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BOYS BASKETBALL | Free-throw woes sink South Kitsap

South Kitsap senior Logan Knowles and his teammates fell just short of pulling out a road win during Wednesday’s 65-62 loss at Olympia. - Jeff Rhodes Photo
South Kitsap senior Logan Knowles and his teammates fell just short of pulling out a road win during Wednesday’s 65-62 loss at Olympia.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes Photo

OLYMPIA — South Kitsap is not even halfway through its league schedule.

But after a 65-62 loss Wednesday night at Olympia, the Wolves know they cannot afford too many more setbacks in a competitive Class 4A Narrows League.

“We’ve dug ourselves a deep hole,” said South senior point guard Ryley Callaghan, who scored a game-high 23 points. “Now we’ve got to play tough and play our way out of it.”

The Wolves (7-3 overall, 1-2 league) helped create that scenario when Olympia went on a 10-0 run to open the second quarter. South did not until senior post Forest Bingham’s layup with 4:20 minutes left in the first half cut its deficit to 27-13.

“We’ve got to play with a sense of urgency at the beginning of the game,” Callaghan said. “We’re better than that. I don’t think any team should be beating us like that.”

Despite their early quarter struggles, the Wolves continuously reduced their deficit as sophomore guard Eric Wattree hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining in the half to cut the Bears’ lead to 32-31 at the intermission.

Olympia (7-4, 1-3) maintained its advantage for most of the second half. But South had an opportunity to change that with 3:34 left in the game when senior wing Caulin Bakalarski was fouled. He split a pair of free throws to cut the Bears’ advantage to 56-55.

Bakalarski then stole the inbounds and Olympia was called for an intentional foul. He again split his free throws to tie the game.

The Wolves also failed to capitalize on the extra possession.

“That was our opportunity there,” South coach John Callaghan said. “That is where we should’ve attacked and gotten to the rack.”

South took a 58-56 lead with 2:48 remaining on a Ryley Callaghan layup, but the Bears responded on their ensuing possession when senior guard Mitch Fettig drove for a lay-in.

Olympia then regained the lead, 61-58, with 1:53 left when senior guard Max Fortier sank an NBA-distance 3-pointer.

The Wolves’ final point — outside of a last-second 3-pointer by Bakalarski — came when Callaghan split a pair of free throws with 45 seconds remaining to reduce the Bears’ lead to 61-59.

“Me missing that free throw at the end was unacceptable,” Callaghan said. “It won’t happen again.”

South converted only 11 of 21 free throws.

“At big times where we had opportunities,” John Callaghan said. “Free throws just killed us.”

The Wolves close out the first half of league play with three more road games. That stretch begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Yelm.

“I don’t think that we’re going to lose another game,” Ryley Callaghan said. “I have confidence in that and I think everyone in that locker room does, too.”

At Olympia 65, South Kitsap 62

South Kitsap    11        20        8          23        -           62

Olympia          17        15        15        18        -           65

South Kitsap-Ryley Callaghan 23, Caulin Bakalarski 16, Logan Knowles 3, MacIntyre McCarty, Travis Delgado, Eric Wattree 7, Xavier Wells 7, Forest Bingham 6, Isaiah Lewis 0.

Olympia-Khalil Matheney 20, Casey Bassett 2, Max Fortier 14, Collin Fortier 0, Mitch Fettig 11, Jaxon Tripp 3, Evan Taylor 3, Trey Friend 7, Nolan Black 0, Ben Bishop 5.

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