SK basks in glow of first win at state

To many outsiders it was just a win at the Tacoma Dome, but for South Kitsap players, coaches, and fans it was a historic victory for the prep boys basketball team at the 4A state tournament.

Coming off a disheartening 71-64 loss to top-ranked Franklin Wednesday, the Wolves rebounded with a 71-59 win over Mead of Spokane.

It was SK’s first win at state since 1962, but only three SK teams made it to state since 1962.

The win pushed SK into the consolation semifinal game against Bethel yesterday.

Results of the game were unavailable at press time.

If SK won, it plays the Shadle Park/Federal Way winner today.

A loss would have ended SK’s season.

The buzz at the tournament around press row has been geared towards SK sophomore sensation Jake Beitinger.

After scoring a career-high 29 points and grabbing 16 rebounds in the loss to Franklin, Beitinger didn’t miss a beat against Mead with 20 points and 14 rebounds.

A humbled Beitinger said he’s just been doing what it takes to help the team win.

“It’s like March madness, I guess,” Beitinger said. “I take it upon myself to lead the guys and get them going.”

That he did, as sophomore teammate Adam Bennett added 16 points and Tremaine Curry chipped in 11.

Some of the biggest points came from junior Nate Seitz, who came off the bench in the second quarter to score eight points in seven minutes.

With SK trailing 19-11 early in the second quarter, Seitz swished a three-pointer from the left corner to pull SK closer.

Trailing 29-25, Seitz followed with a short jumper.

Mead kept scoring, but SK countered every move. Down 33-29, Seitz hit his second three-pointer to cut the lead to one, and Beitinger converted a pair of free throws to give SK a 34-33 lead.

SK coach John Callaghan said Seitz played a key role in the game despite playing a total of nine minutes.

“Nate is a player,” Callaghan said. “Offensively, he’s a force. He hasn’t even tapped his potential yet. It’s a matter of time with him. If they’d stayed zone, he would have been in there the whole second half.”

Mead became yet another opponent SK kept under 60 points.

SK’s toughest task was trying to shut down Mead’s leading scorer Adam Morrison, who was averaging 24 points per game.

He finished a point below his average, but after netting 16 in the first half the Wolves limited him to seven second-half points.

SK’s frontcourt proved too much for the smaller Mead lineup.

The Wolves out-rebounded the Panthers 43-32, including a 22-12 advantage on the offensive boards.

SK senior guard Jason Boyd managed to grab seven rebounds behind Beitinger’s 14. Bennett also hauled down six boards.

SK coach John Callaghan said it felt like some weight was taken off his back with the win.

Though he admits it’s been a long time since SK won a state tournament game, he said he hopes winning becomes contagious at state with future SK teams.

After going two and out last year at the tournament, Callaghan said getting a victory (and hopefully more wins) was a nice accomplishment.

“There was no pressure on us for that (losing streak) but it is nice to get a win here,” Callaghan said. “It’s fun to win here and we love to be here.”

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