Wolves take first in Gig Harbor tourney

If this summer is a fair indicator to what will happen this winter, basketball teams across the state had better watch out.

The South Kitsap boys basketball team officially wrapped up its summer season by winning the Gig Harbor Tournament over the weekend. The tourney capped off a busy but highly successful three weeks for the Wolves.

South won all 14 games it played at the Gonzaga Basketball camp two weeks ago and nearly ran the table again this week in winning at Gig Harbor.

South blew through the double-elimination tournament with double-digit wins over Tahoma, Kentridge and Pasco and then beat Curtis by six to advance to the title game.

Curtis nipped South by two but the Wolves bounced back in the second game to beat Curtis and win the tournament.

And while some teams were without some of their best players — South was without two of its top guns, Tippy Burk and Conner Gehring — Callaghan said Curtis had its full squad.

“It was good,” South coach John Callaghan said. “It was good to play without some of the guys and see other guys step up.”

Burk and Gehring are attending a national basketball camp in California this week, but the Wolves still had plenty to win the tourney.

Callaghan said most of the usual suspects played well, like center Josh Monagle, post Ryan Sweet and L.P. Neloms. But South got some nice play from Evan Atwater and Ty Curry, as well.

“Josh was huge and Ryan played well,” Callaghan said. “Evan shot the ball really well and Ty, he came up huge for us as well.”

And with Burk and Gehring out of the lineup, others had a chance to get some minutes — players like like Dan Nelson and Jared Privatt.

Callaghan said he got what he wanted out of not only the Gig Harbor tournament but the camps as well.

“The younger guys are now on board and playing well,” Callaghan said. “And that’s always good.

“And playing without a couple guys is actually good for us,” Callaghan said. “We got to look at some guys in different spots, so it was good.”

Callaghan is now done with the team, at least for a few weeks. Most of the players will continue to play for the Total Package select team this summer before returning to open gym practices after school starts.

“We’ll get back together in August,” Callaghan said. “We’ll line up a couple of games with some of our alumni, and that’s always a lot of fun.

“But I think it would be good for them to take at least a couple weeks off in August,” Callaghan said. “I want them to have a little fun and enjoy the summer. That way they’re refreshed when we start back up in the fall.”

And hopefully, still playing as well as they have been so far this summer. The team, Callaghan said, seems to be a little farther along than at this point in years past.

“Yeah, I think (we are),” Callaghan said. “And the funny thing is I thought the same thing last year. We’re definitely a little further ahead.

“Not only have we had a nice little run but we got to take a look at a lot of other kids,” Callaghan said. “And I think that’s the biggest bonus. This summer’s been really good, but what impact this summer has on us next season we’ll have to wait and see.”

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