Wolves finish regular season prefect

For the South Kitsap boys’ basketball team, Friday night provided just what they needed.

There was a tough opponent, a hostile environment, a packed house and a playoff-type atmosphere.

Oh yeah, and the prospect at a perfect regular season on the line.

With chants of “Undefeated, Undefeated” filling the Central Kitsap gym, the Wolves quickly turned a well-played, tight game into a blowout and ran away from the Cougars 77-59 to complete the regular unbeaten.

“That was a lot of fun,” senior guard Derrick Webb said. “These type of games, that’s what we live for. We all love that. We like the challenge.” 

The top-ranked Wolves moved to 20-0 with the win and finished Narrows League Bridge Division play at 14-0. Many believe this could be the first-ever undefeated regular season in the history of Kitsap County basketball.

“That’s great, but it just goes so fast,” South Coach John Callaghan said. “You get caught up in the next game, the next game. When it’s over, we can sit back and be able to enjoy it, but right now we have to move on to the next game.”

South Kitsap will play Foss, winners of the Narrows League Bay Division, Friday in Bremerton. The winner of that game will enter the West Central District tournament as the Narrows League No. 1 seed; the loser goes in as No. 2.

Foss finished the regular season at 18-2 and 13-1.

“It was a good game going into the post-season,” sophomore guard Tippy Burk said. “Because in the post season, there aren’t going to be any easy games. This was a good one for us to win.”

And it wasn't an easy one, which will help the Wolves in the long run.

A well-played first half ended with the teams tied at 36 at halftime. But South broke the game open with a 17-3 run to begin the third quarter and led 61-46 entering the game's final period.

“We’re a decent team – we’re not as deep,” Central coach Tim Fryer said. “So I think we ran out of gas and that run right away in the third got us. And it was pretty much over right away.”

But the key was the pressure South applied to Central, which led to a dominating performance under the goal. The Wolves outrebounded Central by a 2-1 margin, especially on the offensive glass.

“They got second and third attempts on us,” Fryer said. “They controlled the boards. They are a really good team, there’s no question.”

Pressure is exactly what Callaghan wanted after the Cougars jumped out to a quick first quarter lead. But the Wolves chipped away and managed a tie at the break.

“Pressure was the big thing for us,” Burk said. “We talked about that in the locker room at halftime. We came out and did it, and that’s about it. And we started hitting some shots from the outside. That helped a lot, too.”

Webb paced the Wolves with 20 points, while Conner Gehring and Josh Monagle netted 14 each and Jamil Moore added 12. Neil Fryer led the Cougars with a game-high 23 points while Trent Bearbower added 15.

With the regular season complete, the Wolves’ attention turns toward the playoffs and a possible run at a fifth-straight berth in the Class 4A state tournament.

“Some people think we need a loss (before the playoffs),” Webb said. “I don’t feel that way. I think we’re rolling right now, and I think we’re going to do well in the playoffs.”

The playoffs officially begin Feb. 24 as South will play host to a first-round game with a yet-to-be-determined team from the South Puget Sound League.

“I’m proud of every one of these guys,” Callaghan said. “We’ll enjoy this one for a little while and then get back to work.”

The South junior varsity closed out its season with a 49-47 win. Jared Privatt scored 16 while Dan Nelson added 12. The Wolves finished the season 14-4.

Mount Tahoma knocked off the SK sophomore team 59-43. Jose Gidican scored 11 for South while Jon Ecklund netted 10. The sophs ended the year with four-straight losses to finish 6-9.

South Kitsap 77, Central Kitsap 59

Score by quarters

South Kitsap 17 19 25 16 — 77

Central Kitsap 22 14 10 13 — 59

South Kitsap - Conner Gehring 14, Tippy Burk 8, Jamil Moore 12, Derrick Webb 20, Josh Monagle 14, Ryan Sweet 5, Connor McPherson 2, Joe Pisa 2.

Central Kitsap - Trent Bearbower 15, JR Gordon 7, Neil Fryer 23, Glenn Perkins 6, Alex Arena 6, Austin Nebeker 2.

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