BOYS BASKETBALL | Callaghan shoots Wolves past Bellarmine Prep

One moment he was displaying his NBA-style 3-point range. The next, he was penetrating a blur of defenders en route to a layup.

Bellarmine Prep could not find a way to slow senior guard Ryley Callaghan, who scored 16 of his game-high 27 points during the first quarter to lead South Kitsap to a 66-56 win Wednesday night in Class 4A Narrows League play.

“It definitely was exciting,” Callaghan said. “I haven’t been shooting too well, so I stayed late in the gym. I told everyone that I finally found my shot. Once I hit one or two, the bucket was just expanding as big as the ocean.”

Callaghan converted 10 of 14 field goals, including 4 of 6 3-pointers, and it appeared he could threaten the school record for most points in a game.

Coach John Callaghan said he believed Jim Savage set that mark with 36 points in a contest during the 1970s.

“It was good for us to get out to a good start,” said Callaghan, whose team took a 19-11 lead into the second quarter. “Bellarmine’s a good team.”

Ryley Callaghan had 20 points in the first half as the Wolves took a 32-21 advantage into the intermission. But his production slowed during the final 16 minutes as the Lions placed a greater emphasis on containing Callaghan.

That strategy coupled with strong shooting — guards Alec Foege and Malachi Flynn hit consecutive 3-pointers midway through the third quarter — helped Bellarmine reduce its deficit to 34-32. John Callaghan said he felt South (5-0 overall, 1-0 league) just stuck with its zone defense for “one or two possessions too long.”

“We played man really well,” he said. “That was the difference, I think.”

He also had no illusions that his team was going to rout the Lions (1-4, 0-2).

“You knew it was going to happen,” said Callaghan, referring to Bellarmine’s third-quarter run. “You’ve just got to try and minimize theirs and extend ours. They’re a good team. They’re not going to just take it and walk away.”

The Wolves just took it from them. Sophomore guard Eric Wattree made a 3-pointer with 1:34 left in the third period to extend his team’s lead to 44-36. Wattree finished with 12 points, while senior wing Caulin Bakalarski added 15 points.

“That’s what makes us tough,” Ryley Callaghan said. “We’ve got guys on the bench who can hit shots. If they’re taking one of us away, another one is going to thrive.”

Bakalarski effectively ended any Lions comeback hopes when he hit a 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining in the game to extend South’s lead to 60-47.

The 10-point victory was the closest win of the season for the Wolves, who won their first four games by an average of 32.5 points. John Callaghan felt it was a good experience for his team to play a competitive game.

“It exposes a lot of things when you play good teams,” he said.

And what were some issues Bellarmine showcased?

“Definitely rebounding,” Callaghan said. “We need to do a better job making contact going after the ball. Just a little tougher.”

That last line also could apply to South’s next opponent at 7 p.m. Friday. Stadium (5-2, 3-0) is considered one of the favorites to win 4A Narrows.

“Stadium will be tough,” Callaghan said. “It’s the Narrows League, man. There’s no pushovers this year.”

At South Kitsap 66, Bellarmine Prep 56

Bellarmine Prep           11        10        20        15        —        56

South Kitsap               19        13        15        19        —        66

Bellarmine Prep-Malachi Flynn 13, Mar’kese Jackson 21, Alec Foege 4, Drew Griffin , Garrett McKay , Carson Hollyoak 11, Will Wolf 5, Dan Joyce 2.

South Kitsap-Nicholas Dohoda , Ryley Callaghan 27, Caulin Bakalarski 15, Logan Knowles 3, MacIntyre McCarty , Eric Wattree 12, Xavier Wells , Forest Bingham 5, Isaiah Lewis 4.

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