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SK thinking defensively this season
t Wolves stay unbeaten despite
a decided lack of offensive fireworks.
Unlike some South Kitsap boys basketball teams of recent years, this one isn’t an offensive juggernaut.
The good news is that it may not have to be.
That’s because the Wolves’ defense looked impressive again during Tuesday’s nonleague game as it shut out Tyee in the opening quarter en route to a 57-31 win.
The Wolves (2-0) held the Totems to 11 of 43 (25.6 percent) shooting.
Opponents have shot 20 percent from the field against South this season.
In recent years, South relied on playmaking guards such as Tysaiah Curry, L.P. Neloms and Derrick Webb to generate offense. This group doesn’t appear to have that kind of firepower and needed to hold Tyee (0-1) before 6-foot-8 post Ricky King finally gave the Wolves a 2-0 lead on an assist from Mike Longmire with 5:32 minutes left in the first quarter.
“We’re getting better with execution out of the halfcourt,” South coach John Callaghan said. “That’s what we have to do. We can’t count on guys to go one on five.”
South produced the first 12 points of the game before the Totems scored with 7:07 left in the first half when Dorian Tursic connected on a 10-foot jumper.
Tursic scored again a little more than a minute later to cut the deficit to 12-4, but Tyee would never get any closer.
The Wolves led 29-9 at halftime.
“We came into this game knowing it was a team we could beat, but we didn’t slack off,” South forward Mike Longmire said. “We played with a lot of intensity, particularly on defense.”
The 26-point win could have been more, but South again struggled from the free-throw line.
The Wolves converted just 14 of 34 attempts from the line. They now are hitting 45.6 percent of their free throws this season.
“There’s a lot we can improve on,” Callaghan said. “Free-throw shooting right off the top.”
The problem could become magnified as South heads into league play. Five of the Wolves’ Narrows games last season were decided by seven points or less.
“We need to figure it out in a hurry,” Callaghan said. “It’s an area of concern.”
Tyee committed 31 turnovers. South guard Ivan Rybachuk stole a pair of passes in the second quarter that resulted in a layup and free throws.
“He’s nails defensively,” Callaghan said. “He’s probably the guy you would least want to play against one our team.”
Callaghan acknowledges that Bremerton and Tyee haven’t shot well against his team, but he also thinks “we had something to do with that.” He said his team has been particularly strong in denying penetration, which has prevented layups.
He also noted that the Wolves prevented many second-chance opportunities by rebounding well.
“We’ve done a lot of things fundamentally well on defense,” he said.
One player who seems to take advantage of those breakdowns on the other end is Longmire. The 6-foot-1 senior converted 5 of 7 shots, several on layups, en route to a game-high 13 points.
“Mike’s tough,” Callaghan said. “If he’s got a little two-guard on him, he’s pretty comfortable down there.”
As South built a 43-15 lead entering the fourth quarter, the starters began to exit.
Every player who suited up played and scored. Junior guard Michael Lacey, who initially was slatted to play junior varsity, has filled Tionne Curry’s roster spot. Curry is academically ineligible and might return next week, but Callaghan said Lacey continues to impress the coaching staff and could remain on varsity.
He scored three points — all on free throws.
“If you want to get more time, all you have to do is show us,” Callaghan said. “Everything is based on performance.”
At South Kitsap 57,
Tyee 0 9 6 16 — 31
South Kitsap 12 17 14 14 — 57
Tyee — Denzel Ahmad 5, Gary Tesfaye 0, Abel Girma 0, Justin Scipio 8, Trey Soajima 0, Tony Collier 2, Dorian Tursic 6, Leo Angel 0, Burhan Mohamed 0, Okie Gahou 0, Jacob Brown 10.
South Kitsap — Greg Pickard 3, Isaiah Davis 1, Ivan Rybachuk 8, Austin Siegel 6, Tre Haslom 4, Joey Osinski 6, Leon La Deaux 5, Brannon Bell 1, Mike Longmire 13, Riki Blas 2, Ricky King 5, Michael Lacey 3.