Sports

CK girls all business against Bremerton

"A few days earlier, the Olympic High School girls basketball team was driven to distraction by a Bremerton team one observer referred to as a circus.But the circus was banned from Silverdale Tuesday night. For the Knights, a team in turmoil all season long, there was no distracting Central Kitsap's girls. The playoff-bound Cougars owned their home court almost from the opening tip and roared away to a 72-44 victory.Going into last night's regular-season finale against Olympic, CK was 10-5 against Olympic League opponents, 13-6 overall, and poised for their third straight trip to the West Central District tournament.Coach Denise Baxter said her senior-dominated team also is poised for its first district victory in those three years.We've known all season where we want to be at the end, she said. We've been taking it one game at a time, knowing that's the best way (to get back to the district playoffs). We're really focused on getting to the tournament and doing well there.If only the pickings at WCD, long a burial ground for Olympic League hopefuls, were as easy as they were at Central Tuesday. After surrendering a layup to Bremerton's Deadra Smith off the opening tip, the Cougars ran off 14 unanswered points and an 18-3 run the rest of the opening quarter.The Knights nearly erased a 26-point deficit in their previous game before losing 63-52 to Olympic. Their loose, disorganized play seemed to lull the Trojans, who then had to struggle to quell a Bremerton comeback.But the Knights couldn't lull CK, no matter how impassively or impulsively they played. They couldn't break down the Cougars' offense or break through their defense. In fact, they couldn't do much of anything.It doesn't matter who you're playing, you've got to be ready, Baxter said, referring to 3-17 Bremerton's checkered season, which included replacing coach Jim Portune (who was placed on administrative leave) with assistant Daniel McInnis with three games left in their season. I knew we'd come out hard. This group hasn't had any trouble being ready, no matter who they're playing.The first time the Cougars played Bremerton this season, the Knights were without Smith, their senior scoring machine, who was sitting out the first night of a suspension that shelved her for six games.Smith was available Tuesday, but never was a factor. She was outscored 13-11 by CK's junior post, Cassie Llewellyn, and held to her second-lowest point total of the year - a dozen below her season average.At the other end, Smith and her cohorts couldn't stop the Cougs from pounding the ball inside at will. In that 14-point opening run, Central had five straight layups, four by Llewellyn.The tone thus set, the Cougars quickly and efficiently put themselves out of reach, never allowing the Knights even a hint of a comeback opening. At one point, after two straight Haylee Hanson buckets capped a 20-1 CK run, the score was 38-6.Against Olympic, the Knights had flown a rallying flag in the second half. Against the Cougars, the only banner raised was for surrender.Baxter said there was little chance her team was going to be caught up in the Knights' style of play.This group plays together so well as a team, she said. The seniors have been together for a long time, and they like playing together. They'd rather make a good pass than shoot a lot of the time.Our goal all season has been to see how close we can get to 100 percent of our team potential, she continued.Tuesday, there wasn't much standing in the Cougars' way."

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