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By any means necessary
Two down, two to go and feeling pretty good.
And they should be. After all, the South Kitsap boys basketball team has been through the entire spectrum of emotions in the first two days of the Class 4A state basketball tournament.
There was the high of playing an almost perfect game in Wednesdays opening round, a 64-48 win over Roosevelt, followed by the sheer terror of almost losing to North Kitsap in Thursdays quarterfinal round.
Now there are the expectations of fulfilling the dream of a state title. The Wolves continued their quest late Friday night against Kentwood, the team that beat them last year for the state title.
A win Friday would put South in tonights 9 p.m. championship game. A loss would have the Wolves playing today at 3:30 p.m. for third place.
And a loss looked to be in to books midway through the fourth quarter of Thursdays game with North. Even though South had taken the first two meetings this year, the Vikings had the Wolves on the ropes.
North Kitsap, theyre as good as anyone here, South coach John Callaghan said. The difference in the level of play between the 16th team and the first seeded team in this tournament is a bounce of the ball.
Weve been down quite a few times this year, Callaghan said. And our guys, they keep the faith and they keep playing hard. (If you) keep your composure and keep playing hard, good things are going to happen sooner or later. Weve kind of stuck with that the whole year.
Callaghan found his team down by eight points with less than five minutes left in the game. And with senior defender Jamil Moore on the sidelines having fouled out and his team not shooting well from anywhere on the floor, things looked bleak.
Weve been down a couple of times even worse than that, Callaghan said. And somehow we found a way (to win). I think more than a few people thought we were cooked. Our backs were definitely against the wall and nothing was going our way. We just sucked it up and never lost faith, and we were focused on what we were doing. I couldnt be prouder of our guys.
SK senior Derrick Webb scored 15 of his game-high 27 points in the fourth quarter to single-handedly bring the Wolves back.
We thought we had them rattled a little bit, North coach Aaron Nations said. But they regrouped and they came out and they played.
We didnt finish, Nations said. We went, what, four and half minutes without scoring there? We didnt finish the game and you have to finish against South. If you dont finish against South, theyre going to beat you.
After taking a 38-30 lead with 4:45 remaining, the Vikings scored just three more points the rest of the way, while South ripped off 18. It was a total reversal of the teams second meeting, which SK won by 17 points on Feb. 4.
When you look at it like that, Aaron has done a great job with those guys, Callaghan said. Their performance today, if a couple bounces go their way, they win. They had us on the ropes and they should be really proud of their effort.
Nations, who took the Vikings from 6-14 and dead last in the Narrows League Bridge Division last year to a state berth, was disappointed but proud of what his team has accomplished so far.
I knew the seniors were going to come back and do something special, Nations said. I had a feeling we would finish top four in the league. I had a feeling we might win a game or two in the district tournament but I didnt know if we could make it all the way to state.
(We wanted SK again) and we know the next place we could get them was the state tournament, Nations said. I knew if we were going to have a shot at doing anything winning state or placing high I knew wed have to go through South at some point.
South Kitsap 64, Roosevelt 48
For the Roosevelt Roughriders, the third time was nothing like charming.
Stifled by a relentless defense from the opening tip, Roosevelt failed in its bid to defeat South Kitsap even once this year, falling to the Wolves 64-48 in the opening round of the Class 4A state basketball tournament.
Defensively, offensively, I think were playing well, South coach John Callaghan said. Thats a great team there. Theyre tough. Shoot, our guys just played with confidence, played as hard as they could and I think the biggest thing is we played intelligently.
The Roughriders had blown a pair of fourth quarter leads in the teams first two meetings earlier in the season but never even got that chance Wednesday. After taking a quick 2-0 lead, the Roughriders last held an advantage at 6-4 with 5:37 left in the first quarter.
South would slowly build on that lead, taking it to 15-10 at the end of the first and 28-18 at the half.
Our focal point all week was defense, junior post Josh Monagle said. To win this game, we had to do all the fundamentals, and that definitely started with the defense.
The matchup of the two ranked teams was regarded as one of the opening days best games, but the Wolves pressure defense never allowed that to happen. By pressing most of the game, South held Roosevelt to its second-lowest scoring output of the season topped only by the two teams meeting in January, during which South held the Roughriders to a season-low 45 points.
In particular, it was the job the defense did on Arizona-bound superstar Marcus Williams and shooting guard Chris Chase that sealed the deal. Williams, who had Moore and Conner Gehring in his face the whole game, scored a season-low 10 points, while Chase, who entered the game off of back-to-back 27-point outings, scored just two.
Oh, Jamil. What can you say? How tenacious can you be on defense? Callaghan said. Marcus is as good a player as there is in most of the nation. Everything he got, he earned because Jamil was just Jamil. He took the challenge, didnt back down one inch and that was huge. That was the difference.
Williams, who said after both the early losses that South didnt win either game, seemed to change his opinion this time around.
We were pretty jazzed up for the game, Williams said. I dont know, maybe we just werent hitting shots. I dont know but its a loss.
Williams made just three of 12 field goals and was pulled from the game with four minutes remaining. The senior entered the game averaging 30 points a contest.
I was pretty frustrated, Williams said. Its coming down to my last couple of games and thats not how I really wanted to go out.
In fact, the entire Roughrider team had problems shooting. Roosevelt hit just 18 of 50 shots from the floor, including no 3-pointers. Chase was 1-6 on his own.
Moore and Gehring never left Williams side and had him constantly talking to teammates. And when his outside shot failed him, it only got worse.
I think everyone wanted to step up the pressure, Moore said. (Williams) was more than frustrated. He was trying to take it to the hoop but he couldnt finish stuff. He was real frustrated.
They did a good job, Williams said. We didnt hit the open shot, and other people on our team have to score for us to be successful. I was getting double-teamed, but hey, I guess theyre good at double teams.
Roosevelts David Grant kept the Roughriders somewhat in the game by scoring 22 points while Carlos McArthur added 10.
South, on the other hand, shot a sizzling 54 percent, going 23 of 43 while nailing all 15 free throws it tried.
Were pretty confident right now, senior guard Derrick Webb said. We know we can make a run for it. Coach keeps telling us theres not one team in this tournament that we cant beat. We need to keep that in the back of our minds and keep playing hard every game.
Class 4A state quarterfinal
South Kitsap 48, North Kitsap 41
Score by quarters
South Kitsap 11 10 7 20 48
North Kitsap 10 4 17 10 41
South Kitsap Conner Gehring 3-6, 4-5 10; Tippy Burk 0-5, 0-0 0; Jamil Moore 2-3, 1-4 5; Derrick Webb 10-15, 5-10 27; Josh Monagle 0-1, 1-2 1; Ryan Sweet 1-2, 1-2 3; Connor McPherson 1-1, 0-0 2. Team totals: 17-33, 12-23 48.
North Kitsap Jacob Gonzales 7-14, 3-6 18; Travis Tobin 0-1, 0-1 0; Jordan Henry 2-5, 0-1 4; Ryan Young 2-7, 0-3 4; Jared Prince 2-6, 2-2 6; Chris Zeringer 2-5, 0-0 5; Jeff Ottele 2-2, 0-1 4. Team totals: 17-40, 5-14 41.
Three-pointers: South 2-8 (Gehring 0-2, Burk 0-1, Webb 2-5). North 2-12 (Gonzales 1-4, Zeringer 1-4, Tobin 0-1, Henry 0-3). Rebounds: South 27 (Webb 8, Sweet 6), North 20 (Prince 6, Young 5). Assists: South 3 (Burk 2). North 7 (Henry 4). Steals: South 7 (Burk 3). North 5 (Henry 2). Fouled out: Moore. Techinal fouls: South bench, Moore.
State first round
South Kitsap 64, Roosevelt 48
Score by quarters
Roosevelt 10 8 9 21 48
South Kitsap 15 13 14 22 64
Roosevelt - Amin Tufa 2-4, 0-0 4; Carlos McArthur 5-8, 0-0 10; Marcus Williams 3-12, 4-4 10; Mike Odland 0-3, 0-0 0; David Grant 7-15, 0-1 22; David Aberg 0-2, 0-0 0; Chris Chase 1-6, 0-0 2. Team totals: 18-61, 12-14 48.
South Kitsap Conner Gehring 2-7, 2-2 6; Tippy Burk 0-2, 2-2 2; Jamil Moore 6-10, 0-0 13; Derrick Webb 7-10, 9-9 24; Josh Monagle 6-9, 0-0 12; LP Neloms 2-2, 0-0 5; Ryan Sweet 0-1, 0-0 0; Connor McPherson 0-2, 0-0 0; Evan Atwater 0-0, 0-0 0; Jake Yount 0-0, 2-2 2; Joe Pisa 0-0, 0-0 0; Ty Curry 0-0, 0-0 0. Team totals: 23-43, 15-15 64.
Three-pointers: Roosevelt 0-11 (Tufa 0-1, Aberg 0-1, Grant 0-1, Williams 0-3, Chase 0-5); South Kitsap 3-9 (Neloms 1-1, Gehring 0-2, Burk 0-1, Moore 1-2, Webb 1-3. Rebounds: Roosevelt 27 (Grant 9, Williams 6), South Kitsap 25 (McPherson 4, Webb 4). Assists: Roosevelt 9 (Williams 3), South Kitsap 8 (Webb 4). Steals: Roosevelt 6 (Chase 2), South Kitsap 11 ( Webb 2, Burk 2, Gehring 2, Moore 2)..