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BOYS BASKETBALL | South Kitsap's season ends in overtime
MILL CREEK — It was a result that left South Kitsap pondering possibilities.
Missed free throws. A rebound. And a disputed call at midcourt that might have enabled the Wolves to prevail in regulation instead of suffering 74-65 overtime loss Saturday at regionals against Garfield at Jackson High School.
The top-ranked Bulldogs (23-1) advance to next week’s Class 4A Hardwood Classic at Tacoma Dome, while the Wolves’ season comes to an end. South finished with a 16-9 record.
It could have been different despite Garfield building a 36-26 lead at halftime. South gradually cut into its deficit during the second half before senior post Josh Osinski, who had four blocks, corralled a rebound and fired a deep pass to classmate PJ Johnson for a layup. That gave the Wolves their first lead, 55-53, since the opening period.
But South could not contain swingman Trevaunte’ Williams, who finished with a career-high 35 points. Williams scored six unanswered points to give the Bulldogs a 59-55 lead with 1:58 remaining.
“The last few games, we’ve been blowing out guys,” Williams said. “We needed this reality check.”
That is exactly what the Wolves, who led for most of the first meeting between the teams before losing 67-57 during December’s Lake City Invitational in Idaho, gave them.
Senior wing Devon Newquist hit a 3-pointer and junior point guard Ryley Callaghan stole the in-bound pass and threw it to classmate Caulin Bakalarski, who finished with a career-high 28 points. He then returned the ball to Callaghan for the go-ahead layup with 1:26 remaining.
That is when Williams responded again. His layup about 20 seconds later gave Garfield a 61-60 lead.
“You’ve always gotta give up something,” South coach John Callaghan said. “We knew we would have times when our point guard would be blocking out their post.”
After each team turned the ball over, South essentially had an opportunity to take the final viable shot with 36 seconds left. Instead, Callaghan pulled up and hit a 3-pointer with 16 seconds remaining to give the Wolves a 63-61 lead.
All South needed for its first state appearance since 2006 was a defensive stop. It nearly happened as guard Jalen McGruder’s 3-pointer missed, but forward Torrence Baker was fouled on the rebound with 5.6 seconds left. After Baker converted the first free throw, Callaghan called a timeout in an attempt to ice the junior. It did not work as Baker, who missed all five of his field-goal attempts, emitted a soft sigh and calmly sank the tying shot.
“It looked like we had ’em right where we wanted ’em,” Callaghan said. “We were one defensive rebound away.”
The result still left South with plenty of time to attempt a game-winning shot. But official Susan DePoe called an offensive foul at midcourt. Several Wolves felt the Bulldogs’ player initiated the contact.
Garfield regained possession with 1.8 seconds remaining before Tucker Haymond’s 3-pointer was wide right to send the game into overtime.
And that is where any thrill – at least from South’s perspective – ended. After regulation, which featured nine lead changes and eight ties, Haymond ended the stalemate when he split a pair of free throws 11 seconds into overtime. It was the beginning of a 10-0 run before Bakalarski made two free throws with 11 seconds left. The Wolves committed three turnovers and missed all 10 of their field goals during the extra session.
“Everyone was spent, I think,” Callaghan said.
The game also marked the end of the high-school playing days for eight seniors, which is the most those within the program can remember at once. They include Quincy Benavidez, James Hyson, PJ Johnson, Nick Mishko, Newquist, Josh Osinski, Tom Simpson and Nic Stoner.
“We’re not going to be as good without those guys,” Bakalarski said. “I’m going to miss all of them.”
Garfield 74, South Kitsap 65 (OT)
South Kitsap 16 10 15 22 2 — 74
Garfield 16 20 6 21 11 — 65
South Kitsap-Ryley Callaghan 15, Caulin Bakalarski 28, Tom Simpson, Devon Newquist 14, Nic Stoner, PJ Johnson 2, Nick Mishko, Forest Bingham, James Hyson 2, Josh Osinksi 4
Garfield-Tucker Haymond 12, Aja Buchanan, Jalen McGruder, Kai Greene, Demario Hall 10, Torrence Baker 3, Zechariah Shepherd 10, Aqeel Williams 2, Jashaun Agosto 2, Trevaunte’ Williams 35.