Wolves' promise shines through mistakes

First games are just that - first games. That much was evident Wednesday night as the South Kitsap boys basketball team opened its 2004-2005 season with a 47-36 win over Wilson.

There were mistakes, some sloppy play and plenty of missed shots, but there was also the first glimpse of just how good this team could be.

"You can see the potential," SK coach John Callaghan said. "We're young, but these guys can play. We just need to get used to each other — team chemistry is huge, and it always has been."

The youngsters led the way Wednesday night as junior Conner Gehring scored a team-high 12 points and Josh Monagle, a junior transfer from Alaska, netted 10.

"I knew I had to step it up since I'm a junior now," Gehring said. "Plus with Derrick (Webb) being hurt, I just needed to step up and play."

Webb, a starting guard for the Wolves, tweaked an ankle earlier in the day during a shoot around and sat out as a precaution. That opened the door for Gehring and Monagle to pick up the scoring.

"I was nervous coming out - my stomach didn't feel too good," Monagle said. "But once I got in, in the first few minutes, my adrenaline and my experience took over and I played like I knew how I could."

Gehring scored all 12 of his points in the second half in a variety of ways as he had a pair of breakaway dunks and also nailed a 3-pointer. Monagle, playing in the post, scored his points inside and also had seven rebounds.

"Conner, obviously, he's a talent," Callaghan said. "He can play and he's all over the place. He had a good game. Josh also played well. He's a load and he plays great post defense. He's got some serious potential and we just barely scratched that tonight."

With a starting lineup that featured two juniors and two sophomores, LP Neloms and Tippy Burk, the Wolves looked at times like a team playing its first game.

"It was the first game of the year, so we made some mental mistakes like we're going to," Monagle said. "We got all the jitterbugs out and hopefully, we'll just progress from here."

Both teams started slow as Wilson held a 7-6 lead after the first quarter, but the paced picked up in the second as South held a 24-19 halftime lead.

The Rams, behind a game-high 16 points from Shedrick Nelson, could never get any closer. South got 11 points from junior Evan Atwater, who hit three 3-pointers.

"I wouldn't say we looked real good," Callaghan said. "But as far as a first game, we played real hard. But, obviously, we have some work to do."

The South junior varsity and C teams completed the sweep over Wilson by winning their games. Larry Dearth scored 13 while Dan Nelson added nine as the South Kitsap boys junior varsity team opened its season with a 40-30 win over Wilson.

In sophomore action, the Wolves posted a 55-52 win as Jon Ecklund hit three 3-points on his way to 15 points while Caleb Mortiz netted 11 and Sam Higgins added nine.

Wolves faced Mount Tahoma late Friday night and open Narrows League Bridge Division play Wednesday at home against Shelton.

South Kitsap 47, Wilson 36

Score by quarters

Wilson 7 12 7 10_36

South Kitsap 6 18 11 12_47

Wilson - Andrew Pudists, Dan Pratt 3, Shedrick Nelson 16, Nick Stowe 2, Randy Johnson, Jordan Marez 4, Josh Jones 9, Kevin Proctor 2, Oscar Fernandez, Chester Ingram, Isiah Dawkins.

South Kitsap - Conner Gehring 12, Tippy Burk 4, Jamil Moore 6, Josh Monagle 10, LP Neloms, Jacob Yount, Ryan Sweet 4, Even Atwater 11, Joe Pisa, Ty Curry, Dan Nelson.

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