Girls basketball: Bellarmine Prep ends Wolves' season

South Kitsap’s Kelsey Callaghan pressed by Bellaramine’s Sarah Hartwell in the Wolves
South Kitsap’s Kelsey Callaghan pressed by Bellaramine’s Sarah Hartwell in the Wolves' season-ending loss on Saturday in Puyallup
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

It was just minutes after the South Kitsap girls basketball team suffered its season-ending loss and coach Mark Lutzenhiser already was contemplating possibilities.

Perhaps his team still would go to the Tacoma Dome to watch the next round of the Class 4A state basketball tournament Thursday even though his team lost 43-40 Saturday against Bellarmine Prep at Puyallup High School.

Lutzenhiser said it was an experience that his team deserved after advancing to state. The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association changed the format of the state playoffs this year with the first two rounds held at regional sites. But the double-elimination portion of the bracket also ended this year for the lower seeds at state.

In previous years, the Wolves would have played another game after the Lions. Instead, Bellarmine (21-5) meets Woodinville (20-5) at 7:15 p.m. Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.

It could have been South (20-6), which finished with its most wins in a season since 2001.

With four-tenths of a second on the clock, senior forward Dana Goularte inbounded the ball to junior Ali Davis, whose 3-pointer ricocheted off the rim.

Lutzenhiser said he contemplated using a timeout after guard Jackie Steiger also missed a 3-pointer with about two seconds left and the ball was knocked out of bounds off the Lions.

“I couldn’t have thought of a better shot,” he said.

South, which defeated Skyline 64-54 on Friday to advance in the playoffs, fell behind 9-0 early and only held two leads — each by a single point at the end of the first quarter and during the third period — but Bellarmine never pushed its lead to double figures.

It was a much different scenario than Jan. 15, when the Lions won 57-35 in Port Orchard, but Lutzenhiser said his team gained confidence during the last game between the teams. Bellarmine won 60-53 in that Jan. 28 contest.

“They really believed this was the time to breakthrough,” he said.

But the Wolves struggled to find consistency on offense, particularly in the second quarter. They did not score until there were 3 minutes, 51 seconds, remaining in that period when Goularte converted a pair of free throws. And their first field goal did not come until there was 1:45 left when Steiger found Davis cutting for a layup. South trailed 23-17 at halftime.

“There’s just a finite number of possessions each game,” Lutzenhiser said. “We wanted to be more movement oriented and get more kids involved.”

The Wolves shot just 29.1 percent from the field and made just 4 of 17 3-pointers.

“I think we took a lot of tough shots,” Lutzenhiser said. “Some of the shots we took are not characteristic of the ones we want to take.”

Despite that — and being outrebounded 32-23 — he was happy South had an opportunity to be one of the final eight teams at state.

“It was a cool kind of game to be in,” Lutzenhiser said. “Intense game — winner take all. Somebody’s going to be disappointed. Unfortunately we’re disappointed.”

The season might be over — but pending approval from the school’s administration — Lutzenhiser hopes his team still ends up in Tacoma this week.

“I told them losing to Bellarmine by three doesn’t diminish anything they’ve accomplished all season long,” he said. “This is the best season South has had in a long time.”

Class 4A state tournament
Second round at Puyallup High School
Bellarmine Prep 43, South Kitsap 40
South Kitsap        12    5    12    11    —    40
Bellarmine Prep    11    12    12    8    —    43
South Kitsap-Kelsey Callaghan 8, Ali Davis 3, Angela Romonsky 3, Jackie Steiger 5, Taylor Sunkel 10, Maile Keanu 0, Dana Goularte 11.
Bellarmine Prep-Grace Beardemphl 5, Jasmyne Holmes 5, Simonne Potts 6, Jessica Christian 0, Sarah Hartwell 18, Ionna Price 2, Nakaira Petty 7.

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