Wolves feel Hornets' sting in defeat

"On the heels of its hard-fought victory over Port Angeles last week, the South Kitsap High School girls basketball team faced a similar team Thursday night. But this time the outcome wasn't as happy.SK lost to the Enumclaw Hornets 54-36 in the semifinals of the West Central District tournament Thursday night at the University of Puget Sound.The Wolves were outgunned by a faster, more aggressive Hornet team that forced them into 22 turnovers.The Wolves now face the loser of the Bethel/Bellarmine game, which was played late Thursday night, tonight at 5:30 p.m. at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma.The winner of that game takes third in districts, while the loser will place fifth to determine the final seeding heading into the state tournament at the Tacoma Dome March 8-11.The Wolves started their game against Enumclaw literally on the wrong foot as SK senior post Angela Sampson twisted her ankle on the opening tip and didn't return until 2:26 remained in the first quarter. Sampson finished the game with just eight points, but still managed to grab 11 rebounds.Senior point guard Stacie Benton said she and the guards are to blame for not getting the ball to Sampson or the other post players.We should have fed it more to the posts because they had smaller people on them, Benton said. (Sampson) is stronger and she could have scored a lot more if we would have fed it to her. We should have just isolated the side and given it to her.Despite being outsized, Enumclaw put strong pressure on the wings to make passes inside very difficult. On numerous occasions the Wolves turned the ball over and the Hornets would convert the turnover into fastbreak points.SK trailed at the half by 10, but the difference was a combination of missed shots and a little luck from Enumclaw.Late in the second quarter the Hornets' Jaclynn Moergeli threw in a desperation three-pointer as the shot clock expired to put Enumclaw up 11 points.Green said that shot may have symbolized how the game would go.When that girl threw the ball with no time left and it went down the well, I was like, 'Ugh, this is not a good thing.' Green said. I could count a number of buckets we gave up, plus buckets that didn't go down in the first half. We would have been right there with them.It was an uphill battle in the second half as Enumclaw refused to give an inch. The closest SK came was eight points to start the third quarter when Kristin Boyd stole the ball and scored.Boyd led the Wolves with nine points. Sampson and Beth Ellis each had eight points.Emily Clyed paced the Hornets with 13 points. Jenny Poe followed with 10 points, and Rebekah Gamblin added eight points.Green said praise had to go to Enumclaw more than faulting his players.They put a lot of pressure on us, Green said.They're an up-tempo team and they're going to put a lot of pressure on the basketball, and they are going to try and beat you off the dribble. It wasn't a secret what they were going to do, they just did it.Benton admitted her team didn't rise to the occasionbut said they should be ready for their opponent on Saturday.Green said it doesn't get any easier from here on out. There's no weak teams, he said. Everybody you play is good or better."

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