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South Kitsap's holiday plans include tourney wins | Boys Basketball

Ricky King, South Kitsap’s 6-foot-8 center, hopes to come up big for the Wolves this weekend. - Jesse Beals/Staff Photo
Ricky King, South Kitsap’s 6-foot-8 center, hopes to come up big for the Wolves this weekend.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/Staff Photo

Wolves expecting stiff test in Bellevue Community College Christmas Classic.

South Kitsap’s boys basketball team would like to get back into the gym to practice for its upcoming tournament at Bellevue Community College.

But with the school’s doors locked because of inclement weather, the Wolves have had more time to practice sledding than shooting techniques.

At least that’s what coach John Callaghan saw his 6-foot-8 center Ricky King doing Sunday.

Callaghan didn’t expect his team back in the gym Monday as the Wolves approach their 3:30 p.m. game Saturday against Inglemoor in the Les Schwab Bellevue Community College Christmas Classic.

“You really can get some nice stuff done during Christmas break,” he said. “It’s a bummer.”

When Callaghan guided South to six consecutive state-playoff appearances through 2006, adverse weather might not have concerned him as much.

But after a 4-2 start and being 2-2 in Narrows League play, Callaghan said this team “has work to do.”

“This team is younger than some have been,” he said. “These guys could use the repetition.”

He just hopes to get it before facing Inglemoor.

The Vikings (3-1) graduated star guard Mark McLaughlin, who signed with Nevada but isn’t expected to enroll until next year, but still features plenty of experience.

Senior 6-foot-4 forward Adam McElwee is averaging 17.3 points per game, while classmate Benji Bryant has added 13.8 points at guard.

Inglemoor also features some interesting bloodlines. Forward Todd Campbell is the younger brother of Steve, a former Vikings’ star who was a walk-on at Washington State, and is averaging nine points per game.

And similar to the long line of Curry brothers who have played for the Wolves, sophomore Andy Nwaelele is the fourth sibling to compete for Inglemoor. Senior forward Paul Ena is the son of Tali, a former running back for WSU and the Seattle Seahawks.

Callaghan said the focus of this tournament isn’t about who his team faces, though.

He places less of a priority on scouting the tournament games than any other point during the season.

After all, the Wolves could go undefeated — or get swept — and it wouldn’t affect whether they end up at state or not.

Callaghan, whose team last played in a 53-52 loss Dec. 16 at Gig Harbor, said the games provide important experience because of the scheduling.

If South advances to state, it could play on as many as four consecutive days. At BCC, the Wolves play Issaquah or Mount Rainier on Monday depending on the outcome of the Inglemoor game.

They play at 2 p.m. if they lose, and 5:30 p.m. if they win. There also is a game Tuesday against an undetermined opponent.

“I don’t think we’re going to play against too many teams that are better than those we see in league,” Callaghan said. “But you see teams that should help prepare us for the second half of the season.”

The tournament at BCC traditionally has featured some high-caliber teams.

In 2005-06, Lake Oswego (Ore.) featured center Kevin Love, who now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Mount Rainier, which placed fourth in last season’s Class 3A tournament, might be the top local team this year, but the Rams graduated several of their top players.

Callaghan said the Wolves will benefit from watching different styles.

Besides, he also expects there will be some teams more physical than his players are accustomed to seeing.

Pending the rescheduling of Thursday’s game against Lincoln, which was canceled because of snow, South isn’t scheduled to play after the tournament until Jan. 9, when it hosts Stadium.

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