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SK tops Shelton to stay unbeaten
South Kitsap’s girls basketball team didn’t have a player who averaged even five points per game a year ago.
Now, the Wolves have someone different reach double figures in points every game.
It happened again Friday night as 6-foot-2 post Molly Werder converted 9 of 11 shots for a career-high 19 points in South’s 52-31 Narrows League win against Shelton.
“It’s exciting,” Werder said. “We’ve just been getting used to our new coach and his system, and we’re coming together as a team.”
The Wolves (3-0 overall, 1-0 league) are off to their best start since a identical beginning in 2004-05. They put themselves in position to accomplish that early. Shelton (0-2, 0-1) struggled in the first quarter against the press as South built a 20-7 lead after eight minutes.
South coach Mark Lutzenhiser said he felt the press made the Highclimbers “tentative,” and his team took a 31-15 lead into halftime. But he was concerned Shelton might make adjustments in the second half that would result in uncontested layups and mostly abandoned the strategy in the third quarter.
The Highclimbers seemed to take advantage as they produced their only double-digit quarter with 14 points and cut their deficit to 33-26 with 3:39 minutes remaining in the period when Kristy Nahley hit a 3-pointer. The Wolves only managed two points in almost six minutes to start the half against Shelton’s zone defense.
“Zones give a lot of kids problems because they don’t know how to attack it,” Lutzenhiser said. “We’re still working at trying to get better at our offense.”
South, which converted 21 of 59 field goals (35.6 percent), rebuilt its lead to 41-29 on a layup by Werder with 7:32 left. Shelton didn’t score in the period until there was just 2:29 left when Alexan Ehrich split a pair of free throws. By then, the Wolves had extended their lead to 47-30.
“When we had the dry spell there, we picked it up and played solid defense down the stretch,” Lutzenhiser said.
Shelton had 31 turnovers, and Lutzenhiser said he was proud of how his team responded after a difficult third quarter. South outscored the Highclimbers 14-2 in the final quarter.
“We gave them a couple of openings and they did a good job of knocking down the outside shots,” Lutzenhiser said. “We needed to be a little tougher on the perimeter and we did that. We were able to get some turnovers and get back.”
The Wolves now have had four players score at least 10 points in a game this season. Sophomore point guard Kelsey Callaghan had 12 points in the 50-30 season-opening win against Bremerton. Fairweather had 14, while senior post Stephanie Osterdahl added 13 last week against North Kitsap. Now, Werder joins the list.
Lutzenhiser said the offense still isn’t advanced as the defense, though. He would like to see multiple players reach the double-digit scoring level every game and said he might focus more on offense during upcoming practices as players adjust to the motion scheme he installed.
“That’s going to be the hardest thing — just getting comfortable on the offensive end,” he said. “They’re starting to see what I would like to do.”
It doesn’t figure to get any easier this week as the Wolves hit the road for the first time this season. They play today at Foss and then head to Tacoma again Friday to face Wilson.
“I saw a lot of improvement just this week,” Lutzenhiser said. “I asked them afterward if this is the best we can play? They said no. They know there’s room for improvement.”
At South Kitsap 52,
Shelton 7 8 14 2 — 31
South Kitsap 20 11 7 14 — 52
Shelton - Kristina Pietroski 9, Paige Gangewer 2, Kristy Nahley 5, Michelle Davis 4, Taylor Gustafson 0, Tara Ramsey 0, Alexan Ehrich 3, Erin Ranney 2, Sydney Gaa 6.
South Kitsap - Kelsey Callaghan 1, Crystal Polen 0, Samantha Gulisao 2, Stephanie Osterdahl 6, Amanda Feeney 0, Danielle Stewart 4, Ashlee Stoner 5, Chelnesha Thuring 5, Tori Fairweather 5, Ashley Frank 0, Angel Sheldon 5, Molly Werder 19.