Girls basketball: Wolves remain perfect by routing Shelton

She thrives on doubt.

After playing in just one game last season after undergoing surgery on her left shoulder, South Kitsap junior forward Taylor Sunkel said some questioned her ability to return.

Those concerns seemed silly Wednesday night as Sunkel scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Wolves to a 76-33 victory against Shelton in Class 4A Narrows League play.

“She got better even though she didn’t play,” South coach Mark Lutzenhiser said. “Most of that happened in the offseason. I can’t say enough about her individual effort working on that.”

About the only concern for South (4-0 overall, 2-0 league) was the weather. A leak in the gym’s roof dripped water onto the hardwood, but the referees allowed the game to start as athletic director Ed Santos wiped the court every time the Highclimbers took the ball onto the other side of the floor.

That was a rarity.

The Wolves, who play their final league game of 2010 Friday at Stadium, took a 17-0 lead midway through the first quarter. Shelton (0-6, 0-2) did not score until it banked in a shot with 3 minutes, 41 seconds left in the opening period.

With guards Kelsey Callaghan and Jackie Steiger forcing several turnovers in the first quarter, Lutzenhiser said he told his players to refrain from pressuring the ball handlers for the final 24 minutes. Despite that, the Wolves led 38-11 at halftime.

The Highclimbers did not have a double-digit scorer, shot just 23.5 percent from the field and committed 25 turnovers. South converted 44 percent of its shots and had 11 turnovers. All 10 players who suited up for the Wolves scored.

“It was good to see a lot of kids get experience and work in the game,” Lutzenhiser said. “They played really well.”

With the exception of Steiger, who converted 5 of 7 shots en route to 10 points, no one was more effective from the field than Sunkel. She made 12 of 19 field goals.

On a roster that features only juniors and seniors, Sunkel said familiarity breeds confidence.

“Our core group of girls — we’ve been together for so long,” she said. “Our chemistry is really good.”

Sunkel said she told her father that she needed to see a doctor, which resulted in surgery, after dislocating her shoulder twice on Dec. 1, 2009 at Graham-Kapowsin.

“I’m almost am happy that I didn’t play last season because I got to sit back and watch the game,” she said. “That made me learn. In the offseason I really refocused. I knew I wanted to play basketball.”

And prove her critics wrong.

“It feels great because people doubted me coming back from my injury,” Sunkel said. “It feels good to come back and say, ‘Yeah, I can still do it.’ ”

At South Kitsap 76, Shelton 33

Shelton 4 7 12 10 — 33

South Kitsap 23 15 17 21 — 76

Shelton-Kasenia Ogg 4, Miranda Graden 0, Kristy Lee Nahley 9, Taylor Gustafson 0, Clara Robbins 1, Kandyce Bragg 2, Jackie Gable 2, Madison Gaa 7, Jordanne Krumpols 6, Heather Sawyer 2.

South Kitsap-Kelsey Callaghan 9, Amy Bakalarski 3, Ali Davis 7, Angela Romonsky 9, Carly Bakalarski 2, Jackie Steiger 10, Taylor Sunkel 24, Maile Keanu 4, Dana Goularte 6, Jen Hale 2.

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