Girls basketball: Wolves face must-win scenario

TACOMA — South Kitsap coach Mike Hulet sums it up succinctly.

“Win and move on or lose and go home,” he said.

That is the prospect the Wolves face after their 62-52 loss Friday night against Kentwood in the Class 4A West Central District playoffs at Stadium High School.

South (17-5) faces Emerald Ridge at 8 p.m. Friday at Stadium with the winner securing a berth in the state playoffs, while the loser is eliminated. The Jaguars (17-5) defeated Bellarmine Prep, 48-44, on Thursday.

The Wolves could have secured their third state-playoff appearance in four seasons with a victory against the Conquerors (20-4), but those hopes were derailed during the second quarter when Kentwood used an 18-0 run to break a 15-all score.

Junior guard Darian Dickey, who scored 10 points, hit a 3-pointer to tie the game with 6:27 left in the second quarter. South did not score again until Dickey made another 3-pointer with 1:37 remaining in the first half to reduce the Wolves’ deficit to 33-18.

“That was game, set, match,” Hulet said. “You can’t afford to have that lapse.”

That problem was exacerbated by chronic foul trouble among South seniors Ali Davis, Jackie Steiger and Taylor Sunkel, all of whom were disqualified during the second half. The Conquerors made 21 of 26 free throws, while the Wolves converted 5 of 14 from the stripe.

“We just have to adjust to that,” said Steiger, when asked about the game being called tighter.

No one capitalized on that more than 5-foot-10 sophomore Sarah Toeaina, who made 11 of 13 free throws en route to a game-high 25 points.

Toeaina helped Kentwood maintain a double-digit lead throughout the second half until Dickey hit a 3-pointer with 37 seconds to reduce the Conquerors advantage to 58-50 with 37 seconds left.

But that is as close as South would get.

Despite the setback, Steiger said the Wolves remain confident.

“We’re all super pumped,” she said. “We’ll come out with super intensity, get the win and move onto state.”

Kentwood 62, South Kitsap 52

Kentwood    11    24    12    15    —    62

South Kitsap    11    9    13    19    —    52

Kentwood—Kate Kramer 4, Sarah Toeaina 25, Ashley Rolsma 0, Madison Rankin 4, Alycea DeLong 11, Kylee Ashley 0, Jenny Johnson 13, Alexis Berrysmith 5.

South Kitsap—Darian Dickey 10, Amy Bakalarski 0, Ali Davis 9, Carly Bakalarski 0, Gabrielle Stewart 2, Courtney Conklin-Smith 0, Jackie Steiger 11, Taylor Sunkel 13, Maile Keanu 7, Hayley O’Dell 0.

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