Again, SK wilts down the stretch

The New Year has passed, but the South Kitsap boys team will have to wait on its resolution.

After several close losses in December, coach John Callaghan hoped his team would find a way to turn those games into wins.

But that didn’t happen in their first game of 2008 as the Wolves’ late rally wasn’t quite enough in a 61-58 Narrows League loss Friday night against Bellarmine Prep.

“Every game, except for Lincoln, we’ve had our opportunities,” said Callaghan, referring to the 70-57 loss Dec. 5.

South (6-6 overall, 2-4 league), which now is 2-4 in games decided by five points or less, never trailed in the first half and took a 31-29 advantage into halftime. The Lions (10-1, 6-1) eventually took the lead in the third quarter, but the offense seemed to stagnate when junior point guard Abdul Gaddy, a University of Arizona commit, was called for his fourth foul with 4 minutes, 48 seconds left in the third quarter.

Leon La Deaux was attempting a 3-pointer on the play and made 2 of 3 free throws to cut the Lions’ lead to 38-35. Nick Johnson later tied the game, 38-all, with a 3-pointer. But the Wolves didn’t score in the final 3 minutes of the quarter and Bellarmine Prep went on a 7-0 run to take a 45-38 advantage into the final period.

“We’re right there,” Callaghan said. “At crucial times, we’re turning the ball over for no reason. Our season in a nutshell is that we’re not getting 32 minutes.”

The Lions used the full-court press in the third quarter and South struggled to break it with 11 turnovers in the period.

Many of those help lead to quick transition baskets for the Lions, who lost 54-51 against South in last year’s Narrows League tournament championship game.

Bradley said that didn’t provide any extra motivation in the locker room, though.

“We talked about better defense, slowing them down and not letting them get past us,” said Bradley, who scored a game-high 23 points.

Gaddy reentered the game to start the fourth quarter and backcourt mate Avery Bradley, a junior who said he has scholarship offers to every Pac-10 school except Arizona and UCLA, appeared to finish off the Wolves when he converted a pair of free throws to take a 57-50 advantage with 1:10 left.

In their quest to make every fourth quarter interesting, the Wolves wouldn’t let it end that way, though. Behind a pair of turnovers, South was able to get into the game as Corey Hoffman hit a 3-pointer and La Deaux, who had a team-high 20 points, scored and was fouled. He made the free throw to finish a three-point play, which reduced Bellarmine Prep’s lead to 61-58 with 9.3 seconds left.

Gaddy then turnover the ball over on the ensuing possession, which gave South one last opportunity. But a 3-pointer by La Deaux fell short and the Lions grabbed the rebound to secure the win.

“The last three, at least we executed what we were supposed to do,” Callighan said. “We haven’t gotten over that hump yet.”

Bellarmine Prep 11 18 16 16 -- 61

South Kitsap 19 12 7 20 -- 58

Bellarmine Prep--Abdul Gaddy 20, Romece Barnes 2, Tim Ramos 0, Andrew Bevegni 0, Derrick Hein 2, Dan Durkin 2, Jake McPhee 4, Avery Bradley 23, Brandon Taft 0, Jordan Cain 8.

South Kitsap--Gibson Davies 6, Corey Hoffman 3, Ivan Rybachuk 0, Tionne Curry 14, Austin Siegel 2, Nick Johnson 11, Leon La Deaux 20, Collin Monagle 2.

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