Sports

Central Valley shoots down South Kitsap

Time after time after time this week, everything seemed to fall in South Kitsap's favor.

The third-ranked Wolves started off the Class 4A state championship week by getting the best draw possible in the boy's basketball tournament at the Tacoma Dome. Then the team's that most thought would give South problems began losing. First it was Inglemoor, then Gig Harbor and finally, on Friday night, top-ranked Curtis fell.

The perfect scenario was in place except for one minor detail - South didn't take care of its end of deal.

Unranked and unheralded Central Valley of Spokane pulled off the biggest upset of the week Friday night, overcoming a nine-point halftime deficit with a 40-21 second-half run that ended South Kitsap’s quest for a title, 58-48.

“We came out and over looked them, we thought it would be a cakewalk,” senior post Josh Monagle said. “We came too far to lose this game. I’m at a loss for words right now.”

South, now 26-2, will play Curtis at 3:30 p.m. today to decide third and sixth place while the Bears, 22-6, face off with Franklin at 7 p.m. in the championship contest.

The loss marked the second-straight year South Kitsap was beaten in the semifinal round. Two years ago, the Wolves advanced to the title game where they lost to Kentwood.

Entering Friday's semifinal with Central Valley, South couldn't have been in a better position.

Curtis, despite a record-setting 51 points from its superstar guard Isaiah Thomas, was bounced moments earlier in a fantastic high-school game that was sure to leave Franklin with some tired legs and emotionally drained having to overcome an 18-point second-half deficit to win 80-76.

If South could get an early lead and follow its defense, which was outstanding for most of the first three games, a title showdown with the Quakers seemed imminent. And South had seemed to put itself in position for its first state title since 1950 by jumping out to a 27-18 halftime lead.

But then everything started coming a part.

The Bears consistently denied South’s big guys the ball inside while employing a simple man-to-man spread that gave the taller, bigger Wolves fits.

“They were just the tougher team,” South coach John Callaghan said. “They were more aggressive … we were not doing any of the stuff that we did to get here, which is just disappointing. They were the tougher team. I thought we were soft – we definitely got out-toughed.”

The Bears packed in the paint to fend off the inside play of Monagle and Ryan Sweet, forcing South to beat them from the outside. It wasn’t like the Wolves shot poorly from outside, they ended the game hitting 21 of 49 shots for a 43 percent clip, it was more a fact that they just didn’t try to shoot from the outside.

And Central Valley did, and did it very well.

Behind the slick shooting of Kevin Cameron, Luke Clift and Matt Morgan, the Bears just never seemed to miss a shot and outscored South Kitsap 40-21 over the final 16 minutes.

The Bears hit 50 percent of their second-half field goals, including five of six three-pointers and drained 15 of 19 free throws during that span.

Central Valley nailed 13 of 17 free throws in the fourth quarter alone to ice away the game.

Clift paced the Bears with 18 points while Morgan netted 13 and Cameron 10. Conner Gehring led the Wolves with 13 points while Tippy Burk and L.P. Neloms added 10 each. Monagle ended with nine points and nine rebounds.

“They got it done and we didn’t,” a clearly upset but composed Monagle said. “When we give a team effort, we’re tough to beat. These last couple of games, the state games, we just wanted to show off our skills. Each individual player just wanted to show off what they can do and that didn’t get it done. (Central Valley) came out and played good team ball and kicked our ass.”

South must now try to rebound and get ready for its second meeting with Curtis and the high-scoring Thomas in less than two weeks. The Wolves beat the Vikings 79-64 on Feb. 25, holding Thomas to just 23 points.

The 5-8 guard broke the state's single-game scoring record against Franklin, besting the 1955 mark of 48 points scored by Walla Walla's Bob Beckel. His first point in today's consolation game will break the record he now shares with Jeff Brown and Adam Morrison, both from Mead, for total points in a single tournament. Brown scored his 127 points in 1989 while Morrison got his in 2003. Thomas tied their mark in just three games.

South, which will be taking home a trophy for the sixth-consecutive year, finished sixth last year after losing to Kentwood in the semifinals and then Montlake Terrace the next day.

Central Valley 58, South Kitsap 48

Score by quarters

Central Valley 13 5 20 20 – 58

South Kitsap 12 15 4 17 – 48

Central Valley – Kevin Cameron 3-7, 3-4 – 10; Luke Clift 6-10, 4-4 – 18; Nick Ambrose 1-7, 2-2 – 4; Brad Johnson 2-5, 0-2 – 5; Brad Dieter1-4, 2-2 – 5; Chris Burdick 1-4, 1-1 – 3; Connor Janhunen 0-0, 0-0 – 0; Matt Morgan 3-4, 6-7 – 13. Team totals: 17-41, 18-22 – 58.

South Kitsap – Conner Gehring 6-10, 0-1 – 13; Tippy Burk 5-11, 0-0 – 10; L.P. Neloms 4-10, 0-0 – 10; Josh Monagle 4-5, 1-2 – 9; Ryan Sweet 0-2, 2-2 – 2; Tysaiah Curry 1-5, 0-0 – 2; Evan Atwater 0-4, 0-0 – 0; Dan Nelson 0-0, 0-0 – 0; Joe Pisa 1-2, 0-0 – 2. Team totals: 21-49, 3-5 – 48.

Three-point field goals: Central Valley 6-10 (Cameron 1-3, Clift 2-2, Johnson 1-2, Dieter 1-2, Morgan 1-1), South Kitsap 3-12 (Gehring 1-2, Burk 0-3, Neloms 2-4, Atwater 0-3). Rebounds: Central Valley 26 (Ambrose 6), South Kitsap 28 (Monagle 9). Assists: Central Valley 7 (Ambrose 3), South Kitsap 7 (Burk 2, Neloms ). Turnovers: Central Valley 14 (Cameron 4), South Kitsap 19 (Neloms 5). Steals: Central Valley 9 (Clift 5), South Kitsap 3 (Burk 2). Total fouls: Central Valley 13, South Kitsap 19. Fouled out: none.

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