GIRLS BASKETBALL | Sumner’s post presence too much for Wolves

South Kitsap junior Hayley Romo and her teammates will look to rebound from their 54-36 loss Monday night at Sumner when they return to Class 4A Narrows League play tonight against Central Kitsap. - Photo by Jeff Rhodes
South Kitsap junior Hayley Romo and her teammates will look to rebound from their 54-36 loss Monday night at Sumner when they return to Class 4A Narrows League play tonight against Central Kitsap.
— image credit: Photo by Jeff Rhodes

SUMNER — She tried to match Sumner’s post presence through midrange jumpers.

South Kitsap senior guard Gabrielle Stewart mostly was successful in that regard, but it was not enough as the Wolves lost 54-36 in a nonleague contest Monday night at Sumner.

While Stewart scored 19 points, the Spartans’ inside-outside combination of Jamie Lange and Anna Hurd was too much to handle. The 6-foot-1 Lange scored 16 of her game-high 22 points to lead Sumner to a 30-21 halftime lead.

“They really worked us over inside,” South coach Mike Hulet said. “[Lange] really did a nice job. She was a load. We really didn’t have an answer for her.”

When the Wolves (5-4) focused more attention on Lange, they were hurt by Hurd. She scored 13 of her 19 points during the second half.

Despite its difficulty containing those players — and 18 turnovers during the first half — South reduced its deficit to as few as nine points on several occasions. Much of that can be attributed to Stewart, but a jammed finger on her right hand forced her from the game with three minutes remaining.

For the Wolves, who already were missing their leading scorer from last season, senior forward Hayley O’Dell was sidelined with the flu, it was too much to overcome. Freshman Joy Mahnken hit a 3-pointer with 1:48 remaining that extended the Spartans’ lead to 48-36 and effectively ended any South comeback hopes.

“I feel like if I’m already hurt and I can’t get my shot off … that’s not going to help my team,” Stewart said.

Stewart was the only Wolves’ player who scored in double figures.

“She played a really strong game on both ends of the floor,” Hulet said. “We need that senior leadership from her. People need to see that, step up to that and give her some help.”

That extends beyond scoring. South finished with 26 turnovers, which makes it difficult to beat anyone let alone Sumner (8-1), which competes in the Class 2A South Puget Sound League.

“We get these slow starts and we have to work our tails off to get back into it,” Hulet said.

He attributed some of that to an illness circulating through the team. Along with O’Dell, junior guard Marybeth Bray, who usually starts, played in a limited role.

“We’ve had a lot of illness going through our team,” Hulet said. “That’s not an excuse. [Sumner] played us well and they’re a nice team.”

The Wolves hope to enter their next game at 7 p.m. Friday against Central Kitsap at full strength. Hulet said he expects sophomore guard Libby Borgonia, who has not played since she suffered a severe concussion in the team’s Dec. 3 season-opening loss against Renton, to play in that game.

“Libby is projected to come back for CK,” he said. “We’re excited to have her back. She definitely can give us some minutes and help us with pressure.”

South enters that contest with a two-game losing streak following its 59-47 setback Friday at River Ridge. The Hawks have advanced to the state tournament in each of the last 10 seasons and have won three state titles during that span. Hulet believes that game — and, in particular, the contest against the Spartans — will prepare his team well as it returns to 4A Narrows League play.

“That’s why we scheduled these guys,” he said. “We knew they would give us a challenge. It was a pretty physical game.”

At Sumner 54, South Kitsap 36

South Kitsap    10        11        6          9          —        36

Sumner           17        13        11        13        —        54

South Kitsap-Hayley Romo 2, Alyssa Melendez, Marybeth Bray 6, Alona Lund, Hailey Parker, Brianna Shafer 6, Gabrielle Stewart 19, Kaylee Yergeau 3, Shannon Laupola 0.

Sumner-Anna Hurd 19, Alex Denzinger 2, Jay Mahnken 8, Nicole Qualls 3, Jessica Stockdale-Pederson, Jamie Lange 22, Madison Coates, Madi Henken.

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