Girls basketball: Wolves inching toward state berth

South Kitsap junior Darian Dickey scored eight points to help the Wolves to a 67-49 win in its district opener Wednesday against Kentridge. - Kenny Gatlin photo
South Kitsap junior Darian Dickey scored eight points to help the Wolves to a 67-49 win in its district opener Wednesday against Kentridge.
— image credit: Kenny Gatlin photo

South Kitsap’s girls basketball team is just a win away from its third state-playoff berth in the last four seasons.

The Wolves put themselves in that position with a 67-49 win in their Class 4A West Central District opener Wednesday night against Kentridge.

“We’re all super pumped,” South senior guard Jackie Steiger said. “The first one down is an awesome way to start.”

South (17-4) plays Kentwood (19-4) at 6 p.m. Friday to clinch a spot at state.

“Kentwood’s kind of that next level up,” first-year South coach Mike Hulet said. “They’re extremely tough. They’re very physical.”

He said that means the Wolves also will need to play better than they did against the Chargers (11-11). South finished with 19 turnovers.

“It’s just that nervous energy more than anything,” Hulet said. “You come out and you’ve kind of spent that.”

Steiger agreed.

“We got a little carried away with the crowd,” she said. “We just need to slow down and realize when to get into the offense.”

Even with their turnover issues, South had few problems against Kentridge. The Chargers shot just 36 percent against the Wolves’ man-to-man defense and had 24 turnovers.

“We wanted to make sure we concentrated on rebounding,” Hulet said. “We wanted to limit them to one shot.”

South, which never trailed, accomplished that as it built a 34-15 halftime advantage. Kentridge, which featured just three seniors and no juniors, never trailed by less than 15 points during the second half.

Steiger, who was played on South’s 2010-11 team that advanced to the second round of the state playoffs, said Hulet told the team not to become complacent during halftime.

“Any team is capable of coming back,” she said.

Hulet said the Chargers are an example of that, noting that they overcame a 13-point deficit Saturday to defeat Spanaway Lake.

He said he was “proud” of how his team responded. In addition to senior starters Taylor Sunkel (23), Steiger (14) and Ali Davis (12) scoring double-digit points, he noted the contributions of several bench players.

“We talked about what’s made us successful so far,” Hulet said. “That’s what I was so extremely proud of so far.”

He said the performance of junior guard Darian Dickey, who scored eight points, was an example of that.

“Darian Dickey came in and contributed in a big way,” Hulet said. “She hit a couple shots, defended and had a couple of nice boards.”

In addition to Dickey’s contributions, Sunkel had 10 rebounds and 5-foot-11 classmate Maile Keanu had nine.

He said that continued focus on rebounding will be important against the taller Conquerors.

And his team should know that.

“We have film on everyone in the West Central District,” Hulet said. “There shouldn’t be any surprises.”

At South Kitsap 67, Kentridge 49

Kentridge 8 7 20 14 49

South Kitsap 16 18 19 14 67

Kentridge—Imani Brooks 2, Alicia Dugan 5, Lizzet Dominguez 4, Courtnae Williams 4, Tasia Schanbeck 0, Sydney Dupuis 4, Jessica Torlai 13, Anna Dugan 6, Michelle Keowla 6.

South Kitsap—Darian Dickey 8, Ali Davis 12, Carly Bakalarski 2, Gabrielle Stewart 2, Courtney Conklin-Smith 4, Jackie Steiger 14, Taylor Sunkel 23, Mickenzy Cordova 0, Maile Keanu 2, Rachel Rocconi 0, Hayley O’Dell 0.

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