Sports

"'Riders rough, but Cougars can't capitalize"

"Just the Central Kitsap boys basketball team's luck.On a night when the Port Angeles Roughriders were in a funk, the Cougars were even funkier.Central Kitsap, starved for any victory after four straight losses, had a chance to pull off the upset of the Olympic League season Saturday night against league-leading Port Angeles.If the window was open, though, the Cougs were unable to scramble through. The visiting Roughriders won their 11th league victory without a defeat, despite it being their second game in as many days, topping Central Kitsap 54-42.It felt like all we needed was one spurt, said CK assistant coach Keith Armstrong, who subbed at the end of the bench for Tim Dower, who missed the game because of a family emergency. We just couldn't get it. They were struggling offensively, but so were we. Our shooters were off.The Roughriders, who had beaten Bainbridge 78-62 at home the previous night, bulled their way to a 15-point lead in the inelegantly played first half. They appeared capable of beating the ice-cold Cougs on cruise control.Somwhere between the locker room and the court for the third-quarter tipoff, though, cruise control shut down. The 'Riders scored only four points in the period, leaving that window wide open.But the Cougs could manage just 11 points themselves, and still trailed 39-26 going into the final quarter. Even with Port Angeles sputtering, CK could never manage to put together a surge powerful enough to change the momentum.Even back-to-back 3-pointers by Will Pence and Corey Smith early in the fourth could pull Central no closer than 11, 43-32.We were just out of sync, Armstrong said of the Cougars. I think playing on Saturday had an effect. And the kids had finals all week, and they were stressed after that. They were in a whole different mindset.Their only real failing, though, was failing to coax the ball through the hoop a bunch more times.We just missed a lot of wide open jumpers, Armstrong said.As a result, the Cougars couldn't string anything together offensively. The most unanswered points they scored against the Roughriders was five, on three different occasions. The first - with all five tallies coming from Quinton Smith - gave them their last lead of the game, 7-5.Port Angeles answered with a run of nine straight, five from Rick Smith and four from Dave Berger. A 12-4 run to start the second period, fanned by the first two of Chris Ochs' three treys, was all the further cushion the Roughriders needed.We wanted to push them early, Armstrong said, but we couldn't get anything started offensively. We just couldn't find anybody that could give us that lift we needed tonight.Armstrong said a change in the Cougars' defense might've played a part in slowing PA's offense down a bit from the first time the teams met, back on Dec. 10 in Port Angeles. In that game, the 'Riders scored 65 while Central managed 50.Their two big guys ate us up when we played up there, Armstrong said. So we went to a 2-3 (zone) to get an extra defender down low. It seemed to work pretty well.There was no helping the Cougs' offense, though.They (PA) play good defense, and they crash the boards, Armstrong said. We couldn't get out on the break, and we couldn't hit our perimeter shots.Corey Smith led CK with 13 points. Ochs had 16 for the Roughriders, on three 3-pointers and 7-for-8 free throw shooting."

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