South wins rematch with Kentwood, 61-52

For a while, the big rematch was looking more like a big mismatch.

Top-ranked and undefeated South Kitsap jumped out to a 34-14 lead over Kentwood and then fought off a late rally before coming away with a 61-52 win Wednesday night in the semifinals of the West/Central District Tournament at Puyallup High.

The win puts the Wolves, now 24-0, in Saturday’s finals against Bethel High, a 54-48 winner over Evergreen, at 8 p.m. The winner enters the state tournament as the district’s No. 1 seed.

South handed Bethel, 23-2, its only two losses last year, one coming at districts and the second one at the state tournament.

South came out strong Wednesday, playing a physical game that led to a quick 21-6 lead. Kentwood was cold from the floor in the first half and trailed by 20 at the break.

Derrick Webb led the South offense with a team-high 19 points while Josh Monagle netted 13. Jamil Moore added 11 while Tippy Burk scored nine.

The Wolves upped the lead to 24 before the Conquerors got a hot shooting hand.

“The first half, that was probably our best defensive effort all year,” South coach John Callaghan said. “They started hitting some shots in the second half, like we knew they would.”

Blake Solomon, who had scored just two points in the first half, went off for 20 over the final 16 minutes that included six 3-pointers. South led by 17 entering the fourth period but Kentwood cut the lead to 12 with 2:26 remaining.

“We just got off to a pretty poor start,” Kentwood coach Dean Montzingo said. “We got in a hole early and it kind of snowballed on us. It was pretty hard to recover from.”

The Conquerors trimmed it to just 11 with a minute left and scored two late buckets to get the final down to nine points.

Kentwood, 20-5, will face Evergreen in the consolation finals Saturday at 4 p.m. to decide the district’s No. 2 and No. 3 seeds for the March 9-12 state tournament at the Tacoma Dome.

South Kitsap 61, Kentwood 54

Score by quarters

Kentwood 6 8 21 17_54

South Kitsap 21 13 18 9_61

Kentwood Blake Solomon 22, 0-0_22; Jared Leopold 0, 0-0_0; Aaron Boyce 8, 2-3_10; Toussaint Tyler 6, 1-3_7; Matt Mgebroff 6, 0-0_6; Sean Rock 0, 0-0_0; Cody Thueringer 4, 0-0_4; Curron Singleton 0, 0-0_0; Austin Boyce 2, 0-0_2; Mark Aurich 0, 1-2_1. Team totals: 48, 4-8_52.

South Kitsap – Conner Gehring 5, 1-2_6; Tippy Burk 9, 0-0_9; Josh Monagle 10, 3-6_13; Jamil Moore 11, 0-0_11; Derrick Webb 14, 5-5_19; Connor McPherson 0, 1-2_1; Ryan Sweet 2, 0-0_2; LP Neloms 0, 0-0_0. Team totals: 51, 10-10-15_61.

Three pointers: Solomon 6, Burk, Moore.

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