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Boys basketball: Wolves still searching for consistency
It has become the storyline of the season for the South Kitsap boys basketball team.
The Wolves rarely have been productive both offensively and defensively during the same game and that was no different Wednesday night in their 45-33 loss against Bellarmine Prep in Class 4A Narrows League play.
South (6-4 overall, 2-2 league) shot just 27.5 percent from the field. But it was not only the Wolves’ shot selection that coach John Callaghan did not like.
“Offensively, we’ve got a ways to go,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot of continuity. It’s like one-on-five sometimes. You can’t succeed like that.”
South’s offensive woes contributed to its 27-17 halftime deficit. But the Wolves showed some promise to begin the second half when they went on a 6-0 run that culminated with drive by junior guard Tom Simpson.
“I like how we were aggressive and attacked the basket,” Callaghan said.
But it seemed to end there as the Wolves did not score again until sophomore guard Ryley Callaghan stole the ball and scored on a breakaway layup with 6:53 minutes left in the game to end an 8-0 Lions run. Bellarmine (9-1, 4-0) was ahead 35-25 at that point. South never trailed by less than eight points again.
Callaghan attributed some of his offense’s problems to an inability to penetrate against 6-foot-8 forward Lucas Meikle. Martinez, who frequently draws fouls when he drives into the lane, shot just two free throws en route to a team-high 10 points.
“Their big guy had a good game,” he said. “He did a good job of blocking shots and made us adjust some shots. He can play a zone almost by himself and it makes it tough for us to get to the rack.”
But Callaghan said his team can counteract that by distributing the ball instead of settling for shots from the perimeter. The Wolves made just 1 of their 15 3-pointers.
“There’s just way to much standing and watching,” he said.
While Callaghan was not pleased with his team’s offensive performance, he liked their work on defense. The Lions shot just 39.5 percent from the field, and Callaghan said he was happy that guard David Smith was contained. Smith finished with nine points. Forward Sefo Liufau, who scored a game-high 12 points, was the only Bellarmine player to reach double figures.
“I think we know what we want to do defensively,” Callaghan said. “We played pretty smart.”
He said it was the third consecutive strong defensive performance since his team’s last loss, 75-60, Dec. 28 against The Bear Creek School at the Bellevue College Holiday Tournament.
“That was discouraging,” said Callaghan, referring to Bear Creek. “When you don’t play hard, there’s no excuse for that.”
But if the Wolves can maintain their defensive prowess and correct their offensive woes, Callaghan also thinks they can be successful. South closed out December by winning four of its last five games.
“If they’re No. 1 (in 4A Narrows) I kind of like our chances,” said Callaghan, referring to Bellarmine. “Our guys understand that we can play with them — we can play with anyone — if we play well.”
But it does not figure to get much easier tonight when the Wolves play at Central Kitsap (6-4, 3-1), which suffered its first league loss, 60-49, Wednesday at Olympia.
“They can shoot,” Callaghan said. “There’s no breaks in this league.”
• South senior forward Aaron La Deaux, who has missed most of the season with mononucleosis, returned to practice this week. Callagha said there is no timetable for La Deaux’s return. He said La Deaux, who has lost about 15 pounds, worked out for half of Tuesday’s practice.
“He’s the guy that gives us a little muscle in there so we can board,” he said.
Bellarmine Prep 45, at South Kitsap 33
Bellarmine Prep 13 14 6 12 — 45
South Kitsap 11 6 6 10 — 33
Bellarmine Prep—Austin Bordeaux 0, Isaiah Flynn 7, David Smith 9, Carson Hollyoak 3, Conner Jensen 7, Logan Hickman 0, Mar’kese Jackson 0, Sefo Liufau 12, Jacob Salazar 0, Lucas Meikle 7.
South Kitsap—Ryley Callaghan 7, Tom Simpson 6, Devon Newquist 4, Kellen Traxel 4, Angelo Hazely 0, Nars Martinez 10, James Hyson 2, Josh Osinski 0.