Wolves' coach sees good things in pre-season test

South Kitsap basketball coach John Callaghan needed and wanted to find out just where his team stood entering the 2003-2004 season. Saturday night he got just what he wanted.

The Wolves tuned up for their Dec. 8 season opener against Capital by playing a pair of eight-minute quarters against Renton and Rainier Beach, getting outscored in both but seeing what they needed to see.

“Overall, it was exactly what I’d hoped for,” Callaghan said. “We learned a lot.”

South Kitsap faced off against Class 3A Renton in the first quarter and was outscored, 21-9. Renton was a last-minute substitute for Garfield High.

“It was pretty much a hack-fest,” Callaghan said of the Renton matchup. “They had 10 fouls in less than eight minutes. But it was really good for us.”

The second quarter saw Rainier Beach top the Wolves,17-11. Beach boasts of a front line that goes 6-11, 6-9, 6-6 which caused some problems for the smaller Wolves.

“It was awesome for our guys, it was definitely a learning experience for us,” Callaghan said. “I don’t think we’ll play against quicker or bigger teams than that.”

Renton is a top 10-ranked team, while Beach has made two-straight trips to the state championship game.

“We played really well, actually,” Callaghan said. “We did some really nice things. Our free-throw shooting wasn’t real good, but we did some nice things.

“Obviously, there’s a lot of stuff to work on,” Callaghan said. “Transition, No. 1, especially when you’re playing against teams like that. And being strong with the ball. We pounded the boards really well, we didn’t finish very well, but we pounded the boards really well, even against Rainier Beach.”

Callaghan had said these games would be a great test for his young perimeter players to see how they would handle the pressure of playing against good teams, and he liked what he saw from Jamil Moore and Derrick Webb.

“Jamil can play,” Callaghan said. “Webb (who won a 3-point shooting contest before the games, hitting nine of 12 shots) played pretty solid. For some of the guys, it was kind of wide-eyed, which is understandable.”

As expected, there were some things that will require some work.

“Getting into our offense and letting our offense work for us,” Callaghan said. “We got some (fast breaks) but it was hard for us to know when to get into our offense if the break wasn’t there. We would just throw up the first shot that came along.

“We were getting a lot of shots but we weren’t cashing them in,” Callaghan said. “But we were shooting early too. First thing that came along, we’d take. We didn’t shoot the ball real well but we were getting good looks. They actually did a pretty nice job, they took care of the ball pretty well. We just didn’t attack. We were pretty passive (on offense). We need to work on that.”

Callaghan played his starters the first four minutes of each quarter and then worked his entire bench into both games.

“We pretty much have everything in place and now we have a week to review which is going to be huge for our guys,” Callaghan said.

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