The Lady Mariners took home some hardware after going 2-1 this weekend and taking second place in Homer's fourth annual Winter Carnival Basketball Tournament held Feb. 7-9 at Homer High and Homer Middle schools.
The Mariner men went 1-2, taking third place out of the four teams in the tournament.
On Thursday, the Lady Mariners defeated the Cook Inlet Acadamy Lady Eagles 39-35. Junior Tayla Cabana led all scorers with 20 points in the Homer win. Aurora Waclawski pitched in 9 for the Mariners. Cook Inlet's Abi Jakits was the only player in double digits for the Eagles, scoring 12.
The Nikiski Bulldogs beat the Grace Christian Grizzlies to conclude the first night of the girls' bracket.
Thursday night had the Homer boys losing to the West Valley Wolfpack 68-54 in what was a neck-and-neck game until the fourth quarter when the Wolfpack sprung ahead thanks to the tournament's Most Valuable Player, Lorenzo Graham, who scored a game high 22 points. Homer's Quinn Daugharty and Sam Reinert each scored 10 in their efforts.
The Valdez Buccaneers held their own against the Nikiski boys' team as they came away with their first win of the tourney.
The Lady Bulldogs beat the Cook Inlet Eagles to kick off Friday's action in the girl's bracket. The Mariners then held the Grace Grizzlies to 15 points, while they scored 38 to get the win. Mackenzie Akers made a three-pointer and scored seven points to send the Mariners to the championship game against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Eight players scored for the Grizzlies, but the Mariners held their high scorer Mikayla Shamburger to just four points for the night in what was a defensive showing from the home team.
The West Valley Wolfpack hailing from Fairbanks looked to be the most talented team in the tournament as they took down the Bulldogs with no problem, giving them a shot at first place in Saturday's boys' action.
Homer then wrapped up the evening, hosting the Valdez Buccaneers in a 56-45 win awarded to the Bucs.
Valdez showed off its impressive three-point shooting offense after shooting a cold 25 percent to begin the game. Leva Auble netted eight of his team's 11 three-pointers to help account for his 28 points, being the only Buccaneer in double digits. Homer's Sam Reinert led the Mariners with 15 points while Sheldon Hutt added 11 off the bench.
With the Mariners down 16 in the third, Mariner Coach Mark Casseri switched his defense to a 2-3 zone which cut off passing angles and led to many Valdez turnovers. The defense led to more offensive opportunities as the Marinerss cut the lead to just 9 with three minutes left after co-captain Quinn Daugharty hit a midrange jumper but that was as close as Homer came to a comeback, falling 11 points short of a win.
The final day of the tourney began at Homer High School where the Cook Inlet Eagles (1-2) beat the Grace Grizzlies (0-3) in their final games, giving them third and fourth place respectively. The West Valley Wolfpack then sealed their fate in the boys' bracket, going undefeated (3-0) and taking first place in a win over Valdez.
After a Homer High power outage, the final games were moved to the Homer Middle School on a much smaller court, with much less bleacher room. With the last two games on deck, the HMS stands were full of fans ready to watch the Mariners once again.
The Bulldogs faced the Lady Mariners in the championship game of the girls' bracket where Nikiski (3-0) walked away with a 56-27 win coming off of many steals and fast break points. The Bulldogs shot 23 of 32 from the free-throw line, the most of any team in the tournament. Rachel Thompson scored 17 and Emily Lynch pitched in 13 in the win. Homer's Tayla Cabana and Mackenzie Akers combined for 13 as the Lady Mariners took second place in the three-day tournament with a 2-1 record.
The Mariners and Bulldogs finished the tournament on the boys' bracket as Homer walked away with a 50-35 win. Reinert led the team in scoring once again, finding the net every quarter and ending with 19 points, Mark McGregor contributed with his speed, tallying 14 points. The Mariners looked to take advantage of the small court at HMS as they pushed the ball and scored quickly off of many defensive rebounds.
Finding themselves down double digits in the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs resorted to taking mostly three-point attempts, only cashing in on one shot from deep in the final minutes of play. Homer shot 50 percent from the free-throw line in the last quarter, using the double bonus to their advantage in the late stages of the game. Nikiski finished the HWC Tournament with no wins through three games while the Mariner men went 1-2.
Free Throw Contest Winners: Nikiski's Taylor Halloway (19/20) and Valdez's Caj Rohrer (18/20).
Post Moves Contest Winners: Homer's Hailey Oliver and Valdez's Andrew Hickman.
Boy's All- tournament Team: Levi Auble (Valdez), Luke Johnson (Nikiski), Seth Carstens (Nikiski), Charles Suduth (West Valley), Lorenzo Graham (West Valley), Quinn Daugharty (Homer).
Boy's MVP: Lorenzo Graham (West Valley).
Girls All-tournament Team: Sienna Wallace (Nikiski), Rachel Thompson (Nikiski), Ashley Logan (Grace), Nicole Moffis (Cook Inlet Acadamy), Megan Gee (Homer), Tayla Cabana (Homer)
Girl's MVP:Nicole Moffis (Cook Inlet Acadamy)