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Boys basketball: Callaghan sees progress in win against Central Kitsap
It was as miserable as any stretch in his 13-year tenure at South Kitsap.
But for coach John Callaghan, that four-game stretch in January when his team lost by an average of 35.5 points per game became an evaluation period.
The test was how his team would respond.
And Callaghan said he was encouraged by the Wolves’ 57-52 win Wednesday against Central Kitsap. The Cougars won the previous meeting, which came during South’s dreadful January run, by 37 points.
“Obviously I think we’re improving because last time ... there wasn’t one phase of the game where we weren’t dominated,” Callaghan said.
South (6-12 overall, 4-8 league) was locked in a tight game throughout the evening. There were five lead changes and two ties in the final 16 minutes after CK held a 32-31 halftime edge.
The Cougars (5-12, 3-9) took their final lead of the game when forward Josh Sontag converted a pair of free throws after Callaghan was assessed a technical foul with 4 minutes, 46 seconds remaining in the game.
“I’ve got to keep my mouth shut,” Callaghan said. “We talk about keeping your composure and that’s myself included.”
The Wolves did not regain the lead until senior guard Steven Ebner scored on a reverse layup to take a 51-50 advantage with 2:15 remaining.
“We need Steven to be aggressive,” Callaghan said. “He was aggressive to the basket it seemed the whole time.”
On South’s ensuing possession, Ebner found sophomore guard Devon Newquist streaking to the basket for an uncontested layup to extend the Wolves’ edge to 53-50 with 1:26 left.
South eventually solidified the win when senior wing Michael Powell scored a layup on an assist from Ebner and junior guard Nars Martinez, who scored a game-high 22 points, converted a pair of free throws to build the Wolves advantage to 57-50 with 9.8 seconds remaining.
“We played with confidence,” Callaghan said. “Our guys were just determined and ready to play.”
He made sure no one forgot South’s result last time against its rival in a talk with his team before the game.
“These guys are going to get to know those guys later on in life,” Callaghan said. “When you talk to those guys, how do you want that conversation to go?”
South hopes it can have a similar discussion after its final regular-season home game against another rival, Gig Harbor, at 7 p.m. Friday. The Wolves must win their last two contests to have a possibility of a Class 4A West Central/Southwest District playoff berth.
“That could be a pretty important game,” Callaghan said. “It’s cool to still have important games.”
At South Kitsap 57, Central Kitsap 52
Central Kitsap 16 16 8 12 - 52
South Kitsap 21 10 11 15 - 57
Central Kitsap-Cody Freeman 0, Tyler Parker 5, Josh Sontag 2, Steffan Collins 6, Jacob Sontag 14, Michael Thomas 9, Bryce Cox 3, Kericho Corry 13, Ty Luna 0.
South Kitsap-Aaron La Deaux 1, Thomas Simpson 2, Michael Powell 8, Devon Newquist 6, Steven Ebner 9, Colin Gallagher 0, Angelo Hazely 0, Nars Martinez 22, Kellen Traxel 5, Quentin Harris 4, James Hyson 0, Josh Osinski 0.
Bellarmine Prep 61, at South Kitsap 40
Bellarmine Prep 17 23 15 6 - 61
South Kitsap 10 11 11 8 - 40
Bellarmine Prep-Flynn 11, Smith 3, Jensen 0, Gaddy 17, Jackson 0, Liufau 4, Salazar 2, Wisness 2, Harbottle 14, Meikle 6, Foege 2, Woolery 0.
South Kitsap-Aaron La Deaux 4, Thomas Simpson 3, Michael Powell 1, Devon Newquist 6, Steven Ebner 8, Colin Gallagher 0, David Hunnicut 3, Nars Martinez 6, Kellen Traxel 9, Quentin Harris 0, James Hyson 0.