Sports

SK exploits Bothell's miscues in win

There are many dramatic ways to win a high-school basketball game.

Breakaway layups. Free throws. 3-pointers.

But lane violations?

It wasn’t conventional, but it might have been the turning point in South Kitsap’s 54-51 win against Bothell in the Comcast Christmas Classic Friday at Bothell High School.

The Wolves trailed by four points with 1 minute, 58 seconds left when South post Collin Monagle stepped up to the free-throw line and missed his first attempt.

But an official called a lane violation against the Cougars, which gave Monagle two more shots. He made both to cut Bothell’s lead to 49-47.

“I’m not even sure what happened,” South coach John Callaghan said. “I didn’t even know it was called until he (the official) stepped in and said, ‘Shooting two.’ A second opportunity doesn’t come around all the time.”

After both teams committed turnovers, Bothell’s Neddy Dirini, who scored a game-high 27 points, made a pair of free throws. But guard Gibson Davies responded with a 3-pointer for the Wolves — his only points of the game — to cut their deficit to 51-50 with 32 seconds remaining.

“One of the biggest shots was Gibson knocking down that 3 because Gibson did not play well in this game,” Callaghan said. “For him to step up and knock down that shot when it counted, I thought that was huge.”

South (6-4) promptly fouled Dirini, who missed both free throws, and guard Tionne Curry went the opposite direction for the go-ahead layup with 20 seconds left.

“I just wanted to get the win,” Curry said. “That’s all I was worried about.”

Callaghan said he’s been waiting to see that from his starting point guard.

“It seems like Tionne is starting to come around offensively when it comes to being aggressive,” he said. “He was in a little bit of a lull in the first half of the season. He was just more aggressive in looking for his shot.

“He has to play big for us.”

That could have described multiple South athletes during the final two plays. Several Wolves tied up a Bothell player for the jump ball, which was turned over to South, and Leon La Deaux then was fouled. He missed both free throws, but corralled the rebound and was fouled again. This time he made both free throws.

The inbounds pass was deflected by Curry and caught by Monagle to run out the clock and end the Wolves’ two-game losing streak.

Unlike Thursday’s 67-59 loss against Skyline, the Wolves started well against Bothell and led 17-10 entering the second quarter and 28-24 at halftime.

“We were a lot quicker out of the gun and disciplined,” La Deaux said. “We got everyone involved right away on offense and were on them defensively.”

The Cougars (4-3) trailed until a Dirini jumper put them ahead 37-35 with 48 seconds left in the third quarter. Bothell then led throughout the fourth quarter until Curry’s layup.

The win ended South’s longest regular-season losing streak since the 2003-04 season when it started 1-4.

That also was the last time the Wolves had a losing record at any point in the season. A loss against Bothell wouldn’t have ended that distinction, but it would have put South at .500. The players said the win was more important from a confidence standpoint than any other distinction, though.

“It’s great because we haven’t had a good, determined win since Gig Harbor,” La Deaux said, referring to the Wolves’ 51-50 win Dec. 7. “It’s good to get back and get everybody’s confidence up.”

Curry agreed.

“It was very important,” he said. “We needed jump back out of that losing slump we had. It’s going to give us a lot of confidence the rest of the season.”

Callaghan hopes that’s true, but said the team “still has a ways to go.”

Finishing games might be the first step.

South Kitsap 54, Bothell 51

Bothell 10 14 15 12 — 51

South Kitsap 17 11 9 17 — 54

Bothell—Kurt Stottlemyer 0, Neddy Dirini 27, Joey Fann 3, John Hekker 4, Mike Grennan 0, Mike Moran 7, Ben Moschel 6, Albert Horswill 4, Eric Hartvigson 0.

South Kitsap—Gibson Davies 3, Corey Hoffman 5, Ivan Rybachuk 0, Tionne Curry 11, Austin Siegel 2, Nick Johnson 12, Leon La Deaux 16, Collin Monagle 5, Mike Longmire 0.

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