GIRLS BASKETBALL | South Kitsap suffers overtime setback

YELM — Call it a missed opportunity.

South Kitsap had several chances to secure a playoff spot in the West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament, but squandered an early double-digit lead Tuesday night en route to a 52-46 overtime loss in a Class 4A Narrows League game at Yelm.

“That’s a big loss,” said South coach Mike Hulet, whose team lost 48-45 on Jan. 10 against the Tornados. “They swept us this year and that’s very disappointing.”

And stunning.

The Wolves (11-8 overall, 6-5 league) entered the second quarter with a 16-3 lead after blocking several Yelm shots during the opening period. The Tornados were just 1 of 15 from the field entering the second quarter.

“We played a very good first quarter and we talked about not letting down,” Hulet said. “We struggled to execute. We just weren’t very aggressive offensively. I think we let up a little bit.”

But it was more than that. Hulet also felt his team was outhustled, which translated into several second-chance opportunities for Yelm (9-10, 5-6). When junior wing Leslee Maldonado hit a jumper as time expired, she cut the Tornados’ deficit to 23-18 at halftime.

Yelm later took its first lead of the game, 24-23, when senior guard Karley Lawton was fouled while converting a 3-pointer. She made her free throw to complete the four-point play with 6:39 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter featured three lead changes and two ties, but the Wolves appeared in position to secure the win when junior guard Hayley Romo was fouled while driving to the basket with 43 seconds left and the game tied, 43-all. But the official then said Hulet called for a timeout before the foul and reversed his initial decision.

“I was calling a timeout, but he didn’t blow the whistle and she had already taken it,” Hulet said. “That was disappointing. But the officials tonight were a little disappointing.”

Instead of free throws, the Wolves were forced to inbound the ball. Romo overthrew a teammate on that play.

South had a similar result on an inbounds during its next possession when junior guard Marybeth Bray threw away the pass with 25 seconds remaining.

“We called a timeout, we drew something up and they didn’t execute it,” Hulet said. “We can’t go out and put it in for them as much as we would like to at times.”

The Tornados drained the clock looking for the final shot, but a 3-pointer fell short and sent the game into overtime.

But Yelm would not miss on its next opportunity. Senior wing McKaiela Tyler, who scored a game-high 18 points, scored a layup and Lawton followed with a 3-pointer. That gave the Tornados a 48-43 lead with 3:20 left. It was an advantage Yelm would not relinquish.

“We had our opportunities and couldn’t capitalize,” Hulet said.

Even with the setback, the Wolves still can secure a district berth with a win Thursday night against Stadium (3-16, 0-12). Meanwhile, Yelm requires a win against first-place Bellarmine Prep (16-3, 11-0) and a South loss to earn 4A Narrows’ fourth — and final — playoff spot.

At Yelm 52, South Kitsap 46 (OT)

South Kitsap    16        7          10        10        3          -           46

Yelm                3          15        14        11        9          -           52

South Kitsap-Hayley Romo 7, Alyssa Melendez 2, Marybeth Bray 4, Darian Ambler 1, Brianna Shafer 6, Gabrielle Stewart 14, Kaylee Yergeau 6, Shannon Laupola 2, Hayley O’Dell 4.

Yelm-Karley Lawton 11, Whitney Krause, Jodi Blomdahl 2, Leslee Maldonado 5, Jessilyn Enlow 4, McKaiela Tyler 18, Tayler Finch, Kelsey Alwine 12.

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