Sports

Boys basketball: Wolves respond with 55-47 win against Oak Harbor

South Kitsap responded from its worst performance of the season with perhaps its best.

Behind 19 points from senior point guard Steven Ebner, the Wolves ended a two-game losing streak with a 55-47 win Wednesday against Oak Harbor during the second day of the 40th annual Bellevue College High-School Boys Basketball Tournament.

“We tried to start the game fast, but play under control,” Ebner said.

The Wolves (3-5) accomplished that as they built a 21-5 lead entering the second quarter. Ebner hit three 3-pointers en route to 11 first-half points.

“I was looking for my shots,” Ebner said. “I got a couple of threes, which opened up the defense.”

South had little difficulty with that as Ebner and others routinely found open teammates. After shooting 28.3 percent from the field in a 64-40 loss Tuesday against Sammamish, the Wolves responded by converting 54.1 percent of their field goals.

“Give these guys credit,” South coach John Callaghan said. “What a way to bounce back.”

Ebner said he and his teammates struggled to find offense in the tournament opener partially because they played without leading scorer Nars Martinez, who remains sidelined with a hip injury.

“It’s hard losing a leader like Nars, especially with his scoring ability,” Ebner said. “I try and control the ball — and the tempo — and look for my shot a little more.”

Without Martinez’s offensive production — and an inability to stop Sammamish — South gave itself little hope to win the opener. But the Wolves used a variety of zone defenses to stymie the Wildcats. Oak Harbor shot just 36.4 percent from the field. Guard Michael Washington Jr. had a game-high 23 points, but converted just 9 of 23 shots.

“I think our guys are more comfortable playing zone,” Callaghan said. “We haven’t really shown the ability to be physical with teams.”

The Wildcats (2-7) twice closed their deficit to seven points in the second half, but the Wolves were just good enough — 12 of 18 from the free-throw line — to prevent them from getting any closer.

“It all comes down to defense,” Ebner said. “We have to be mentally tough.”

South plays at 4:45 p.m. Thursday against Eastside Catholic in the fourth- and sixth-place game.

“After the devastating loss, it feels good,” Ebner said. “It’s a confidence boost.”

South Kitsap 55, Oak Harbor 47

Oak Harbor 5 9 12 21 — 47

South Kitsap 21 7 10 17 — 55

Oak Harbor-Drew Washington 10, Denzel Massey 10, Patrick Bell 0, Trace Paul 0, Corey Houck 0, Jay Stout 1, Michael Washington Jr. 23, Connor Paul 0, Kevawn Brooks 2, Steie Bratt 1, David Tillotson 0.

South Kitsap-Aaron La Deaux 10, Thomas Simpson 4, Michael Powell 9, Devon Newquist 5, Steven Ebner 19, Colin Gallagher 4, Angelo Hazely 2, David Hunnicut 0, Quentin Harris 2.

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