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Schedule might be South Kitsap's greatest obstacle | Boys basketball preview

Fans waiting to watch South Kitsap’s boys basketball team play at home will have to wait awhile.

That might be an understatement.

Professional teams with facilities hosting the Democratic and Republican national conventions have faced shorter road stints than the Wolves.After opening with an 82-66 win Monday against Bremerton, South does not play at home again until Jan. 9 against Olympia. The Wolves play Saturday against Rogers in the Auburn Invitational and then play five consecutive road games before the Dec. 27-29 Lake City Invitational in Idaho.

“Nice schedule,” said Callaghan, sarcastically. “It’s going to be a tough start.”

One advantage the schedule could provide, particularly if South starts quickly, is six of its nine league games after New Year’s Day are at home. The Wolves also have one nonleague contest Jan. 18 at North Thurston. But post Josh Osinski feels that could be counterbalanced by another factor.

“I think it’s kind of fun being the underdog sometimes,” he said. “I think that’s going to be our big advantage. A lot of these teams that we haven’t ran with are going to come in expecting the same old South Kitsap. It’s just not that way anymore.”

Despite the unbalanced schedule, Callaghan and his players are excited about the upcoming season. Since South’s streak of six consecutive state playoff appearances ended in 2006, the Wolves have produced a 64-63 record during the last half-dozen seasons.

Callaghan said there is one significant difference this season.

“It’s tough playing against men when you haven’t even gone through puberty yet,” he said. “We’ve started a sophomore the last few years on varsity. Now there’s not even a sophomore on varsity.”

Wing Devon Newquist agreed.

“We’ve all been playing together since we were in sixth grade,” he said. “We have a lot of team chemistry.”

South lost its leading scorer when guard Nars Martinez, who averaged 15.2 points per game last season, graduated. But Callaghan believes the Wolves have plenty of perimeter scoring options. Seniors Newquists and Tom Simpson each have two years of varsity experience, while junior point guard Ryley Callaghan has one. In addition to that trio, the elder Callaghan is excited about another returner who saw limited playing time last season — junior wing Caulin Bakalarski.

“The one guy I think who really is going to surprise some people is Caulin,” Callaghan said. “Caulin is going to have a good year.”

South does not feature a tall squad, its tallest players are 6-foot-5 seniors James Hyson and Osinski, but Callaghan thinks the latter could make an impact this season.

“Josh has really come on,” he said.

Callaghan likes the Wolves’ depth, he feels they can play 9 or 10 players per game, which he believes will be important in league. South finished 11-10 overall last season and 7-7 in 4A Narrows. Bellarmine Prep and Olympia both had 13-1 league records and Callaghan feels that duo is “slightly” ahead of the rest of 4A Narrows entering the season.

“Every team in our league is legit,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of close games.”

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