In their one game of the week, the Wolverines of Ninilchik took care of the ball and their opponent from start to finish in their 50-22 win on Tuesday night. The JV squad from Homer couldn’t quite get things going their way and the Wolverines took advantage from the beginning.
“It was pretty even scoring for us, everyone on our team scored except for two guys,” said Head Coach Nick Finley.
This was the first game back for junior Sam Mireles, who added some depth and rebounding for the Ninilchik squad off the bench. Finley’s goal for his team each game is 40 rebounds and Mireles was quick to help out with that stat, grabbing 10 rebounds and adding 10 points for the Wolverines.
“We had three players in double figures rebounding, so it was nice to add that to the equation,” said Finley. “He definitely provided us with a spark off the bench.”
There are only three games left for the Wolverines before the Region Tournament and Finley plans to add Mireles and his on-ball defensive skills right into the mix with senior Tyler Thorne.
“He’s a great on-ball defender and so is Tyler (Thorne), so now I have two guys I can utilize on defense to shut down the other team’s best player,” said Finley.
In a 50-22 win, it wouldn’t seem as though there are too many improvements to be made before the next game, but Finley says they can always work on taking care of the ball, being aggressive and cutting back on turnovers.
That same night, the Lady Wolverines took on the JV squad from Kenai Central High School, taking a loss, 39-30. Over the weekend, the Lady Wolverines played Bristol Bay on Friday, losing 50-44. The Lady Wolverines had the lead going into the third quarter, but according to Head Coach Rod Van Saun, the depth of Kenai’s bench was just too much for them to handle.
“They (Kenai) were able to sub in fresh legs all the time and we don’t really have the same depth,” said Van Saun. “During that third quarter it caught up with us, and they started mounting a comeback.”
The first three quarters of that game provided for some of the best Ninilchik basketball Van Saun had seen all season.
“We really moved the ball well, handled the defensive pressure well and played good defense,” he said. Turnovers in both games were definitely an issue and they spread team wide for Van Saun. “Everyone seemed to have turnover issues except for my point guard.”
In the game against Bristol Bay, point guard Krista Sinclair only had three turnovers.
“The flip side to all the turnovers is that our team is really attacking and being aggressive, which is something I encourage,” said Van Saun. “They’re not going to get better if they don’t push themselves.”
The leading scorers for the Lady Wolverines over both games were Jessica Rogers with 35 points, Jordan Finney with 15, Melissa Clark had nine and Alanna Goins chipped in seven.
For the Wolverines, Austin White led all scorers with 12 points, Tyler Presley had eight, Matt Bartolowits had seven and Robert Delgado rounded out the scoring with six points. The Wolverines were at home on Tuesday night against Nikolaevsk.
Michael Tozzo is a teacher and freelance writer who lives in Ninilchik.