28 5-6 63.

Kodiak (28) — Arvealo 2 0-0 4, Taboy 0 0-0 0, Mangrobang 3 0-0 8, Quiamboa 0 0-0 0, Gumtang 0 0-0 0, Pruitt 0 4-6 4, Spear 4 4-5 12, Berg 0 0-0 0, Solomon 0 0-0 0. Totals: 9 8-14 28. 

3-point goals — Soldotna 2 (Bouschor, Crosby-Schneider); Kodiak 2 (Mangrobang 2). Team fouls — Soldotna 14, Kodiak 8. Fouled out — none. 

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