Wolves’ full-court pressure too much for Roughriders

Miffed by a lack of intensity against North Kitsap last Friday, South Kitsap boys basketball coach John Callaghan made sure his players didn’t come out flat again Wednesday night in a home game against Port Angeles.

The Wolves responded with a stifling full-court pressure that proved too much for a despondent Roughriders team.

SK never loosened the reins and ran away with a 73-48 Narrows League Bridge Division win.

The win elevated SK (9-0 overall) to a 3-0 record in the division heading into its battle for first place last night at Gig Harbor.

Through the first eight games, Callaghan inserted a press defense sparingly.

But Wednesday night was the first time he used it for the majority of the game.

The trapping defense induced 20 PA turnovers, which SK converted into 12 scores.

One of the benefactors of the defense was senior point guard Brian Cox.

After admitting to playing less than par over the last two games, Cox said the full-court pressure opened up opportunities for every SK player.

Three Wolves scored in double figures, led by Cox’s 14 points.

Jacob Beitinger had 12 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, and Nate Seitz added 12 points.

“Last game we didn’t play very well, so we thought here, if we played hard on the defensive end, it would just create opportunities,” Cox said. “We came out and pressured them to death.”

Cox said he anticipates Callaghan using the full-court press more.

More importantly, Cox said the team is ready to press an entire game if they have to because of the emergence of SK’s bench.

“We were getting a little tired in the end but I think we’re in better shape than any team we’re going to play,” Cox said. “Coach does a great job of getting everybody in the game.”

For the second consecutive game, the SK bench got in on the act both offensively and defensively.

Seven SK players combined to drain a season-high nine 3-pointers.

Six of the nine 3-pointers came from SK reserves.

Sophomore Jamil Moore, a swing player who logs time with the junior varsity team as well, didn’t see his first action until the fourth quarter.

But he made the best of his time, scoring eight points, including two 3-pointers.

Seniors Joe Riley, Ryan Marshall and Brad Sehmel each canned one from beyond the arch as well.

Callaghan said the way SK played is indicative of what happens when a team follows through with the game plan.

“In the first half of the season, half of these guys hadn’t been around the program much,” Callaghan said. “It’s hard (as a player) because you have to think and then react. Now all these guys are at the point where they’re reacting.”

Callaghan said his pressure defense will be necessary to succeed against the best teams in the state come playoff time.

“Against most of the teams, our pressure should help us,” he said. “If you can hold the other team to 50 points or under you’ve got a good chance.”

Callaghan said he has preached the importance of defense, and he was pleased with the way his team responded Wednesday night.

“I think the kids started seeing what happens when you pressure a team,” he said. “When you start scoring off your defense things open up more.”

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