The Mariner boys and girls varsity basketball teams wrapped up a heavy game schedule Tuesday with games against the SoHi Stars, played at SoHi.
Trailing behind the Stars from the first quarter, the Homer girls never gained the momentum necessary to stop Soldotna’s 65-25 win. Not so for the Homer boys, however. They took the lead and held it all the way to a 61-56 finish.
Last week the Mariners kept the action in town, taking on the Skyview Panthers on Jan. 7, the Houston Hawks on Jan. 10 and the Cordova Wolverines on Jan. 11.
The Mariner varsity girls suffered a one-point, 29-28 loss to the Panthers, while the Mariner boys claimed at 51-45 victory.
“Our game against Skyview was a big disappointment,” said Connie Akers, head coach for the Mariner girls team. “Only a couple of girls seemed to have come to the game mentally prepared to play. We should have won that game by at least 10 points, but ended up losing by one.”
Friday’s games were a split between the Mariner girls and boys, with the girls taking a 50-39 win against the Hawks and the boys a 67-62 loss.
On Saturday, it was smoother sailing for the Mariners, with the girls varsity maintaining a consistent lead against Cordova and claiming a 42-30 win at the final buzzer. Homer’s varsity boys also stayed ahead of the Wolverines, with a final score of 54-43.
Today the Mariners travel to Nikiski for the three-day Nikiski Tip-Off Tournament. It includes a rematch between the Mariners and the Hawks, as well as games against Nikiski and Dillingham.
Keeping her team busy is right up Akers’ alley, but it requires the girls’ focus both on and off the court.
“At this point in the season, I like playing a full schedule of games,” said Akers. “To keep up, the girls have to really focus on class work, basketball and family. There isn’t time for much else.”
Whenever possible, the team squeezes in practices to prepare for the next team they face, correct mistakes from the previous game and to stay sound fundamentally. Keeping up with schoolwork is a priority. For away games, Akers seeks out empty classrooms where her team can focus on their studies. For days like Tuesday, where the team makes the roundtrip from Homer to the away game in one day, it becomes more of a challenge.
“… The last game, boys’ varsity, won’t finish until about 9 (p.m.), so that’s a late night when we have classes the next day,” said Akers.
Creating time for homework is crucial, but comes with a cost.
“Without structured homework time on the road, we could face some serious eligibility issues,” said Akers. “The downside to this is that we have removed our
cheering section from the gym, and the team on the court needs support.”
Following is the Mariner’s Nikiski Tip-Off schedule:
Jan. 16: 2:45 p.m., Mariners girls vs. Houston
4:15 p.m., Mariner boys vs. Houston
Jan. 17: 5:45 p.m., Mariner girls vs. Nikiski
7:15 p.m., Mariner boys vs. Nikiski
Jan. 18: Noon, Mariner girls vs. Dillingham
1:30 p.m. Mariner boys vs. Dillingham
The Mariners return to Homer Jan. 25 for a game against Seward, and then head to the Whaler Invite in Barrow Jan. 30-Feb. 1.
The action returns to Homer for Homer Winter Carnival games Feb. 6-8.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.