South Kitsap off to fast start in tournament

"The three-pointer has been Beth Ellis' best friend all year. But she showed she can score without the trifecta as her 18 points helped lead the South Kitsap High School girls basketball team to victory in its final home game of the season.SK (18-4) defeated Decatur (11-12) 53-39 in the first round of the West Central District Tournament Wednesday night. The win advanced the Wolves to the quarterfinal game with Port Angeles in Puyallup last night.If they defeated Port Angeles, they will face the Enumclaw-Foss winner Thursday at the University of Puget Sound at 6:30 p.m.If they lost to PA, the Wolves will move to the consolation bracket and play the Central Kitsap-Gig Harbor winner Tuesday at UPS at 8:30 p.m. Heading into the game against Decatur, SK had struggled offensively in narrow wins over Stadium and Peninsula.The lack of offensive cohesiveness caught up with SK in its 48-41 loss to Bellarmine.But Ellis said the offense not only returned in full force against the Gators, but the win also gave the team confidence.It's definitely nice to get in the winner's bracket, Ellis said. We've been in a three-game slump and not playing very well. This is good for our confidence to get a win. We didn't know how good Decatur would be, but it doesn't matter who we play--we just have to come ready to play.Senior post Angela Sampson, with her 6-foot frame, took advantage of the shorter Decatur team, constantly dominating down low on offense for nine points in the first half.After her team built a 29-23 halftime lead, Ellis took over in the third quarter, scoring eight points as SK pulled away from a Decatur team that struggled offensively throughout the game.Dekeidra Brewer was the lone Gator in double figures with 10 points.Senior guard Kristin Boyd and junior guard Nicole Eggebraten made their defensive presence known for SK, combining for seven of the team's 14 steals.Boyd, who isn't 100 percent yet from a sprained ankle she suffered the week before, nevertheless led her team with four rebounds.Eggebraten said it was refreshing and fun to play within the team's offense.We didn't run our offense too well against Bellarmine, so it was good to focus on it and get that first game, Eggebraten said. People say you play to your competition level, but good teams play good no matter what.Eggebraten also stressed the importance of their defense, which forced Decatur into 15 turnovers.That's something we've been stressing, Eggebraten said. Teams win championships on defense, so that's what we're trying to focus on.Ellis said it's not hard to want to play good defense.Once you get on a roll, the adrenaline goes and good things happen, Ellis said. It's kind of addicting when you see someone else playing well defensively. It makes you want to work hard and dive for the ball."

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