Sports

Girls Basketball: South Kitsap bounces back to claim Narrows' 2nd seed

Mark Lutzenhiser did not understate the importance of winning.

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s Narrows League playoff game at Foss High School, South Kitsap was in position to host its West Central District opener Thursday.

But the Wolves’ 55-49 win against Mount Tahoma pits South against the Class 4A South Puget Sound League eighth-seed Emerald Ridge (11-11) on Thursday.

A loss would have placed South (16-6) against Puyallup (15-7). That remained a possibility into the fourth quarter, which featured seven lead changes and two ties as both teams overcame erratic shooting performances early in the quarter.

The Thunderbirds (18-4) shot just 31.3 percent from the field, but converted two of their four 3-pointers in the final eight minutes. The final one came on sophomore Ashyna Davis’ only points of the game with 3 minutes, 52 seconds left. That gave Mount Tahoma a 49-47 lead.

But Mount Tahoma never scored again.

Coach Mark Lutzenhiser was impressed with his team’s rebounding performance. That was a concern of his entering the game as Mount Tahoma features 6-foot-4 junior Jessi Williamson. But Williamson was limited to 12 points.

“I thought Dana (Goularte) and Molly (Werder) did a good job of attacking the glass,” Lutzenhiser said. “I was pleased with the way we played defensively as a team.”

South tied the game, 49-all, on a pair of free throws by Goularte. The Wolves took the lead for good when Werder, who scored a team-high 21 points, split two free throws with 2:22 left.

“I think we just got tired of the way it was going,” Werder said. “We showed them what we’ve got.”

Werder also credited sophomore guard Jackie Steiger for making an important play. Goularte split her free throws with 27 seconds left that gave South a 52-49 lead. That could have left Mount Tahoma plenty of time to run a play for junior guard Deborah Anderson, who scored a game-high 24 points and hit an NBA-distance 3-pointer in the third quarter.

But Steiger tied up the Thunderbirds’ player who corralled the rebound and the possession arrow favored the Wolves. Seven seconds later, Werder was back at the free-throw line, where she made both attempts to extended South’s lead to five points.

“Jackie just fights and works so hard,” Werder said.

South, which lost 69-45 last week against Bellarmine Prep in the league title game, needs two wins to advance to state for a second consecutive year. With their victory against Mount Tahoma, the Wolves already have won more games than a year ago.

Werder was the leading scorer on last season’s team, but has struggled at times since having arthroscopic surgery on her left knee a few weeks before the season began. Werder, whose point total against the Thunderbirds was a season-high, says she is fully healthy now.

“I think I was a little timid when I came back, but now I’m ready to play,” she said. "I want to go to state.”

Saturday

Narrows League playoffs at Foss High School

South Kitsap 55, Mount Tahoma 49

Mount Tahoma 11 10 17 11 — 49

South Kitsap 7 15 13 20 — 55

Mount Tahoma: Ashley Keys 4, Ashyna Davis 3, Jessi Williamson 12, Kimesha Johnson 0, Charly Williams 0, Deborah Anderson 24, Kaitlyn Bunger 3, Shanice Banks 3.

South Kitsap: Kelsey Callaghan 4, Kelsey Stoner 0, Jackie Steiger 5, Angela Romonsky 11, Danielle Stewart 4, Jodi Bowe 4, Dana Goularte 6, Molly Werder 21.

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