Down 18-4? No problem

Cougar Mike Simpkins celebrated his 18th birthday with 9 points in a CK 52-44 win over Kentridge on Tuesday. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Cougar Mike Simpkins celebrated his 18th birthday with 9 points in a CK 52-44 win over Kentridge on Tuesday.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Mike Simpkins got a great 18th birthday present Wednesday night.

Simpkins, a senior on the Central Kitsap boys hoops team, celebrated his birthday by putting up nine points, six in the fourth quarter, to help CK come back from a 14-point deficit to beat the Kentridge Chargers, 52-44, at home.

“The birthday boy gave us a present,” CK coach Tim Fryer joked after the game.

“I wanted to win this game so bad,” Simpkins said. “We were down by six (at the half). Someone’s gotta step up. I just did what I could do and we did it.”

After falling behind early in the first quarter, (the Chargers got out to an 18-4 lead to start), CK climbed back with the three-pointer.

Jordan Deck, usually a post for CK, hit a three in the first quarter to close the frame out down 18-7. Deck nailed another out of the gates in teh second quarter. Less than 30 seconds later, Deck launched and hit another trey. That was followed by a JD Rastovski three ball. Four three-pointers, 2:20 off the clock, 18-16 Kentridge lead.

The quick burst gave CK a wave of momentum it would never quite come off of, even through a Kentridge stall that killed the first half’s final minute-and-a-half. At the half, the Chargers clung to a 26-20 lead.

The Cougars took over in the second half, riding momentum to a 32-18 second-half run.

“They decided they weren’t going to let those guys (keep scoring),” Fryer said. “The boys thought they got manhandled a little bit. (The comeback)’s got to make them feel good.”

Overall, CK got a balanced offensive effort, led by Gordon’s 15. Deck put up 13 for the game.

Renado Parker, a Kentridge sophomore, had 22 points to lead the game, two of which came on a vivacious one-handed slam during the Chargers’ 18-4 opening run.

Simpkins’ late burst combined with JR Gordon scoring the Cougs’ final six points, iced a comeback win that should give CK some momentum heading into a tough second-round battle with Curtis, the No. 1-ranked 4A team in the state.

“That is a huge game, especially when you’re the higher seed,” Fryer said. “You get into that loser bracket right away and you’re in for a long haul.”

Curtis led by guard Isaiah Thomas, a junior who has averaged 26.2 points per game this season, including a 52-point effort over Puyallup in December.

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