Wolves get defensive in offensive explosion

After Wednesday night’s Narrows League Bridge Division opener, South Kitsap coach John Callaghan said he likes the improvement he’s seen so far with the team’s defense.

And would like to see that continue.

If it does, the rest of the league had better look out.

The Wolves, playing at full strength for the first time all year, put on a clinic at home Wednesday, holding Shelton to just 10 first-half points en route to a lopsided 77-40 victory and a quick start to the 2004-2005 league season.

“Our defense was much improved from last week (a 62-60 win against Mount Tahoma),” Callaghan said, “which was much improved from last Wednesday (a 47-36 win against Wilson). So if we can continue to improve defensively, that just kind of ignites our offense. We’ve got guys that can put it in the hoop.”

That much is true, and the Wolves’ defense made sure its offense would have no problems on this night. South, with guard Derrick Webb seeing his first action of the year after hurting an ankle last week, jumped out quickly and led 27-4 after the first eight minutes.

Webb scored the game’s first three points and said it was nice to be back on the floor.

“It felt good,” Webb said of his five-point performance. “We have a good team and everyone is just working hard. It’s good to be back.”

South, now 3-0 overall and 1-0 in league play, upped its lead to 41-10 at halftime behind a strong game from two of it new faces, Tippy Burk and Josh Monagle.

Burk, playing point this year, tallied 12 points and had seven steals and seven assists. Monagle, a transfer from Alaska, was tough inside and ended with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

“I’m just finally getting into the flow of the offense,” Burk said. “I’m understanding what coach wants out of it. That makes it a little easier now that we’ve got a couple of games under us.”

What is amazing is that Burk has seemed to pick everything up so quickly and is not only playing well himself, but running the whole show from the point.

“What you forget is that he is a sophomore,” Callaghan said of Burk. “But he hasn’t played like a sophomore from day one. He’s confident, he’s tough and he can play. He’s going to pose some problems for people down the road.”

With the South bench seeing plenty of action, Connor McPherson saw his most playing time so far while he recovers from a knee injury, Shelton played the Wolves even in the second half but never came close to pulling an upset, as it did last year to open league play.

“For those of us who were there last year (a 51-47 loss), it was kind of like a revenge thing for us,” Webb said. “We know they beat us the first time last year, so we wanted to come out and let them know who we are this year.”

Getting off to a get start was important Burk said. He added the team had been talking about that from game one, and the Shelton game was the first time they accomplished their goal.

And while the team faltered a bit at the free-throw line, it was the play of the defense that keyed the whole thing.

“They got after it defensively,” Callaghan said. “And it just kind of snowballed from there I think. If we can continue to improve defensively and play hard every day in practice, we should get better.”

In junior varsity action, the Wolves moved to 2-1 on the year with a 54-33 win over Shelton. Dan Nelson led the way with 12 points while Ty Curry had 10. The South C team dropped a close one, 45-42, to fall to 2-1 on the year.

Griffin Powell and Jon Ecklund led the Wolves with 10 each.

The Wolves traveled to Port Angeles late Friday night and will take the next week off before taking part in the Oh Boy! Oberto Christmas Classic Dec. 28-30. The first two games will be Bothell High School with the third at the Bank Of America Arena on the campus of the University of Washington.

South Kitsap 77, Shelton 40

Score by quarters

Shelton 4 6 13 17 — 40

South Kitsap 27 14 16 20 — 77

Shelton – Bo Tinaza 12, Isaiah Taito 8, Andrew Boykin 6, Rory Cavaille 6, Jeff Philpott 4, Curtis Trondsen 2, Jay Yungmayer 2.

South Kitsap – Conner Gehring 5, Tippy Burk 12, Jamil Moore 7, Derrick Webb 5, Josh Monagle 15, Ryan Sweet 6, Connor McPherson 6, Evan Atwater 8, LP Neloms 4, Jake Yount 2, Joe Pisa 7.

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