Sports

Girls Basketball: Bethel derails South Kitsap's state tournament dreams

South Kitsap point guard Jackie Steiger and her teammates had their hands full defensively during a 55-44 season-ending loss against Bethel in the West Central District Tournament at Foss High School. - Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo
South Kitsap point guard Jackie Steiger and her teammates had their hands full defensively during a 55-44 season-ending loss against Bethel in the West Central District Tournament at Foss High School.
— image credit: Jeff Rhodes/Staff Photo

Mark Lutzenhiser felt confident enough in his team’s ability that he already had an activity bus scheduled for Saturday.

But it will be Bethel, not South Kitsap, that plays in that Class 4A state seeding game in the West Central District Tournament.

The Braves ended the Wolves’ season at districts with a 55-44 win Wednesday at Foss High School.

South (17-8) was hampered by early foul trouble. Point guards Kelsey Callaghan and Jackie Steiger and forward Dana Goularte all had three fouls by the third quarter and Lutzenhiser felt that resulted in an offense that stagnated at times. The Wolves shot 26.6 percent from the field.

“That created problems early on,” Lutzenhiser said. “It kind of takes you out of any offensive flow. We couldn’t push the ball as much.”

And they never were able to against a team that limited opponents to 38 points per game.

“Our shots weren’t falling,” said South senior Molly Werder, who is deciding between playing at Alaska-Fairbanks, Montana Tech and Whitman. “You always have those games and it just hurts.”

Despite that, the game remained close for the first three quarters as neither led by more than five points. Kara Starr’s 3-pointer with 23 seconds left in the third quarter tied the game, 36-all, entering the final period. Starr finished with a game-high 17 points.

But Bethel (17-7), which converted only 33 percent of its field goals, finally found some consistency in the fourth quarter. Werder hit a pair of free throws with 6 minutes, 26 seconds left to give her team a 40-38 advantage.

It would be their last lead.

The Braves, who advance to state for the first time since 2005, scored eight unanswered points before Callaghan converted a layup to cut South’s deficit to 48-42 with 1:20 left.

“They had an extra gear there,” Lutzenhiser said.

The Wolves fouled on Bethel’s next possession and Haley Winters missed her free throw. But teammate Jesstine Yost collected the rebound and scored to give the Braves a 50-42 lead with 1:08 remaining.

South never came any closer.

“Down the stretch, it was just offensive rebound after offensive rebound,” Lutzenhiser said. “Second-shot opportunities ... when we needed to gain possession of the game.”

Lutzenhiser was most disappointed that his seniors — Danielle Stewart, Kelsey Stoner and Werder — did not get to advance to state for a second consecutive season. Callaghan, Stewart and Werder were the only returning players off last season’s team that qualified for the school’s first state appearance since 2000.

“You just feel bad for the seniors because it’s their last game,” Lutzenhiser said.

The Wolves appeared to be in a good position to advance to state last week after a 64-47 win against Emerald Ridge in the opener at districts. But South lost 63-48 on Saturday against Federal Way, which forced it into a winner-to-state, loser-out scenario versus the Braves.

“I would like to think we’re one of the top schools, and we’re out of it,” Lutzenhiser said. “It’s disappointing.”

But he also said he was proud of how his team performed despite injuries that limited players such as Werder and Jackie Steiger during the regular season. The Wolves finished with their most wins since their 21-7 record in 2000-01.

“The kids had a great season,” Lutzenhiser said. “They really did.”

Wednesday

West Central District Tournament at Foss High School

Bethel 55, South Kitsap 44

Bethel 12 11 13 19 — 55

South Kitsap 10 16 10 8 — 44

Bethel: Jordan McCann 7, Haley Winters 6, Kara Starr 17, Elisha Salas 0, Amanda Amundsen 2, Jesstine Yost 12, Danielle Tabb 11.

South Kitsap: Kelsey Callaghan 4, Kelsey Stoner 2, Jackie Steiger 6, Angela Romonsky 8, Danielle Stewart 6, Ali Davis 0, Jodi Bowe 0, Dana Goularte 4, Molly Werder 14.

Saturday

West Central District Tournament at Foss High School

Federal Way 63, South Kitsap 48

South Kitsap 14 11 4 19 — 48

Federal Way 16 21 9 17 — 63

South Kitsap: Kelsey Callaghan 5, Kelsey Stoner 2, Jackie Steiger 6, Angela Romonsky 4, Danielle Stewart 2, Shelby Jackson 1, Ali Davis 3, Jodi Bowe 0, Dana Goularte 16, Molly Werder 9.

Federal Way: Molly Campbell 6, Dyesha Belhumeur 5, Talia Walton 27, Chantel Dixon 2, Darah Huertas-Vining 12, Brittany Barrington 11, Brittany Dike 0, Fuller 0, Alex Huertas-Vining 0, Cache’ Jones 0.

Feb. 18

West Central District Tournament

At South Kitsap 64, Emerald Ridge 47

Emerald Ridge 7 16 8 16 — 47

South Kitsap 19 18 14 13 — 64

Emerald Ridge: Stephanie Riley 7, Ashly Johnson 1, Taylor Buie 20, Audrey Sullivan 7, Alex McCoy 0, Elise Johnson 0, Karina Matias 4, Jamie Rothermel 2, Charleen Pleasance 6.

South Kitsap: Kelsey Callaghan 10, Kelsey Stoner 0, Jackie Steiger 9, Angela Romonsky 17, Danielle Stewart 8, Ali Davis 0, Jodi Bowe 2, Monieca Thuring 2, Dana Goularte 8, Molly Werder 8.

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