Sports

Lions roar past Central Kitsap girls

Central Kitsap’s Nolan Winger scrambles for a loose ball with Bellarmine’s ReZina TecleMariam in Thursday’s 53-34 loss. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Central Kitsap’s Nolan Winger scrambles for a loose ball with Bellarmine’s ReZina TecleMariam in Thursday’s 53-34 loss.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

By AARON MANAGHAN

Sports editor

It’s been a long week for the Central Kitsap girls basketball team, on and off the court.

With finals week at CK in full swing, the Lady Cougars had just as tough a task on the court, taking on the Narrows League’s toughest girls hoops teams this season, Bay Division leaders Mount Tahoma (16-4 overall, 14-1 in league) and Bellarmine (18-2, 14-1). Following a 94-48 loss to the T-Birds on the road Wednesday and a 53-34 home loss to the Lions last night, not to mention finals, the Cougs (9-9, 8-7) are more than ready for the weekend.

“Playing back to back, and it’s finals week,” CK coach Denise Baxter said. “These girls don’t take finals lightly. Finals come around and it’s like some of them are in a different time zone.”

While the losses were tough, the Lady Cougs are still optimistic as they prepare for Narrows League tournament play, which begins Thursday as CK battles Lincoln (6-14, 4-10) in a loser-out contest at Stadium High School in Tacoma.

For Central Kitsap to make it out of the league tourney and into districts however, Baxter said they’ll need to cut down on mistakes like careless turnovers and missed inside shots that have plagued the team at times this season.

“If we can eliminate those things, we should have no problem getting into districts,” Baxter said. “That’s what it will come down to.”

CK was hampered by those problems early against Bellarmine, allowing the Lions to start on a 10-0 run before finishing the first quarter up 19-6. By halftime, the lead was even larger at 29-15. Missed fast break and inside shots were the main culprits for CK.

“It was a good effort,” Baxter said. “Against a good team, those shots have to go down. They weren’t and we were just buried. But we hung around enough to make that run.”

In the third quarter, CK closed the gap. After Ballermine and CK traded buckets in the quarter’s early minutes, the Lady Cougs went on an 11-point run of their own to close the gap to nine. Tough defense, which CK displayed throughout the contest, helped CK narrow the deficit.

“The second half we played a lot better,” Baxter said. “We picked up our defense.”

She said the Lady Cougs have been improving on their man-to-man defense throughout the year, something that will be essential for CK to make a postseason run.

“We’ve come a long way in our man-to-man defense for sure,” she said. “Even in the first half. We bailed them out at least three or four times.”

As for the comeback, she said one trait common to past CK girls hoops teams that this one also has displayed is a strong sense of determination.

“I think our program in general always has a lot of resolve,” Baxter said. “For the most part, everyone tries to bring the group together and keep them doing what they need to do.”

Earlier in the week against Mount Tahoma, known for its fast-paced style of play, opened that game wide by the half, leading 56-23. But with that tiring contest just two days before, not to mention the grind of hitting the books, Baxter said she was even more pleased with the girls’ effort against the Lions, which came on senior night. CK seniors include Nolan Winger, Lindsey Hart, Katie Lintz, Lauren Forney, Sam Sudy and Mandy Warner.

“I’m proud of their effort,” she said. “Bellarmine is a very good team. It was a good test for us to find out where we’re going.”

Against Bellarmine, Amanda Evans led the way offensively with 13, just missing another three-pointer that would have pulled the game within seven in the third. Lintz scored nine and Forney scored two but grabbed eight rebounds. Defensively, Forney added four blocks while Evans had three and Naenae Tibbs and Lintz each blocked two shots. Against MT, Lintz led CK with 21 while Winger had 10. T-Bird Sasha Ellison led all scorers with 15 but Mount Tahoma had six players in double-digit scoring with two more at eight points.

With the league tourney starting Thursday (CK needs two wins to get to districts), Baxter said there’s still work to be done.

“Have we gotten better? We have at times,” she said. “We’ll just keep working.”

Olympic

The Lady Trojans (8-6, 8-4) hosted North Mason last night but results were unavailable at press time. Olympic’s Tuesday game with Port Townsend was snowed out and rescheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Oly.

Klahowya

The Lady Eagles (0-16, 0-12) also had Tuesday’s game cancelled but were able to get it in Wednesday as Kingston trounced Klahowya 79-9 in a game which the Bucs led 37-0 at halftime. Klahowya traveled to PT (4-11, 2-9) in search of its first win last night, but results were unavailable at press time.

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