BOYS BASKETBALL | Wolves stun Stadium to earn playoff berth

TACOMA — There were a couple of factors that seemed to conspire against South Kitsap.

The Wolves not only had to win on the road against the first-place team in Class 4A Narrows, but they also had to accomplish it on Thursday night as Stadium honored its senior class.

But neither seemed to work against South as it never trailed during a 63-46 win that secured a playoff berth in next week’s West Central/Southwest Bi-District Tournament.

The Wolves, who entered the game facing the prospect of missing the playoffs, could even host a district game if they finish in second place. South (14-6 overall, 7-5 league) will play a tiebreaker game Saturday at a to-be determined location against Bellarmine Prep (11-9, 7-5) to determine which team finishes second. The schools split their regular-season meetings.

“I think our leaders really started stepping up,” South coach John Callaghan said. “We have to play with a sense of urgency. Now with our season on the line — how good do we want to be? To the kids’ credit, they stepped up and played aggressive.”

The Wolves took an 11-2 lead to start the game and took a 32-18 advantage into halftime. Callaghan said that was significant because he felt it set the tone for the second half.

The Tigers (13-6, 9-3) struggled to reduce their deficit during the second half as seniors Ryley Callaghan and Caulin Bakalarski continued to hit shots. Bakalarski’s 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the third quarter extended South’s lead to 51-33. The duo combined for 51 points.

“When we’re both on it’s pretty dangerous,” Ryley Callaghan said.

About the only negative for South occurred a couple of minutes into the game when senior post Forest Bingham went down with a left ankle injury. Bingham did not return and John Callaghan was not certain about the severity of his injury.

“Hopefully Forrest is OK,” Callaghan said. “I’m just hopeful that he’s ready to go for the playoffs.”

Without the 6-foot-3 Bingham, the Wolves do not have much size in the post outside of 6-6 sophomore Isaiah Lewis. In Bingham’s absence, Callaghan used a smaller lineup with 6-2 Logan Knowles in the post. Callaghan said his team was able to exploit matchups when he rotated Lewis and Knowles.

Whatever the combination, Callaghan likes how his team is performing.

“Our guys played really well,” he said. “They played smart and are starting to play really well together. We are definitely playing better than we have all season without a doubt.”

If the Wolves win their fifth consecutive game Saturday, they will open districts at 7 p.m. Thursday against 4A South Puget Sound League’s No. 7. Otherwise, they will travel at that time to play the SPSL’s fourth seed.

“Obviously, we would love to play at home with our crowd,” Callaghan said. “They’re awesome. That’s a big advantage for us.”

South Kitsap 63, at Stadium 46

South Kitsap    16        16        19        12        -           63

Stadium           9          9          15        13        -           46

South Kitsap-Ryley Callaghan 26, Caulin Bakalarski 25, Logan Knowles 2, MacIntyre McCarty, Teran Mackey, Travis Delgado, Eric Wattree 8, Aaron Scott, Xavier Wells, Forest Bingham, Isaiah Lewis 2.

Stadium-Mark Galanesi 5, Blake Budzisz 3, Eric Tuttle, Ben Cottrill 4, JJ Macklin 3, Jordan O’Connor, Robert Berovich, Bobby Moorehead 15, Malik Mayeux 7, Blake Wilcox 3, Lucious Brown 6.

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