Tides roll in SK’s first loss

It’s not that John Callaghan expected his team to go undefeated this year.

He just didn’t expect his South Kitsap High School boy basketball team to play as flat as it did in a 58-40 loss at Gig Harbor Friday night.

SK will look to get back on the winning side of games when it hosts Olympic tonight at 7 p.m in a Narrows League Bridge Division contest.

Olympic (2-2 league, 5-5 overall) comes into the game winners of four of its last five games

As poor as the Wolves (3-1, 9-1) played, they still found themselves in the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Gig Harbor’s eight point lead with three minutes to play was about to get cut to six points when a fast-breaking Jake Beitinger had an open lane for two points.

But Beitinger missed his dunk and the Tides recovered the loose ball.

From that point Gig Harbor (4-0, 9-2) finished the game on a 12-2 run and handed SK its first loss of the year.

Callaghan said Beitinger’s miss was symbolic of how poorly the Wolves played, and how well the Tides played.

“We got outplayed in all areas,” Callaghan said. “We didn’t hit a lot of shots from the perimeter, but our defense still has to execute.”

Gig Harbor’s Bill Forelli, a Narrows League MVP candidate, nailed bucket after bucket for a game-high 25 points.

Morgan Axton added 10 of his 18 points on the free-throw line.

No other Gig Harbor player scored more than four points.

Beitinger and Trivone Curry each had 10 points to lead the Wolves.

SK failed to produce any type of flow offensively, showing frustration against Gig Harbor’s 2-3 zone.

When SK’s guards did feed Adam Bennett and Beitinger, the posts found themselves double- or triple-teamed.

Gig Harbor snuffed out SK’s low-post scoring with blocked shots and forced turnovers.

Constantly poor passes to the post players also caused the Wolves to turn the ball over.

That left the scoring opportunities to SK’s guards, who connected on just three-of-15 3-point attempts.

The team finished under 30 percent from the floor and hit just 11-of-19 from the free throw line.

Callaghan said the zone wasn’t anything, it was just a matter of executing.

“Our guards did a lot of standing and watching instead of moving,” Callaghan said. “I don’t think we ran our zone offense almost at all.”

If SK was consistent at one thing it was its tradition of losing at Gig Harbor.

The Wolves haven’t won there since Gig Harbor came into the Narrows League in 1996.

Last yea,r SK lost at Gig Harbor by 12 points, and 25 points the previous year.

Callaghan said Gig Harbor followed through with its game plan, but more importantly he’d like to see his team follow through on its own game plan.

Callaghan also took some of the blame for the loss.

He failed to substitute any of his players in the second half, while Gig Harbor constantly made substitutions.

The Tides clearly had the fresher legs going into the final half of the fourth quarter.

“I’m partly to blame because I didn’t use my bench,” Callaghan said. “I should have used more of my guys. That was my fault.”

While the loss stung, Callaghan said everyone will learn from this game.

In fact, he feels the loss may rejuvenate his team.

“A loss doesn’t mean anything unless you learn from it,” he said. “No one likes to lose, but I think it will be beneficial for us. I expect us to come out harder and work harder the rest of the season.”

Knowing SK has a Feb. 5 rematch with Gig Harbor, Callaghan said he expects his team to be improved by then.

“It’s not a devastating loss,” he said. “It’s just one loss. We just need to get back to the fundamentals.”

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