The running of the Wolves

It’s confidence they wanted but it’s recognition they will get.

For the South Kitsap boy’s basketball team will, both will come out of Friday night’s 68-34 Narrows League Bridge Division win over Gig Harbor.

The confidence comes from breaking a 29-29 tie with a 31-0 run that put the game way, way out of reach. The recognition will come in the form of a No. 1 ranking in Class 4A in this week’s Associated Press poll.

And who knows, maybe the Seattle Times and might follow.

“To me, it doesn’t matter,” South’s Jamil Moore said of any mention of the Wolves being ranked No. 1. “We’ll just keep working hard.”

Working hard is what got the Wolves to 16-0 overall and 10-0 in league play and a No. 2 state ranking. The win also ensures South of no worse than fourth place in league play and at least a league cross-over game.

The hard work is also what helped them beat the Tides.

Tied at 29 with four minutes, 32 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Wolves upped their pressure to the full-court kind and outscored Gig Harbor 31-0 over the next ten minutes.

“Our guys, I think when we pressure the ball, good things happen for us,” South coach John Callaghan said. “As soon as the ball pressure happens, that’s when it starts getting fun.”

The defensive pressure caused plenty of turnovers and easy buckets but it also provided a defense that allowed just 12 second-half points. The Tides didn’t score until there was 2:32 left in the game.

By then, it was way over.

“I think our pressure finally picked up a little bit,” Callaghan said. “Our intensity went up and as soon as we got a steal or two, man, it was crazy.”

And it was the usual suspects that did the job for South, once again.

Moore, who continues to prove he is the real backbone of this team, scored 12 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and had five steals while once again shutting down his opponent.

Sophomore point guard Tippy Burk netted 10 points while senior guard Derrick Webb added 12.

But Ryan Sweet, a 6-5 junior who turned in his second-solid outing in a row, led all scorers with 14 points with six rebounds. Sweet scored 10 points earlier last week in a game against Port Angeles.

“He’s just like anybody – the better you play, the more you are going to play,” Callaghan said. “There are some night’s where you are on a role and you’re going to be in there. He’s making the most of his opportunities.”

Sweet, who has become the Wolves’ sixth man as of late, provided even better defensive play, Callaghan said, in his ability to block out and rebound so well.

“I thought I played well but going up against a guy like (Gig Harbor’s Ryan) Christensen, he’s a great player,” Sweet said. “He’s one of those guys that when you fight against a guy like that, it makes you feel real good about your game.”

The Wolves held Christensen, the Tides 6-8 center, to just six points while Michael Fish netted just 10 points.

But it was the change from a half-court defense to a full-court pressure situation that allowed the Wolves to remain the state’s only unbeaten Class 4A team.

“It just seemed like when we went back to the full-court pressure, it was just much better,” Callaghan said. “We got in them and that was nice. It was fun.

“A game like this is going to help us pick up the intensity again,” Callaghan said. “This was a tight game. But it’s going to get tougher – a lot tougher.”

The Wolves will definitely be on the top of every team’s list of schools to beat. The win not only brings a top ranking but it also fuels growing speculation that this team can go through league play unbeaten.

South has four games remaining on its Narrows League schedule, tonight at Bremerton and then at home Friday against North Kitsap. South closes out league play with road games at Olympic and Central Kitsap next week.

“Hopefully something that like will give us more confidence,” Callaghan said. “I don’t think Bremerton is going to care what we are. It’s nice to get that recognition, a little bit, but the teams we play, they don’t care what we are.”

In junior varsity action, South topped the Tides 56-40 to move to 9-4 on the year. Larry Dearth netted 12 for the Wolves while Ty Curry and Garrett Boone added eight each.

The South sophomore team recorded a 74-45 win as Caleb Mortiz scored 13 and Jose Gidican added 10.

South is at Bremerton tonight and plays host to North Kitsap Friday.

South Kitsap 68, Gig Harbor 34

Score by quarters

Gig Harbor 13 9 7 5_34

South Kitsap 11 13 19 25_68

Gig Harbor – Nick Casanova 5, 0-0_5; Mitch Carver 2, 2-2_4; Michael Fish 10, 0-1_10; Mathias Ward 0, 0-0_0; Ryan Christensen 4, 2-5_6; Geoff McIntosh 2, 0-0_0; Alex Langlow 0, 0-0_0; Toney Henderson 3, 1-2_3; Josh Small 2, 0-0_2. Team totals: 29, 5-11_34.

South Kitsap – Conner Gehring 2, 0-0_2; Tippy Burk 4, 6-8_10; Jamil Moore 8, 4-7_12; Derrick Webb 7, 5-6_12; Josh Monagle 2, 0-2_2; Ryan Sweet 10, 4-8_14; LP Neloms 4, 4-7_8; Connor McPherson 4, 0-1_4; Evan Atwater 0, 0-0_0; Joe Pisa 4, 0-0_4; Jacob Yount 0, 0-0_0; Ty Curry 0, 0-0_0. Team totals: 45, 23-39_68.

Rebounds: Moore 10, Webb 7, Sweet 6. Steals: Moore 5. Assists: Burk 3.

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