Second-half swoon sinks SK in Tides

While confidence can often help a team win, over-confidence can get one killed. The South Kitsap girls’ basketball team found that out the hard way Wednesday night.

After jumping out to a commanding 29-13 halftime lead, the Wolves fell flat on their collective faces, committing turnover after turnover to help Gig Harbor outscored them 39-16 over the final 16 minutes and skip out of town with an improbable 52-45 Narrows League Bridge Division win.

“That was amazing. I’m going to start crying,” Gig Harbor coach Bob Boback said. “We didn’t play like we can play in the first half. At halftime I told the girls, ‘On defense, be intense. On offense, relax.’ And we were doing the opposite.”

Opposite would be the key word for the game, as in the Wolves did exactly the opposite of what helped them build what was at one point a 19-point first-half lead.

“Coming out flat and not having the heart to come out and play with the same energy you started with” was the difference, South coach Mike Allen said. “Thinking you’ve got it in hand so you are going to just walk through, just plain and simple.”

Nikki Scott led the Tides with 18 points, 16 coming in the second half. Elizabeth Betterbed and Holly Rubert netted 13 each to help Gig Harbor beat South in Port Orchard for just the second time in the last eight years.

“Our girls worked so hard,” Boback said. “But in the first half, South Kitsap outworked us, I thought. We talked about coming out and giving it everything we had and the girls did.”

But South didn’t, at least not the second half, Allen said.

“How many times did we turn the ball over?” he asked. “I don’t even know, it must have been in the high 20s in the second half. It was ridiculous. We looked as good as we can look in the first half and as bad as we can look in the second half. It was just a tale of two teams.”

South played like a team ready to take the next step toward a league title in the first half by dominating every aspect of the game. The Wolves held Gig Harbor without a point for the first four minutes of the game and were up 13-4 after the first period.

They extended that lead to 31-16 at the break but after a lengthy conference with the game’s two referees, the score was changed to 29-13.

“So we gained a point there,” Allen said. “That was probably the best thing to happen to us in the second half.”

That much was true, as Gig Harbor outscored South 17-5 in the third quarter as Allen had most of his starting five on the bench because of wither foul trouble or just bad play. The Wolves’ four-point lead quickly disappeared as the Tides hit 10 of 13 free throws in final frame to ensure the win.

Schelsey Zimmerman had her best game of the year for South, hitting five 3-pointers on her way to a team-high 16 points. Megan Gilbert continued her strong start with 15 points.

The Wolves faced a tough 7-2, 2-1 Bremerton team on Friday night and have games against Bainbridge, a non-league opponent, North Kitsap and Olympic next week.

All of that should come on the heels of an attitude adjustment after Wednesday’s game.

“I don’t know what their attitude is,” Allen said. “Their attitude was fear (Wednesday night), because that’s what got them into this. They got afraid. They started losing some points and they got afraid and they quit playing. They were afraid to step up and be victorious. Instead, they wilted.”

Gig Harbor 52, South Kitsap 45

Score by quarters

Gig Harbor 4 9 17 22_52

South Kitsap 13 16 5 11_45

Gig Harbor – Nikki Scott 18, Elizabeth Betterbed 13, Erin Hacker 2, Rebecca Sexton 4, Holly Rubert 13, Ashleigh Abhold 2.

South Kitsap - Schelsey Zimmerman 16, Sierra Vinson 4, Morgan Wiggin 6, Megan Gilbert 15, Kristen Emel 4.

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