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South Kitsap boys aiming to take the sting out of Hornets
"John Callaghan, the South Kitsap High School boys basketball coach said before the Lincoln game Friday night no team should feel comfortable if it draws the Wolves.Making a subtle prediction his team would advance to the West Central District tournament, Callaghan's prediction held true Friday night at home against the Abes. SK (13-7) staved off elimination by defeating Lincoln (12-9) 65-58 and will host the Enumclaw Hornets (14-7) in the first round of the WCD Thursday night at 7:30 p.m.The Wolves put their five-game winning streak on the line against an Enumclaw team that has a blend of size and spunk.Led by sophomore guard Craig Schweikl and junior post Casey Hanson, the Hornets have a formidable team despite losing four of five starters from last year's team that advanced to state.They're young and got some guys who can shoot the ball, Callaghan said. But we match up pretty well. I think we're a little deeper and more experienced, but all these games are going to be good.SK can advance to state if it wins the first two games of the tournament.The Wolves haven't gone to state since Callaghan was a player at SK in 1976.SK senior Ryan Letson said beating Lincoln was important but just another stepping stone for its goal to make it to state.Letson and the seven other seniors have waited for this opportunity since they were seventh graders and aren't about to take any game for granted from here on out.It's good to get out of the Narrows League after two years of not even getting the cross-over game (to advance to playoffs), Letson said. It's nice to get that off our back and get ready to go on to state. We've just got to stay tough in the head.A big reason for SK's win against Lincoln came at the hands of senior post Beau Pilon, who scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.Trailing by seven at halftime, the Abes came back and took the lead in the beginning of the fourth quarter.Pilon and every SK player on the floor hit crucial shots or grabbed clutch rebounds.That's what pleased Callaghan, and what gives him confidence heading into districts.You could look at so many different plays that so many different people made, Callaghan said. Everybody just had huge plays at certain times. When we're playing as a team and everybody is involved, good things happen.Senior Jason Young, who led the Wolves with 20 points including four three-pointers in the first quarter, said the key to beating Lincoln and future opponents is minimizing turnovers.We were strong with he ball and penetrated aggressively, and said 'We're not going to give this one up,' Young said. Since seventh grade we've been pumped up saying the year 2000 is going to be the team, so it's time to step it up.After Pilon missed two games for disciplinary reasons, he came back against Lincoln though he didn't start because he was late for practice.Is this the high school version of Dennis Rodman?Both Young and Letson said having Pilon in the middle makes the team not only a better team but a state-contending team, too.We love how the ball gets tipped around up there and he'll get his hands up and put it back in the bucket, Young said.Oh, he's huge, Letson said. You gotta be able to play without him but when he's in there that just makes us so much stronger.Pilon said he waited two weeks for him to break out and have a good game.I felt really good, he said. I was mentally focused all the way."