CK wards off pesky Wolves

After going 3-3 in the first half of the Narrows League Bridge Division, the South Kitsap High School girls basketball team is hoping a second go-around will produce better results.

Healthy but not yet at full strength, SK (3-3 Bridge, 5-8 overall) came close to making Central Kitsap (4-1 Bridge, 9-3 overall) its second comeback victim Friday night at the SK gym.

But CK hit its free throws down the stretch to stave off SK and win 58-55.

Earlier in the week SK came from 11 points to defeat Olympic.

Against CK the Wolves trailed by eight points with 4:17 left in the game, but senior Sarah Groves delivered with a four-point play to cut the lead in half.

Groves connected with a 3-pointer and was fouled in the act by CK’s Nicole Zygmontowicz and made the free throw.

But Zygmontowicz, who had a game-high 20 points, had her revenge one minute later with a clutch three-pointer.

A Rebekah Proctor rebound and putback cut CK’s lead to 54-48 but Noel Gregory hit both free throws to push the lead back to eight.

SK’s Kristi Utter, who scored hit a career-high 10 points, kept the game interesting with her second three-pointer of the game.

Down 57-51 with less than 30 seconds remaining, Utter added a bucket to cut the lead to four.

But Amber McKinnis hit one of two free throws and all SK could muster was a Sharon Daly bucket at the buzzer to end the game.

CK coach Denise Baxter said she was relieved to get out of the SK gym with a win.

“Any time you win on the road in the league is a bonus,” Baxter said. “South’s a good basketball team and they’ve had some injuries. With Proctor coming back in the game, that really helped them.”

Still recovering from a sprained ankle, Proctor only played half the game.

Baxter said the game at home against SK Feb. 6 will probably be a tougher game than this one.

“In my opinion (Proctor) is their best player,” Baxter said. “I don’t think it’s going to be easier at home, especially when they have Proctor back at full strength.”

Though CK had a size advantage, SK used a 1-3-1 halfcourt trap to eat at CK’s most glaring weakness--ball handling.

Without a true point guard, SK scored a half dozen transistion buckets in the second half to crawl back from its eight-point deficit.

Zygmontowicz seemed to be the only player who remained composed with the ball. Baxter agreed.

“I don’t like to ask her to do everything,” Baxter said. “I’d like to take some pressure off Nicole and let her do the things she does really well, which is shooting and rebounding. We’re still young in spots and try to foce the action instead of letting things develop.”

The Cougars escaped SK’s pressure by sinking 19 of 26 free throws, while SK made just one of five shots on the line.

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