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BOYS BASKETBALL | Hot-shooting Bullpups too much for South Kitsap
By GREG LEE
For The Independent
SPOKANE — It wasn't the end South Kitsap coach John Callaghan envisioned.
Especially with the late-season run the Wolves had to advance to the 4A Regionals.
South ran into a team that played arguably its best offensive game of the season to go with a tenacious defensive effort.
Gonzaga Prep clamped down and didn't miss many shots as the Bullpups rolled past the Wolves 87-69 Saturday at Central Valley High School.
"A month in a half ago we had lost to our rival at home, we were 3-5 in league and people left us for dead," Callaghan said. "We played loser-out games for a month and a half now."
The teams played evenly in the first quarter with G-Prep emerging with a 17-16 lead.
The second quarter, which started with an 11-2 surge by the Bullpups, put South into a 43-28 halftime hole it couldn't dig out of.
"That was a tough one," Callaghan said. "They played tough defense and they (the referees) let them beat us up pretty good. That's to their (the Bullpups) credit. I don't think we adjusted very well to the officiating and obviously they did."
Compounding matters was the Bullpups found plenty of holes in the Wolves' zone defense — especially in the first half. More like it was G-Prep shooting frequently over South's defense from long range.
G-Prep made 7 of 13 attempts from 3-point range in the first half.
"Our defense might not have been the best but their offense was pretty good too," Callaghan said.
G-Prep (21-4) finished 26 of 51 from the field, 10 of 19 from long range and 25 of 33 from the foul line. Four Bullpups finished in double figures, led by Sam Dowd's 26 points and 20 from Frankie Hoerner, who made his first start.
G-Prep coach Matty McIntyre said it was one of his team's all-around best efforts.
"It was outstanding," McIntyre said. "Having the week to prepare really benefitted us. The kids obviously are doing the work on the floor, and in practice they prepared like champions."
The Wolves like to run and gun. The Bullpups didn't want to get caught up in that pace, but still found themselves having to take shots earlier in the shot clock than they desire.
G-Prep didn't lose its edge in the second half. The closest the Wolves (18-8) would get was 50-36 midway in the third quarter. The Bullpups kept their foot on the throttle. A 3-pointer by Hoerner extended G-Prep's lead to 74-52 with 4:28 remaining.
The focus of G-Prep's man-to-man defense was limiting South Kitsap's two chief weapons — guards Caulin Bakalarski and Ryley Callaghan. They each scored 17 points, close to their averages, but it took them more shots than they'd like.
They combined to make 11 of 34 attempts.
"We really wanted to frustrate them," McIntyre said. "We really tried to make that a team effort on them. We wanted to make someone else beat us. They hit their averages but it took a lot of shots to get them there."
Eric Wattree led South with 19 points and seven rebounds. Callaghan, who played the final 8:59 with four fouls, had six assists.
"We gave up a lot of open looks," the younger Callaghan said. "We've come out of some pretty big holes this year but this one ... they played solid defense."
Bakalarski praised G-Prep.
"They're a really good team," he said. "They'll probably go far (at state)."
Coach Callaghan said the Wolves have much to celebrate about the season.
"They've had a great year. This isn't going to take anything away from the great year we've had."
His son said he would miss playing with his best friend, Bakalarski.
"We had a lot of guys step up throughout the year," he said. "I'm proud of my best friend, Caulin. We've been through a lot together. It's been fun."
GONZAGA PREP 87, SOUTH KITSAP 69
South Kitsap 16 12 19 22 - 69
Gonzaga Prep 17 26 22 22 - 87
Callaghan 5 5-5 17, Bakalarski 6 1-1 17, Knowles 3 0-0 7, McCarty 0 0-0 0, Mackey 0 0-0 0, Delgado 1 0-0 2, Wattree 6 4-6 19, Scott 0 0-0 0, Wells 1 0-0 2, Lewis 2 1-2
5, Bayne 0 0-0 0. Totals 24 11-14 69.
Dowd 6 10-14 26, McClary 3 4-6 11, Alexander 4 2-3 13, Hoerner 6 6-6 20, Hopkins 5 0-0 10, Wood 0 3-4 3, Adams 0 0-0 0, Foster 2 0-0 4, Hunter 0 0-0 0. Totals 26 25-33 87.
3-point goals — Callaghan 2, Bakalarski 4, Knowles, Wattree, Dowd 4, McClary, Alexander
3, Hoerner 2.
Total fouls — South Kitsap 23, Gonzaga Prep 13.
Fouled out — Wells.
Technicals — Wells 2 (ejected), SK bench.