Sports

Wolves topple Cougars in close battle

Central Kitsap’s Philip Thomas floats a shot in the Cougars’ closer-than-it-looked 60-53 loss to South Kitsap on Friday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Central Kitsap’s Philip Thomas floats a shot in the Cougars’ closer-than-it-looked 60-53 loss to South Kitsap on Friday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By JEFF RHODES

Port Orchard Independent

Port Orchard — South Kitsap, which has made a habit of squandering leads this season, finally found a recipe for closing the deal Friday night — converting free throws.

After leading visiting Central Kitsap by a single point with just 53 seconds remaining in the contest, the Wolves’ got four foul shots from Tionne Curry and one each from Corey Hoffman and Nick Johnson to preserve what turned out to be a deceptively comfortable 60-53 victory.

“Believe me, it hasn’t always been that way for us,” said South coach John Callaghan. “Too often we’ve been our own worst enemy. Things will be going along just fine, then something will happen and we’ll starting thinking too much. When that happens, we’re in trouble.”

And they looked to be again — more than once — against the Cougars.

The Wolves jumped out to a 19-15 lead early as Curry converted three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt just before the end of the first quarter.

But Central stormed back to tie the score at 25 — all on a bank shot by Andrew Shearer with 3:33 remaining in the half.

The Wolves got a pair of three-pointers from Hoffman and another by Gibson Davies just ahead of the buzzer to take a 34-27 lead into the locker room.

They extended the advantage to 36-28 a minute into the second half before the Cougars went on a 12-5 run to cut the lead to 41-40 after three quarters.

“Once we get on a roll, we do stuff that defies logic sometimes,” Callaghan said. “I hate to say it’s because we’re young, because we’re really not. But we’ve really had trouble putting teams away this year. At times it’s been painful to watch.”

Friday’s game had all the makings of just such a performance as Shearer nailed a pair of free throws after being fouled on a breakaway layup to give the Cougars a 44-43 lead with 6:40 remaining in the game.

Phillip Thomas added another foul shot 25 seconds later to make it 45-43, but Hoffman converted an errant shot with 3:56 remaining to tie the score at 45, then made a steal and scored on a breakaway layup to put the Wolves back in the lead for good with 3:38 remaining.

CK forward Brandon Durham scored on a layup and Shearer added a pair of free throws to cut the lead to one again with just under a minute remaining before Curry and Hoffman sealed the game at the foul line.

Curry and Hoffman paced all scorers with 14 points each, while Thomas led the Cougars with 11.

Durham, who Callaghan described as a “beast inside,” tallied just eight points for CK.

The loss, Central’s third straight, drops CK to 10-4 overall, 6-3 in league play. The Cougars try to get back on track Saturday with a home game against Olympia.

Girls basketball

The Central Kitsap girls basketball team improved to 5-7 overall (4-3 in Narrows League play) when the Cougars rolled the South Kitsap Wolves (4-9, 2-6) 50-37 on Thursday.

After taking just a 28-23 lead through three quarters, the Cougs outscored South Kitsap 22-14 in the final frame to secure the win.

Katie Lintz scored 12 for CK while Natalie Pfaff added 10. Amanda Evans also was in double-digits with 10 points.

• Sports editor Aaron Managhan contributed to this report.

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