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Girls basketball: South Kitsap clips T-Birds’ wings at the buzzer
There was the dramatic pause — the kind captured in countless corny basketball movies — as the ball bounced around the orange cylinder.
It might not have been Hollywood, but it felt like it as Dana Goularte’s putback eventually trickled through the net as the buzzer sounded to propel South Kitsap’s girls basketball team to a 69-67 win Wednesday night in its regular-season finale at Mount Tahoma.
The Wolves (17-3 overall, 11-3 league) swept the season series against the Thunderbirds and finished second in the Class 4A Narrows League.
That means South hosts its West Central District Tournament opener Tuesday against the No. 7 seed from the 4A South Puget Sound League.
“It was a nice way to end the regular season,” South coach Mark Lutzenhiser said. “It was a big win as far as seeding goes.”
And it ranks among the most improbable wins in the program’s history.
Trailing 67-65 with 15.9 seconds remaining in the game, South guard Jackie Steiger missed a 3-pointer and Goularte was unable to run down the rebound as the ball went out of bounds.
At that point the plan was to foul on the in-bounds pass and send the T-
But Steiger changed the plan by intercepting the inbounds and converting an uncontested layup with 9.6 seconds remaining to tie the game.
Even so, the Thunderbirds (16-4, 10-4) had plenty of time to set up a game-winning shot.
Except that opportunity never came.
Mount Tahoma guard Deborah Anderson was called for pushing off on the inbounds attempt, which turned the ball over to South.
Junior guard Ali Davis was trapped until she found Goularte with about 5 seconds left.
Her shot ricocheted off the rim.
“I didn’t even know how much time was on the clock,” said Goularte, who finished with 18 points. “That’s horrible, but I didn’t. I put it up and (realized it) was a brick.”
Fortunately for Goularte, there was just enough time for her to corral her own rebound and try again.
“I was trying to put it off the glass because that’s what I’ve been practicing for a while,” she said. “I couldn’t believe that it went in.”
It marked the Wolves’ first lead of the night.
That’s because South had little success containing Anderson early in the game.
The Thunderbirds took a 22-4 lead with 2 minutes, 56 seconds left in the first quarter when 6-foot-7 Seattle University signee Jessi Williamson scored.
It was the first time a Mount Tahoma player besides Anderson, who had 29 of her 39 points by halftime, put points on the board.
“I thought she was going to score 60,” Lutzenhiser said. “We tried a little bit harder to deny her in the second half and we did a little better job.”
Despite Anderson’s success, the Wolves progressively cut their deficit throughout the first half.
Steiger, who had 17 points, hit a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in the half to reduce the Thunderbirds’ lead to 42-35 at the break.
“She kept us in it during the first half,” said Lutzenhiser, referring to Steiger’s 13 points at the half.
But every time South cut its deficit to a handful of points in the second half, Mount Tahoma seemed to respond.
That finally changed when junior forward Taylor Sunkel, who had a team-high 22 points, hit a jumper and was fouled in the process.
She finished the 3-point play to reduce the Thunderbirds’ lead to 67-63 with 2:50 remaining in the game.
Fifty seconds later, Goularte missed a shot but again collected an offensive rebound and scored to cut the Wolves’ deficit to 67-65. Lutzenhiser praised his team’s hustle, which resulted in several offensive rebounds and second-chance opportunities.
“When we play with that kind of desperation, we’re a pretty good team,” he said. “We just kept at it. We felt like if we did that, we would have an opportunity.”
Goularte hopes it also is a result that catapults the team to success at districts.
South closed the regular season with three consecutive wins and victories in eight of its last nine contests.
“I definitely think this will help us,” she said. “It will give us momentum into next week.”
South Kitsap 69, at
Mount Tahoma 67
South Kitsap 16 19 14 20 — 69
Mt. Tahoma 26 16 14 11 — 67
South Kitsap — Kelsey Callaghan, Amy Bakalarski, Ali Davis, Angela Romonsky, Carly Bakalarski, Debbie Parker, Jackie Steiger, Taylor Sunkel, Jodi Bowe, Maile Keanu, Dana Goularte, Jen Hale.
Mount Tahoma — Ashley Keys 0, Ashyna Davis 5, Alisha Reed 2, Jessi Williamson 10, Kimesha Johnson 5, Charley Williams 4, Deborah Anderson 39, Kaitlynn Bunger 2.
South Kitsap — Kelsey Callaghan 0, Ali Davis 5, Angela Romonsky 5, Jackie Steiger 17, Taylor Sunkel 22, Maile Keanu 2, Dana Goularte 18.
South Kitsap 61,
at Gig Harbor 51
South Kitsap 14 18 16 13 — 61
Gig Harbor 11 18 9 13 — 51
South Kitsap — Kelsey Callaghan 6, Amy Bakalarski 3, Ali Davis 11, Angela Romonsky 16, Carly Bakalarski 0, Taylor Sunkel 12, Maile Keanu 4, Dana Goularte 9, Jen Hale 0.
Gig Harbor — Wallerich 3, Buzar 9, DePaul 2, Mikami 2, Davis 19, Smith 11, Ward 1, Mamea 0, Bainivalu 4.