Keanu's big night lifts Wolves to hard-fought win
February 9, 2012 · Updated 8:43 AM
TACOMA — Maile Keanu scored 29 points and had 21 rebounds, both career highs, to lead South Kitsap to a hard-fought 67-63 win Wednesday night at Mount Tahoma, as the Wolves clinched the second seed in the 4A Narrows League for next week’s district playoffs.
Keanu, a senior, scored 13 of her team’s 19 points in the fourth quarter, and the Wolves converted clutch free throws down the stretch to secure the victory.
“She carried us,” South coach Mike Hulet said. “She was incredible. She took it upon herself that we were not going to lose that game.”
South will host a first-round district game Wednesday night against an undetermined opponent from the South Puget Sound League.
Taylor Sunkel had 14 points and Gabrielle Stewart added 10 for the Wolves, who finished the regular season 12-2 in league and 16-4 overall.
Hulet said the hard-fought win Wednesday night should be good preparation for the Wolves going into the postseason.
“It was a great tune-up for the playoffs,” he said. “You have to fight for everything, and every possession means something.”
South held a 19-9 lead after one quarter, but the Thunderbirds closed within 34-32 at halftime and the game was tight the rest of the way.
Taylor Sunkel scored 14 points and Gabrielle Stewart finished with 10. Ali Davis, usually one of the Wolves’ top scorers, was held to four points.
“With this team this year we don’t really depend on one person,” Hulet said. “It’s kind of nice not having to depend on one or two, or even three people. Someone always steps up.”
He said a key difference between Wednesday night’s outcome and South’s loss a week earlier at Central Kitsap — which knocked South out of first place — was how the Wolves came through in the clutch.
“We kept our composure tonight,” he said. “They were coming after us trying to foul us, and we hit our free throws down the stretch.”
South had a chance at finishing in a three-way tie for first in the league, but that didn’t happen because Bellarmine Prep won at Central Kitsap to clinch the league championship Wednesday night.
South Kitsap 67, Mount Tahoma 63
SK 19 15 14 19 — 67
MT 9 23 12 18 — 63
SK—Dickey 0, A Bakalarski 0, Davis 4, C Bakalarski 0, Stewart 10, Conklin-Smith 2, Steiger 8, Sunkel 14, Keanu 29, O’Dell 2.
MT—Lopez 13, Keyes 10, Davis 2, Ruffin 18, Chambers 7, Patu 4, Wright 7.