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Girls basketball: Win inches Wolves closer to state
South Kitsap can earn its second berth to the Class 4A state tournament in the last three seasons with a win Friday.
The Wolves reached that point with a 64-51 victory Tuesday night in the first round of the Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament against Todd Beamer.
South (18-3) advances to play at 6 p.m. Friday against Kentwood, which defeated Evergreen of Vancouver, 58-53, at Stadium High School. A win against the Conquerors (17-5) means the Wolves would enter the state tournament as no worse than the fourth seed out of districts.
Its first-round game provided little drama for South. With the exception of an early field goal by freshman Megan Huff, who scored a game-high 17 points, the Titans (13-9) never led.
The Wolves took their first lead when senior guard Angela Romonsky, who finished with 12 points, hit a 3-pointer to take a 5-2 advantage.
South coach Mark Lutzenhiser said his team’s ability to convert outside early was critical. When he scouted Beamer in its previous game, a 66-63 win Saturday against Tahoma, Lutzenhiser said the Titans used man-to-man defense throughout the game. But against the Wolves, they went with a zone scheme.
“We hit a couple of perimeter shots that opened things up,” Lutzenhiser said.
But South also was able to break the zone through the post with junior Taylor Sunkel. She scored eight of her 13 points in the first quarter to give the Wolves an 18-11 edge going into the second period.
“When you start the game feeling good, you play the game feeling good,” Sunkel said. “When you start out good, it just flows and everyone stays motivated.”
South extended its lead to 37-23 entering the third quarter and maintained a double-digit advantage throughout the remainder of the game. The Wolves led 56-31 at the beginning of the fourth period.
“We had a good third quarter, which was key to kind of put them out of it,” Lutzenhiser said. “It was too big of a hole for them to dig out of.”
That was accomplished partially through balanced scoring. In addition to Romonsky and Sunkel, guards Kelsey Callaghan (10) and Jackie Steiger (11) each scored in double figures. Callaghan also had seven assists and three steals.
South used relentless pressure on the defensive end, which resulted in 26 turnovers for Beamer. Steiger had seven steals, while senior forward Dana Goularte added five.
Sunkel said she sustained a black eye, which she proudly displayed afterward, battling with the Titans, who often dwarfed the Wolves. Huff is 6-foot-2, while Meghan Graf is 6-0 and Katya Bixenman stands 5-11.
“I don’t think it matters who’s the tallest,” Sunkel said. “It’s just who wants it more.”
One aspect that concerned Lutzenhiser was Beamer’s 20-8 scoring advantage in the final quarter. With games on Friday and Saturday, he said the rotation needs to be adjusted to avoid fatigue, which he felt set in toward the end of the game.
Class 4A West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament
At South Kitsap 64, Todd Beamer 51
Todd Beamer 11 12 8 20 — 51
South Kitsap 18 19 19 8 — 64
Todd Beamer-Brooklin Keeney 0, Tre Auna Culp 0, Megan Huff 17, Makayla Sullivan 0, Meghan Graf 14, Sherie Greene 2, Megan Anderson 1, Codie Obungen 1, Katya Bixenman 0, Shyla Akins 16.
South Kitsap-Kelsey Callaghan 10, Ali Davis 9, Angela Romonsky 12, Jackie Steiger 11, Taylor Sunkel 13, Maile Keanu 0, Dana Goularte 9.