SK pushed to the brink

Lighting has struck twice for the South Kitsap High School boys basketball team, but the misfortune hasn’t ended the season yet.

After suffering a one-point loss to Mount Tahoma on the last play of the game last weekend, SK suffered a similar fate at Battle Ground Thursday night in the first round of the West Central District tournament.

SK now faces Foss tonight at 6 p.m. in a loser-out contest at Puyallup High School.

With the loss to Battle Ground, SK will have to win three straight games to at least earn a shot at the seventh and final state berth.

If the Wolves defeat Foss, they will play Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Auburn High School.

SK senior Jason Boyd said the team has played with a sense of urgency all season to get back to state.

“We gotta realize that this is it for us seniors,” Boyd said. “We’ve gotta give it everything we’ve got.”

The Wolves gave it their all against Battle Ground but the shots failed to fall in the fourth quarter.

Ironically, sophomore post Jake Beitinger, who struggled offensively in the first half, scored 14 of his team-high 19 points in the second half — including eight of his team’s 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Sophomore post Adam Bennett came out sizzling in the first half with 13 points but failed to score in the second half.

Battle Ground guard Brad Updike burned SK for 19 points before fouling out with a minute to go in the game.

It was Updike’s final foul that allowed Beitinger to earn two points from the foul line and cut Battle Ground’s lead to 51-49 with 58 seconds left.

On Battle Ground’s ensuing possession, SK’s Tyler Mayfield tied up the ball with a Battle Ground’s Steve Binns and called a timeout to earn possession with 23 seconds left.

On SK’s possession Mayfield drew a foul and drained both free throws to knot the score 51-51.

Battle Ground played for the last shot and failed its shot attempt but the ball hit off of an SK player out of bounds to keep the ball in Battle Ground’s possession with 3.9 seconds.

A confused SK squad didn’t know what defense they were playing and James Seifert took advantage of it, receiving the inbounds pass and drawing a foul on the layup.

Seifert completed the three-point play to give Battle Ground a 54-51 lead with 2.8 seconds left.

After a timeout was called, Bennett hurled a pass to halfcourt where Mayfield grabbed the ball, dribbled between to defenders and got off a running three-pointer at the buzzer but the shot hit the front end of the rim to end the game.

SK coach John Callaghan said the difference in the game was SK’s lack of execution when Battle Ground presented a zone defense.

“I think we struggled against their zone for whatever reason,” Callaghan said. “At times we started moving the ball, but we didn’t move the ball to the other side of the floor with any purpose. The bottom line, though, is Battle Ground handled our pressure. They didn’t make the big turnovers when we were in their face.”

Boyd said he was disappointed with the Wolves’ inability to make things happen against the zone defense.

“I think we just slowed down the pace after we started running them down,” Boyd said. “I don’t think we should have ever slowed down. We should have kept going. We just didn’t capitalize.”

In the fourth quarter SK struggled from the perimeter, going 0 for 5 from the three-point arch.

Callaghan said some of his shooters may have lacked confidence in the game, but he hasn’t lost confidence in his shooters.

“I have total confidence in these guys,” he said. “They can shoot the three as well as anybody.”

SK’s backs are against the walls, but Callaghan guaranteed his team will scratch and claw its way through the consolation bracket.

“We can’t sit around and feel sorry for ourselves,” he said. “We just need to battle back, and we will. We’re playing well. We’re just coming up short the last couple of games.”

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