South Kitsap routed by Ravens

South Kitsap’s bus got lost en route to Auburn Riverside High School.

And while the driver eventually found the correct route, the Wolves’ girls basketball team was lost from the opening tip en route to an 85-45 loss Wednesday in the first round of the West Central District Tournament.

It was the school’s worst loss since an 86-36 setback Jan. 3, 2007 at Mount Tahoma, but South coach Mark Lutzenhiser added that big wins are a regular occurrence for Auburn Riverside. This is the ninth time this season the Ravens have defeated an opponent by 40 points or more.

“All the teams they lost to are top-level teams,” he said. “They’re a very good team. It’s a good opportunity to play against a top-notch program.”

The loss means the Wolves face Shelton in a loser-out game at 6 p.m. Friday at Auburn High School. South must win its next three games to advance to the state tournament for the first time since 2000.

Auburn Riverside (17-6) scored the first 19 points of the game before Samantha Gulisao hit a 3-pointer with a minute left in the first quarter. The Ravens, who won the last two Class 3A state championships before moving to the 4A classification, led 22-6 entering the second quarter and 53-14 at halftime.

“I think we feel asleep defensively in the first quarter,” Gulisao said. “I’m bummed that we lost by so much.”

At that point, it appeared South (12-11) might challenge the record for the largest margin of defeat in the district’s history. That was set in 1998 when Enumclaw beat Central Kitsap 98-33.

“In the locker room, we wanted to keep them down to a minimum of 40,” said Gulisao, referring to the halftime discussion.

Auburn Riverside, led by Mercedes Wetmore’s 18 points, held a 51-point advantage early in the fourth quarter, but the Wolves outscored the Ravens 19-8 the rest of the game to avoid matching rival Central’s dubious record.

In addition to Wetmore, three players reached double digits in points for Auburn Riverside: Nichole Jackson (15), Kat Cooper (14) and Brook Hinkens (12). As the score indicated, the Ravens dominated most statistical categories. They shot 57 percent from the field, while the Wolves finished at 29 percent. They also had more rebounds (40 to 27), steals (14 to 8) and assists (18-4).

Some of those statistics were compiled during the fourth quarter, but Lutzenhiser said that didn’t bother him. He noted that the Ravens didn’t press during the second half.

“That’s totally up to their coach,” he said. “I don’t get involved in that. All I’m concerned about is how hard our kids play.”

Lutzenhiser said Auburn Riverside “was a tough draw” for his team. He feels the 4A South Puget League’s North Division, where the Ravens play, is superior to the South Division. Kentwood (22-0) and Federal Way (19-4) also play in Auburn Riverside’s division.

South, which was led by eight points from Tori Fairweather and Gulisao, could have hosted a first-round game in districts, but sophomore guard Keana Magalei made two free throws after time had expired Friday night to lead Mount Tahoma to a 53-52 win against the Wolves in the league tournament.

The Wolves, who automatically qualified for districts by finishing second in the Narrows League Bridge Division, earned the league’s No. 4 seed Saturday by defeating Olympia 50-43.

Now, South will need to beat Shelton for a third time this season to extend its season. The Wolves won 52-31 in the first meeting between the schools Dec. 5, but went into overtime before claiming a 51-48 victory Feb. 2 at Shelton.

“We’re going to have to go out and play hard,” Gulisao said. “We need to get after them from the first minute.”

West Central District Tournament

At Auburn Riverside 85, South Kitsap 45

South Kitsap 6 8 12 19 — 45

Auburn Riverside 22 31 22 10 — 85

South Kitsap — Kelsey Callaghan 6, Crystal Polen 0, Samantha Gulisao 8, Stephanie Osterdahl 2, Amanda Feeney 1, Danielle Stewart 6, Ashlee Stoner 3, Chelnesha Thuring 5, Tori Fairweather 8, Ashley Frank 0, Molly Werder 6.

Auburn Riverside — Mercedes Wetmore 18, Amanda Thomson 8, Kara Jenkins 4, Nichole Jackson 15, Kat Cooper 14, Megan Amis 2, Makenna Clark 5, Brook Hinkens 12, Karina Gee 3, Jelisa Pretz 2, Gina Cardenes 2, Erin Bang 0.

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