A second-half surge kept Kodiak alive as it hopes for a repeat trip to the 4A state tournament.

Down by six at halftime, Kodiak outscored a depleted Homer team 46-17 to cruise to a 71-48 Northern Lights Conference Tournament boys basketball quarterfinal victory Thursday morning at Wasilla High School.

The game, though, was closer than the final score indicated.

“At halftime I didn’t say much,” Kodiak coach David Anderson said. “I told the kids, ‘I know you guys know what you need to do. There is not much a coach can say right now to change what you need to do.”’

Kodiak’s players figured it out in the second half to put the Bears into today’s 8:15 p.m. semifinal against North Division champion Wasilla. The Warriors dismantled Skyview 75-26 in Thursday’s opening round.

Jesse Swearingin led Kodiak with 22 points, while Josh Obas and Germain Jimenez added 10 points apiece.

Wasilla has not lost to an NLC opponent this season and has 17 straight wins over Kodiak, a streak dating to the 2003-2004 season.

Anderson is ready for the challenge and is looking to get redemption from last year’s 13-point loss to Wasilla in the NLC title game.

“Every tournament has a huge upset and I think we are poised to do one against Wasilla,” Anderson said. “They already know they are going to state regardless of where they finish in the tournament. Hopefully they look by us a little bit.”

Tonight’s semifinal winner advances to Saturday’s 8 p.m. championship game and earns one of the NLC’s two automatic berths to the state tourament.

A loss would likely dash any chances of Kodiak getting back to state, since they are ranked No. 10 in the latest winning percentage index posted by the Alaska School Activities Association.

The top two WPI teams that do not earn an automatic berth to state will receive an at-large bid to March Madness.

“This is our championship game,” Anderson said. “We can’t afford to start out slow. “

Kodiak did get off to a slow start Thursday against a Homer squad missing three of its starters due to disciplinary reasons.

The Mariners, the South’s No. 2 seed, led 15-13 after one and 31-25 at halftime.

“Some of these kids who play for Homer took advantage of the situation and came out and played hard,” Anderson said. “It is not that we weren’t playing any different. They were getting every loose ball and every rebound. It is difficult to play a team like that. They are very scrappy.”

Kodiak scored the first 16 points — five each from Tony Will and Austin Frick – in the third quarter to take its first lead of the game at 41-31.

Homer didn’t fold and scored the next nine points to pull within 41-40 with two minutes left in the quarter.

Kodiak regained control with a layup by Swearingin and two buckets by Medina to take a six-point lead into the final quarter.

Kodiak outscored Homer 24-7 in the fourth.

“We found it again in the fourth and made a good run at them,” Anderson said.

Kodiak defense generated a season-high 24 steals — Frick and Obas each had five apiece.

Kenai 56, Palmer 51 OT

Kenai overcame a 14-point halftime lead to defeat Palmer 56-51 in overtime.

Bo Reilly led Kenai with 22 points, while AJ Hull added 20 points.

Palmer’s Connor Looney scored a game-high 30 points.

The Moose led 33-19 at halftime and 43-38 to begin the fourth.

Kenai, the South’s top team, outscored Palmer 9-4 in both the fourth quarter and overtime.

The Kardinals advance to today’s 4:45 p.m. semifinal against Colony.

Palmer faces Soldotna in a consolation game this morning at 9:45 a.m.

Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at sports@kodiakdailymirror.com.

BEARS 71, MARINERS 48

Homer 15 16 10 7 — 48

Kodiak 13 12 22 24 — 71

Homer (48) — Reutov 0 1-2 1, Reytor 2 1-1 5, Daugharty 3 0-2 7,Reinert 7 2-2 16, Rivers 0 0-0 0, McGregor 1 2-2 4, Glosser 2, 5-6 9, Moyer 1 1-2 3, Hatt 1 1-2 3. Totals 17 13-19 48.

Kodiak (71) — Frick 3 0-0 7, Medina 4 1-2 9, Gregory 0 0-0 0, Obas 4 2-2 10, Will 4 1-2 9, Swearingin 9 4-4 22, Hiner 2 0-0 4, Jimenez 5 0-0 10, Bezona 0 0-0 0. Totals 31 8-10 71.

3-point goals — Homer 1 (Daugharty 1); Kodiak 1 (Frick 1). Team fouls — Homer 10, Kodiak 21. Fouled out — Medina.

Thursday’s Games

Kodiak 71, Homer 48

Kenai 56, Palmer 51 OT

Colony 62, Soldotna 53 OT

Wasilla 75, Skyview 26

Friday’s Games

Consolation bracket

9:45 a.m. — Palmer vs. Soldotna

1:15 p.m. — Homer vs. Skyview

Semifinals

4:45 p.m. — Colony vs. Kenai

8:15 p.m. — Kodiak vs. Wasilla

Saturday’s games

10:45 a.m. —Fourth-place game

2:15 p.m. — Third-place game

8 p.m. — Championship game

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