Sports

Girls basketball: Wolves suffer first loss of season

SK guard Jackie Steiger struggles to advance the ball upcourt against Bellarmine Prep’s relentless full-court press. The Wolves suffered their first defeat of the year, 57-35, on Wednesday to the Lions.  - Kenny Gatlin photo
SK guard Jackie Steiger struggles to advance the ball upcourt against Bellarmine Prep’s relentless full-court press. The Wolves suffered their first defeat of the year, 57-35, on Wednesday to the Lions.
— image credit: Kenny Gatlin photo

Bellarmine Prep applied its patent full-court press immediately after tip off.

South Kitsap never recovered.

The Wolves suffered their first loss of the season, 57-35, in Class 4A Narrows League girls basketball play Wednesday night.

“They’re a legitimate top-five team,” South coach Mark Lutzenhiser said of Bellarmine. “I admire the way they played. That’s the way we want our kids to be.”

South (9-1 overall, 3-1 league) was without senior point guard Kelsey Callaghan, who is sidelined indefinitely with a knee injury, and turned the ball over 16 times in the first half.

“I think the pressure was a big part of it,” South junior guard Jackie Steiger said. “We have never seen that yet. It was mostly a learning experience — what to do and how everyone is going to help and contribute to it.”

Lutzenhiser agreed.

“We need to be able to endure that type of pressure because that’s what good teams are going to do,” he said. “We didn’t handle that well.”

After Steiger, who scored a game-high 19 points, converted a jumper to tie the game at 2 in the first minute, the Wolves did not add any more points until there were just 31 seconds left in the first quarter. By the time senior guard Angela Romonsky scored, South trailed 16-4.

Steiger said the ball pressure hindered her team’s ability to get into their offensive sets.

“That killed us,” she said. “It was pass and shot when we needed to be efficient. Everyone was frustrated when our shots weren’t falling early.”

The Lions (7-2, 4-0), who ranked in the state’s Top 10 by several different publications, did not relent in the second period. After junior forward Taylor Sunkel scored on a jumper to cut the Wolves’ deficit to 20-6 with 7:12 left in the half, Bellarmine did not allow any points for nearly five minutes. The Lions led 31-12 at the intermission.

In addition to the full-court pressure, South seemed to struggle with the Lions’ physicality. While it did not result in a substantial difference in free-throws attempted — Bellarmine held a 15-10 advantage in that statistic — the Lions were dominant in offensive rebounding. They shot just 33.8 percent from the field, but that was negated by taking 20 more shots than the Wolves.

That number could have been greater as Bellarmine guard Grace Beardemphl took an inbounds pass with seventh-tenths of a second remaining in the third quarter. Her right-handed lob from the right baseline and about three-quarters of the court away from the basket banked off the backboard and fell through the net. But officials ruled that time had expired and negated the basket.

It was one of South’s few breaks.

Next, the Wolves, who won both of their games during last week’s Wenatchee Christmas Invitational and then defeated Port Angeles in their final nonleague contest Monday, play at Central Kitsap at 5:15 p.m. Friday. The Cougars have won the last 14 meetings between the schools since the rivalry resumed during the 2001-02 season.

Wednesday

Bellarmine Prep 57, at South Kitsap 35

Bellarmine Prep 16 15 13 13 — 57

South Kitsap 4 8 10 13 — 35

Bellarmine Prep-Grace Beardemphl 8, Jazzmyne Holmes 11, Simonne Potts 14, Jessica Christian 2, Nyzhe Primas 6, Sydney Swofford 0, Sarah Hartwell 4, Ionna Price 6, Nakaira Petty 6.

South Kitsap-Amy Bakalarski 0, Ali Davis 4, Angela Romonsky 2, Carly Bakalarski 0, Jackie Steiger 19, Taylor Sunkel 8, Maile Keanu 0, Dana Goularte 1, Jen Hale 1.

Monday

At South Kitsap 52, Port Angeles 46

Port Angeles 16 11 13 6 — 46

South Kitsap 10 11 18 13 — 52

Port Angeles-Kiah Jones 11, Alison Knowles 8, Macy Walker 2, Jessica Madison 19, Mariah Frazier 0, Krista Johnson 3, Paxton Rodocher 0, Taylyn Jeffers 3.

South Kitsap-Amy Bakalarski 0, Ali Davis 4, Angela Romonsky 6, Carly Bakalarski 2, Jackie Steiger 13, Taylor Sunkel 17, Maile Keanu 0, Dana Goularte 10, Jen Hale 0.

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