Sports

Boys basketball: Technically speaking, Wolves’ coach mystified by call

SK Coach John Callaghan pleads his case with the referee after being ejected during the Wolves’ 84-71 loss to Mount Tahoma on Wednesday night. - Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo
SK Coach John Callaghan pleads his case with the referee after being ejected during the Wolves’ 84-71 loss to Mount Tahoma on Wednesday night.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

The schedule indicates that the season ended Wednesday night for South Kitsap’s boys basketball team.

That only is partially accurate.

While the Wolves will not play any more games this season, their 84-71 loss at Mount Tahoma could have lingering effects for the foreseeable future.

That is because South coach John Callaghan was ejected from the game with 5 minutes, 58 seconds remaining in the contest. It was Callaghan’s second technical foul in the fourth quarter.

Per Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules, any coach who is ejected from a contest automatically is suspended from the team’s next game. Because the Wolves, who finished with 6-14 overall record and 4-10 in Class 4A Narrows League play, do not play again this season, Callaghan must sit out the 2011-12 season opener.

South athletic director Ed Santos said following the game that he plans to discuss the situation with WIAA officials.

Callaghan was assessed a technical foul early in the fourth quarter when a referee, who was not engaged in a conversation with him at the time, said he made too many negative remarks about the officiating. The second technical came when Callaghan stood up and appeared to signal for a timeout.

“I swear I didn’t say anything to even warrant a technical,” said Callaghan, adding that it was his first ejection in 13 seasons with the Wolves.

Officials were not available for comment after the game and it was unclear why Callaghan was assessed with the second technical. He said the explanation was that he called a timeout after a player missed the second free throw. Callaghan said he thought the player would make the shot and it would create a dead-ball situation.

But until the point where he was forced to leave — assistant coach Brian Cox assumed his duties afterward — Callaghan was pleased with his team’s performance. The Thunderbirds, who enter the West Central District Tournament with a 13-7 record and finished 10-4 and third place in 4A Narrows, won their previous game against the Wolves by 17 points.

But South led this time, 35-31, at halftime. Mount Tahoma did not take the lead for good until there was 3:16 left in the third quarter when Rodrick Wooden-Wilson hit a 3-pointer to give the Thunderbirds a 46-43 lead. Wooden-Wilson then hit another 3-pointer on Mount Tahoma’s ensuing possession and University of Idaho signee Xavier Bazile added two more to help the Thunderbirds build a 58-46 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Callaghan said the result was indicative of his team’s effort. Since a four-game stretch in January where the Wolves lost by an average of 35.5 points per contest, they won three of their last seven games.

“The thing I was most impressed about was how resilient our team was,” he said. “We talked about how this was our playoff game. That’s how we treated it. Our guys played hard.”

Despite the record, which was the worst mark in Callaghan’s tenure at South, he said he enjoyed mentoring his players and looks forward to the future. The Wolves return leading scorer Nars Martinez, who had a game-high 21 points against the Thunderbirds, and several sophomores.

“All of them got great experience,” Callaghan said. “Nars will be an all-league player. I’m excited for next year.”

Wednesday

At Mount Tahoma 84, South Kitsap 71

South Kitsap 15 20 11 25 — 71

Mount Tahoma 20 11 27 26 — 84

South Kitsap-Aaron La Deaux 2, Thomas Simpson 6, Michael Powell 4, Devon Newquist 4, Steven Ebner 12, Colin Gallagher 13, David Hunnicut 2, Nars Martinez 21, Kellen Traxel 5, Quentin Harris 2.

Mount Tahoma-Lee 18, Burse 6, Baines 0, Rollins 2, Harris 0, Bazile 20, Wooden-Wilson 16, Pressley 0, Troung 0, Traylor 20, Howard 2, Weaver 0.

Friday

Gig Harbor 66, at South Kitsap 44

Gig Harbor 16 16 21 13 — 66

South Kitsap 13 5 19 7 — 44

Gig Harbor-Glover 0, B. Gagliardi 24, Castle 16, N. Gagliardi 0, Medak 4, Oatridge 5, Williams 2, Seferian-Jenkins 9, Buxton 2, Ward 4, Anderson 0.

South Kitsap-Aaron La Deaux 2, Thomas Simpson 0, Michael Powell 2, Devon Newquist 13, Steven Ebner 8, Colin Gallagher 4, David Hunnicut 0, Nars Martinez 5, Kellen Traxel 8, Quentin Harris 0, Josh Osinski 2.

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