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Wolves rebound from semifinal loss, take home third-place trophy
The dream match up that everyone wanted to see Saturday materialized. And although Curtis and South Kitsap met in the third-sixth place game instead of the Class 4A state boys championship, the game lived up to all expectations.
The Vikings Isaiah Thomas got his points but his final shot was off the mark as the third-ranked Wolves of South Kitsap outlasted the top-rated Vikings 77-76 in the consolation final played at the Tacoma Dome.
The two teams, which played a week ago in the title game of the West Central/Southwest District Tournament, were on course to meet in Saturdays title game but both were upset Friday and fell into the losers bracket. South won the WCD game going away 79-64 but had to fight hard for its win at the state tourney.
South trailed by four points with under a minute left in the game but a 3-pointer by L.P. Neloms with just over 20 seconds left pulled the Wolves to within one. Neloms then forced a turnover on Curtis next possession that Tysaiah Curry took at halfcourt and turned into a layup, giving South a one-point lead with eight seconds left.
Thomas brought the ball up court but his shot from the top of the key was short and wide right, giving the Wolves the win.
South, which ended the year 27-2, took home a state trophy for the fifth-straight year, dating back to 2002. In the last five tournaments, the Wolves have placed eighth, fifth, second, sixth and now third.
South rebounded from its 58-48 semifinal loss to Central Valley nicely by turning in the complete team effort that was lacking the night before. Playing with out the pressure to win, South looked like the team that had had no problem with Curtis just a week earlier.
Seniors Conner Gehring and Josh Monagle led the Wolves with 15 points each while Neloms, the Wolves steadiest player throughout the tournament, netted 14. Curry had 10 to go with his winning basket while Ryan Sweet added eight.
Thomas, the slick-shooting junior guard had a wonderful individual tournament run, setting records for individual game (51), tournament (162) and career (241) scoring.
Read more about this game and Souths third-place run in Wednesdays issue of the Port Orchard Independent.
South Kitsap 77, Curtis 76
Score by quarters
Curtis 20 18 19 19 - 76
South Kitsap 20 23 16 18 - 77
Curtis - Isaiah Thomas 33, Gerald Hill 11, Alex Seymour 10, Zeke Hill 8, Erik Evans 6, Tyree Williams 5, Chris Sprinker 2, Jordan Rasmussen 1.
South Kitsap - Conner Gehring 15, Tippy Burk 6, LP Neloms 14, Josh Monagle 15, Ryan Sweet 8, Tysaiah Curry 10, Evan Atwater 5, Joe Pisa 4, Dan Nelson 0.