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SK tops reigning state champion
"Like the kid brother who won't leave you alone, the South Kitsap High School boys basketball team relished its role in a come-from-behind 71-68 overtime victory at Foss Wednesday night in a Narrows League non-division matchup.The win improved SK's record to 11-1 overall heading into a non-league battle against Gig Harbor last night.The Falcons, who are the defending 4A state champions, fell to 8-3 overall.In a game filled with twists and turns, SK found itself trailing 14-1 to start the game.It took until the overtime period, when senior SK guard Justin Dudley stole the ball at half court from Foss' Terrance Menefee and scored it on a breakaway layup with with 6.3 seconds remaining, did SK enjoy its first lead of the game.Dudley was fouled on the converted bucket and calmly sank the free throw to give the Wolves a 71-68 lead.Foss inbounded the ball and called a timeout with five seconds left.Key Foss starters Solomon Wyatt and Greg Shadowvine had fouled out near the end of regulation.That left Foss' Marc Axton as the only pure scorer left on the court.Axton, who had 27 points to lead all scorers, received the sideline out-of-bounds pass and turned to pass it to Michael Moore, who was wide open at the top right section of the three-point arch.But the pass sailed passed his outstretched arms with only a second remaining.SK ran out the clock and the team along with approximately 100 SK fans erupted as the Wolves completed what looked to be an impossible comeback.From start to finish the game was physical and the referees on occasion looked to be taking the game away from the players.Three technical fouls were called, two of them going against the Wolves.Midway through the third quarter Buck Savage had a clear lane to the bucket on a breakaway.A Foss player stood underneath the basket and took a charging foul where charging fouls are never called.Savage's layup would have cut Foss' lead to 41-39, but instead, Foss had a chance to hit both technical throws and score on its possession to increase the lead by eight points.Instead, Axton hit only one of two throws and SK junior Tyler Mayfield stole the ball and zoomed to the bucket where he missed the tough layup.Dudley was there for the rebound and putback to cut the Wolves' deficit to just three points.Foss increased its lead to seven points in the fourth quarter with 6:05 remaining.But Beau Pilon's monstrous slam dunk followed by a Mayfield bank shot cut into Foss' lead to three points again at 54-51.Foss scored the next four points to boost its lead to 58-52 with 2:45 before SK coach John Callaghan had a technical foul called on him for arguing with the referee.A big game like that you get emotional, Callaghan said. We talked about it, too. You gotta keep your composure, myself included, and we didn't do a good job of it.Axton iced his technical throws to give the Falcons a 60-52 advantage, but they couldn't convert on their possession and Wyatt, who is Boise State-bound, fouled out and put Mayfield on the line.After sinking his two free throws, SK finally got a break on its next possession.Shadowvine, playing with four fouls, was called for his fifth on a shot attempt from Pilon.Not happy with the call he said something quick and then immediately ran away from the ref, prompting the ref to call a technical foul.Pilon, who finished with 14 points, hit one of his two throws from the foul and Mayfield nailed both of his technical throws to cut the lead to 62-57 with 1:50 left.Mayfield scored six of his 12 points from the charity stripe.The teams traded turnovers before Dudley hit a huge three-pointer with 1:17 left.Down 62-60, the SK defense continued to put pressure on Foss' offense.Moore gave the ball back to the Wolves on an over-and-back turnover.Dudley drove to the hoop, missed his shot, but rebounded his miss and laid it back up to tie the score 62-62.Axton had a chance to end the game but his 3-pointer fell off the front of the rim and sent the game into overtime.Foss led 68-64 in overtime but a Mayfield bucket and Dudley eight-footer knotted the game 68-68.The Falcons played for the last possession but SK's defense was able to disrupt their rhythm with a jump ball with 17.4 seconds remaining. Foss retained possession but it was on the ensuing inbounds pass Dudley stole the ball and ended the game.Callaghan said he was disappointed with the early 14-1 deficit but he said he never gave up hope.To our guys' credit they hung in there, Callaghan said. We talked about there was going to be runs. They're going to have runs and we're going to make runs. It's nice we hung in there when the chips were down.Savage, who chipped in six points, said earning the victory is what the team prepared for all week long.We practiced all day and all night for the best two hours of our life, Savage said. This is the greatest feeling. They thought they were just going to kill us. I told our team to go out like they are the state champs and we did that and took it to them.As for the controversial calls and technicals called on both sides, Savage said SK was able to overcome it because of positive encouragement.Everybody said nothing but encouraging things, he said. No negatives today.Dudley said his steal at the end was a big gamble that paid off.I had Axton and was supposed to be denying him, but I took the gamble and went away from him, Dudley said. I got him (Menefee) from behind and took it. We just never gave up.Dudley said this win should send a message to other teams that the Wolves are legit.We knew we could play with them, Dudley said. At first they were blowing us out and thought it would be no big deal. But once they saw we could play with them they kind of got a little scared and we started putting pressure on them.Callaghan said only good things can come from beating a top opponent such as Foss.When you come in and beat the defending state champs and beat them on their home court that's a good thing, Callaghan said. It's a confidence builder. We've got a lot of playing to do but it was a nice win. "