Sports

SK dispatches Curtis, wraps up WCD title

South Kitsap Coach John Callaghan knew it would take a team effort to beat the state’s No. 1 team. And he knew it would take all of his guys to fend off the state’s best player, Isaiah Thomas.

And when it was all said and done, the team and all its players bested the best player in the state as South Kitsap claimed the West Central/Southwest District title with a 79-64 win over Curtis on Saturday night in Puyallup.

“We played smart,” Callaghan said. “We were strong with the ball. I don’t think we were shaky at any point, and we played with confidence.”

For the 24-1 Wolves, it was their first WCD title since 1945 and propels them into today’s Class 4A state tournament as the district’s top seed.

Curtis, 23-2, will enter as the district’s second seed. South will meet Southridge at 7 p.m. tonight to open its sixth straight run at the big prize.

Josh Monagle scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the second half as South followed the strength of its inside game and its vaunted diamond-and-one defense to overcome the slick-shooting Thomas.

Monagle, who was named the tourney’s Most Outstanding Player, overcame early foul trouble to lead three Wolves in double figures. His eight third-quarter points helped South maintain a 10-point lead throughout most of the second half.

“The way our team showed up today, I mean I couldn’t have done anything as an individual like that without the team,” Monagle said. “We just played great together.”

Ryan Sweet added 10 points for South while Conner Gehring netted 13. But the Wolves got plenty of production from just about everyone Saturday night.

Tysaiah Curry and Joe Pisa came off the bench to score nine points each, while L.P. Neloms kicked in eight and Tippy Burk had seven.

But it was the play of South’s defense that turned the tide. Neloms, along with Curry and Dan Nelson, held Thomas to 23 points, including just eight in the second half.

“I thought we did OK against him,” Neloms said. “He’s quick and he likes to shoot, but I thought he was getting a little tired (in the second half) because he was trying to do a lot.”

Thomas, regarded as the state’s top prep player, entered the game averaging 32 points an outing.

“That’s a great team that we played. Those guys can play, obviously,” Callaghan said. “Defensively, we executed what we talked about, which is awesome. I’m proud of the way we played.”

The district title is one of four the Wolves set out to win this year.

They had already claimed the Bridge Division crown and the Narrows League title.

Now all that stands left to accomplish is taking the state title.

The state tournament runs Wednesday through Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.

South Kitsap 79, Curtis 64

Score by quarters

Curtis 16 14 18 16 – 64

South Kitsap 19 22 17 21 – 79

Curtis – Tyree Williams 3, 0-0 – 3; Isaiah Thomas 21, 2-8 – 23; Zeke Hill

16, 0-0 – 16; Alex Seymour 4, 0-0 – 4; Chris Sprinker 4, 0-0 – 4; Gerald

Hill 8, 2-4 – 10; Erik Evans 4, 0-0 – 4. Team totals: 60, 4-12 – 64.

South Kitsap – Conner Gehring 12, 1-2 – 13; Tippy Burk 6, 1-2 – 7; LP

Neloms 2, 6-6 – 8; Ryan Sweet 8, 2-3 – 10; Josh Monagle 12, 2-2 – 14; Evan

Atwater 5, 0-0 – 5; Joe Pisa 8, 1-2 – 9; Tysaiah Curry 6, 3-4 – 9; Dan

Nelson 2, 2-2 – 4; Jared Privatt 0, 0-0 – 0. Team totals: 61, 18-23 – 79.

Three point field goals: Williams, Thomas 3, ZHill 4, Gehring 2, Atwater.

Fouled Out: Sprinker.

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