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South Kitsap rebounds to finish strong in tournament | Boys Basketball
It might have sounded preposterous had the remark come 72 hours earlier.
But perhaps, as South Kitsap’s Mike Longmire put it, the Wolves feel comfortable against the slower-paced, more physical style that KingCo 4A teams present.
South played three teams from that league in the Les Schwab Bellevue Community College Christmas Classic, which culminated with a 63-56 win Tuesday against Eastlake.
It was the Wolves’ second consecutive win after losing the tournament opener Saturday against Inglemoor.
It’s unusual for a team to play all of its tournament games against teams from one league, but South coach John Callaghan said his counterparts at Issaquah and Eastlake didn’t want to face each other because they already are scheduled to play twice this season.
Callaghan said he didn’t care, “as long as we get to play someone.”
And the level of competition didn’t appear much different.
South was scheduled to play Kennedy, which beat Eastlake 62-58 on Monday, and has a 2-5 record.
Instead, SK played the Sammamish-based Wolves (1-5), who haven’t won since a 62-45 victory on Dec. 2 against Ingraham.
Eastlake briefly took the lead early in the game, but a balanced South offense helped it take a 29-20 lead into halftime.
Despite holding their biggest lead entering the fourth quarter, 46-28, it wasn’t comfortable enough for Callaghan because of Eastlake’s outside-shooting prowess.
“These guys can shoot it,” Callaghan said. “That No. 34 (Michael Russo) is a good player.”
A 15-foot jumper by junior guard Russo cut Eastlake’s deficit to 60-54 with 55 seconds remaining. But Longmire converted three of four free throws, and South managed to keep the ball out of the hands of Eastlake’s two best three-point shooters — Dillon Pericin and Russo, who both made three of six shots from beyond the arc — in the final minute.
That forced Chad Marxen into a 3-point attempt, which fell short.
Russo had a game-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, but South still dominated the boards, 43-26.
Ricky King, Joey Osinski and Austin Siegel each had six rebounds to lead South.
It was a similar scenario Monday in South’s 66-56 win against Issaquah. The Wolves had a 44-24 rebounding advantage led by King, who had 10, and Longmire (eight).
“The Narrows plays up-tempo ... and these teams go with more of a half-court offense,” Longmire said. “We were comfortable with that and everyone was comfortable rebounding because that’s the style we practice.”
South (6-3) led only 30-28 at halftime in a back-and-forth first half that featured a dozen lead changes and nine ties. But Longmire, who scored a game-high 21 points, and helped the Wolves end that as they took a double-digit fourth-quarter advantage.
“Mike has really played well,” Callaghan said. “He’s tough.”
Andrew Nale paced the Eagles with 20 points, while teammates Joe Evans (13) and Robby Primrose (12) also reached double figures.
But Issaquah (1-4) shot just 32 percent from the field.
South converted 51 percent of its field goals.
South began the tournament Saturday with a 59-42 loss against Inglemoor, which won all three games at BCC.
The end of the tournament marked nine consecutive days off before the Wolves play again Jan. 9 against Stadium. Callaghan said he normally wouldn’t like a layoff that long, but he said the practice time will be beneficial because his team lost several days during last week’s snow storm. He said his team only will have New Year’s Day and Sunday off before the upcoming game.
“Because we didn’t get to practice, it’s almost like Christmas break for us now,” Callaghan said. “There’s stuff we can learn from and build on. These guys need the repetition with shooting.”
One area that might not need to be as great of a focus is free-throw shooting.
The Wolves converted 34 of 46 (73.9 percent) of their free throws against Eastlake and Issaquah.
“That was an Achilles heel for us at the beginning of the year when we didn’t shoot those well.” Callaghan said. “If we didn’t knock down those free throws in this game (Eastlake), it could’ve been a different outcome. I’m sure that will continue to improve.”
Les Schwab Bellevue
South Kitsap 63,
South Kitsap 15 14 17 17 — 63
Eastlake 11 9 13 23 — 56
South Kitsap-Greg Pickard 0, Isaiah Davis 3, Ivan Rybachuk 0, Tionne Curry 9, Austin Siegel 9, Tre Haslom 11, Joey Osinski 4, Leon La Deaux 7, Mike Longmire 14, Ricky King 6.
Eastlake-Dillon Pericin 10, Scott Payton 8, Anas Elkugia 0, Michael Maguire 2, Ryan Sikma 0, Chad Marxen 6, Connor Iraola 3, Matt Uhlar 2, Turner Lee 6, Jeff Charlston 2, Michael Russo 17.
South Kitsap 66,
Issaquah 16 14 8 18 — 56
South Kitsap 14 14 11 27 — 66
Issaquah-Ross Zuhl 4, Joe Evans 13, Steven Rael 0, Andrew Nale 20, Robby Primrose 12, Nick Landdeck 1, Max Kolden 6, Sean Stuby 0.
South Kitsap-Greg Pickard 0, Isaiah Davis 0, Ivan Rybachuk 6, Tionne Curry 6, Austin Siegel 8, Tre Haslom 9, Joey Osinski 6, Leon La Deaux 6, Mike Longmire 21, Ricky King 4.