SK will open up tourney against Mount Spokane

"Riding on a two-game losing streak, the South Kitsap High School boys basketball team hope to turn their recent woes around at the 4A state basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome today at 3:30 p.m.SK (19-6) takes on the Mount Spokane Wildcats (22-3), a school in its fourth year in existence. This may be Mount Spokane's first year experiencing the postseason, but SK is in the same boat.The Wolves enjoyed their first trip to districts last year after a 14-year drought.They improved on that accomplishment with a state berth at districts this season.The big question going into the state tournament is which SK team will show up - the squad that thrust itself into the district semifinals or the team that played poorly in its final two games of the tournament?SK coach John Callaghan said his team has forgotten the district tournament and is concentrating on putting it all together at state.Our team is as good as any team we have played or are going to play, Callaghan said. But we need to click on all cylinders. You go through stretches where you play well and just need to work harder in stretches where you're not playing well. We're in a mini-slump but...everything we've worked for up 'til now is what it's about. Everybody is 0-0 going into state.SK finds itself in a tough lower bracket with teams like Lincoln and Garfield lurking in possible quarterfinal and semifinal matchups, respectively.But SK must get past a tough Mount Spokane team, the Greater Spokane League regular season champion.The makeup of Mount Spokane is similar to SK, but there are subtle differences.The Wildcats are led by 6-5 senior forward Kyle Vessey, who has been the glue that holds them together.Prior to the first round of the District 5/6 tournament, Vessey had scored in double figures in 20 consecutive games.He was a hit or miss at districts, scoring only seven points in a 33-28 win against Walla Walla and 11 points in the regional championship.But in between those two games he poured in 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against Davis.Mount Spokane also gets key contributions from sophomores Zack Proett, a 6-9 center, and Zack Bursch, a 5-11 shooting guard who hits 3-pointers with deadly accuracy.Rounding out the Wildcats' starting lineup are juniors Jordan Bursch (6-0) and Casey Franklin (6-3). Sophomore Joel Clark (6-0) comes off the bench, but the team tapers off from there.Mount Spokane religiously ran a man-to-man defense during the regular season, though they used a zone defense to upend Davis.Callaghan said his team has taken its lumps and now the only choice is to be ready for state.I think some of us got a little full of ourselves and got some attention, and maybe we let that get to us, Callaghan said. How you handle your success is as important as getting there. The only way is to fight through it. "

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