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SK reloads with youth
"After losing seven players to graduation, most basketball coaches would say they are rebuilding the following season.South Kitsap High School boys basketball coach John Callaghan said there is enough talent to fill the departed players' shoes, but inexperience will be the biggest factor in the team's effort to make a consecutive trip to districts and hopefully continue on to state.As early as a week ago the third-year coach thought he was going to coach a team that lacked in height.Jake Whitford, a 6-5 senior, would have been the only legitimate post.Buck Savage, a 6-4 senior, would have been asked to move from the small forward position where he is most comfortable to the post position.But the team recently found out luck was on their side.Beau Pilon, a 6-6 senior post player that started last year, was given an extra year of eligibility after applying under the hardship rule.He was granted the extra year and will be eligible to play Jan. 2.Freshman Jacob Bettinger, who stands at 6-7, was originally enrolled at Bellarmine Prep but is currently trying to transfer back into the South Kitsap School District.Callaghan said Bettinger is in the process of getting through some red tape.Callaghan said he is optimistic Betteringer will be allowed to transfer back.Jacob is not only 6-7 but he can play, Callaghan said. He would definitely help us at the varsity level.Savage, Justin Dudley, and Pilon are the only three returning players that played a lumpsum of minutes at varsity last year.Junior guards Tyler Mayfield and Jason Boyd were swing players between junior varsity and varsity but their time on varsity was limited.Callaghan said Mayfield and Boyd will play much more of a significant roll on the team.Another player Callaghan has high hopes for is Tremaine T.C. Curry.T.C. has been the biggest surprise, Callaghan said. Well, not really a surprise because he's worked his butt off. He's probably in the best shape of anyone out here. I would say coming in, if anybody is deserving of a shot (at starting) it's him.Other players that will look to contribute on varsity is senior Clint Edwards, junior Aaron Metz, and sophomores Brian Cox and Nate Seitz.Callaghan said the latter three players will swing between junior varsity and varsity, with playing time being determined based on performance.Though the team is young (five seniors), Callaghan said the addition of Pilon and Bettinger will enable the Wolves to match up against any team in the always tough Narrows League.We have a lot of dynamics, Callaghan said. Coming in we were thinking we were going to be small. This summer we relied on pressing and trapping and playing full court, which we're going to do still. But I think we're going to have to make adjustments since we now have guys who can post up. We'll maximize whatever advantage we have.Lincoln is the best, if not one of the best in the league, but SK has had recent success against Lincoln, Callaghan said.Another team SK will have fits with is defending state champion Foss, who returns most of their players. But the league doesn't intimidate Callaghan.With the additions we have plus the guys we have coming back I don't see any team that we can't beat. Of course that's not to say there's another team that can't beat us either. You have to play well, but the season looks promising. We're just young.Callaghan said he was unsure who the starters will be but thinks any combination of eight players would give him a strong starting five.I've told these guys it doesn't matter who starts the game, it's who finishes the game, Callaghan said. If you're in at the end then you know you're the man. We're not going to win the game in the first quarter. Of course everyone wants to start. "