Sports

Westermann helps to lead SK role reversal

She sat on the bench, watching helplessly as her teammates struggled through one of the worst seasons in school history.

South Kitsap senior Kaileigh Westermann landed awkwardly a little more than a year ago when she corralled a rebound late in a game against Stadium. Her left knee was injured and she missed the rest of the season. She watched as the seniors ended their high-school careers with a blowout loss at rival Central Kitsap.

What a difference a year makes.

Westermann scored a team-high 13 points and the Wolves won their sixth consecutive game with a 68-52 Narrows League Bridge Division win Saturday against Foss to end the regular season. The game originally was slated for Jan. 29, but was rescheduled because snow canceled school that day.

“If feels so good,” Westermann said. “I’m so thankful we’ve all come together and become a team.”

Coach Mike Allen maintained that his team had to develop confidence after last season’s 2-18 performance. It seemed like that might not come for the Wolves (10-9 overall, 8-6 league), who lost 7 of 8 games behind the winning streak. Then there was the 56-18 win Jan. 15 against Stadium that started it. South has won by an average of 18.5 points per game in those victories.

And Foss (13-6, 11-2) wasn’t just another opponent. To continue their win streak, which now is the longest since the 1999-00 team also won six straight, the Wolves had to defeat a Falcons team that already beat them and won the Bridge Division. Foss won the previous game between the schools, 52-44, on Dec. 14.

While the win doesn’t affect the standings — South finished second in the Bridge and plays the No. 2 seed in the Bay Division, either Bellarmine Prep, in the Narrows League Tournament at 6 p.m. Thursday at Mount Tahoma — Allen said it still was “important for us to have a good game and keep the momentum going.”

To accomplish that, South needed contributions from several players. Even though Westermann and Samantha Gulisao (12) were the only South players to score in double figures, four others had at least six points. The Wolves converted 30 of 57 (52.6 percent) of their field-goal attempts.

“The kids were moving the ball well,” Allen said. “We had a lot of assists.”

It didn’t start immediately as South didn’t make its first field goal until Tori Fairweather scored on a layup to take a 5-3 lead with 3 minutes, 6 seconds in the first quarter. But the Wolves rallied to take a 12-7 lead into the second quarter and never scored less than 14 points in any other period. Despite that, the Falcons kept it close for much of the first half and even held the lead, 26-25, with 2:55 left in the second quarter when Shamaurie Green converted 1 of 2 free throws. But the Wolves scored the last seven points of the half and never trailed again.

One halftime adjustment came when Allen told his players they needed to play the Falcons’ outside shooters a little closer. Foss converted 4 of 8 3-pointers in the opening 16 minutes and Shawna Purugganan scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the first half. The Falcons hit just 1 of 13 3-pointers in the second half.

Allen said don’t expect many adjustments when his team plays in the Narrows League Tournament.

“We’re not changing anything,” he said, laughing.

South actually could lose both games — it also plays Saturday against a to-be determined opponent at Mount Tahoma — and still qualify for the West Central District Tournament as the No. 6 seed out of the Narrows. But no one within the program views their upcoming games that way.

“We’re going to continue knowing we can beat the teams on the other side of the bridge,” Westermann said. “We need to keep our intensity up in practice.”

At South Kitsap 68, Foss 52

Foss 7 19 19 7 — 52

South Kitsap 12 22 20 14 — 68

Foss—Yana Maslova 2, Janell Jordan 8, Shamaurie Green 9, Shawna Paragganan 24, Ariassa Wilson 6, Mickavla Queree 1, Sarah Fonoimoana 2.

South Kitsap—Caitlin Daniels 2, Samantha Gulisao 12, Stephanie Osterdahl 9, Amanda Feeney 4, Maria Jose 0, Ashlee Stoner 1, Tori Fairweather 3, Angel Sheldon 7, Ashley King 0, Chelnesha Thuring 9, Molly Werder 2, Kaileigh Westermann 13, Jessica Jordan 6.

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