CK misses playoffs, but lays a foundation

Central Kitsap coach Al Gleich would have liked his team to get a taste of the postseason, but it won’t happen this season.

The Cougars looked like a playoff team in the opening quarter of its regular-season finale against Bremerton on Friday, Feb. 8, but the visiting Knights revved up their attack in the final minutes of the first half and went on to post a convincing 73-54 victory.

The Narrows League Bridge Division win sent Bremerton into a playoff on Monday, Feb. 11 against North Kitsap for the league’s No. 4 playoff spot. Central Kitsap, which had been locked in a three-way tie for the spot, dropped to sixth in league (4-8, 5-15 overall).

The Cougars lived by the three early-on as they were patient to find the open man against Bremerton’s trapping defense. But when guard Mike Malala went to the bench in the second quarter with his third foul, the Knights capitalized on a rash of CK turnovers.

“We talked about that before the game,” Gleich said. “You can’t give this type of team that emotional lift because they just feed off it and they’re off and running.”

Marcus McKay (15 points) and Aaron Brien (13) led the Cougars, who trailed 38-28 at halftime and never got closer.

Gleich, who took over a group that didn’t have a lot of varsity experience, said he enjoyed the season, his first as head coach at CK.

“It was a great ride,” he said. “I told the kids after the game the season has gone by so fast for me, which tells me I’ve had a great time. I sure didn’t want the season to end, but they have been a great group of kids to work with.

“They’ve done everything I’ve asked in practice. You have kids like Kevin Van Hook who does everything he can to get better at basketball. Michael Malala has improved so much with his attitude and his leadership on the court.”

Gleich is looking forward to the future.

“I think we have a nice foundation,” he said. “We have a good jayvee team, but I think we’ve got to get (physically) stronger and we’ve got to play more. We’re already in the TCC Spring League and we’re in the Olympic Tournament this summer. We’re going to play as much as we can against as good of competition as we can.”

North Kitsap 79, at Olympic 65 — The Trojans, coming off an upset win over Bremerton, played with North Kitsap for a half, but couldn’t hang with the Vikings in the final quarter. Brendan Campbell scored 21 points, Geoff Kelstrup 16 and Chris Soterakopolous 14 for Olympic, which trailed 34-32 at the half and 51-48 after three quarters. Oly (1-11 league, 5-15 overall) lost 11 of its last 12 games.

At Eatonville 61, Klahowya 54 — The Eagles (2-10 league, 6-12 overall, led by Jordan Coursey’s 15 points, wouldn’t go away but never quite got over the hump against Eatonville. The Eagles closed the year at home on Tuesday, Feb. 12 against Sequim.

CK girls face Capital on Friday in Lacey

Amber McKinnis, Central Kitsap’s only senior, scored a career-high 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds as the Cougars ended the regular season with a 61-38 homecourt Narrows League Bridge Division victory over Bremerton on Friday, Feb. 8.

Adria Layne scored 19 points as the Cougars won easily, despite missing Nicole Zygmontowicz, who sprained her knee in a win over South Kitsap on Feb. 6.

The Cougs (14-6 overall) finished second in the Narrows Bridge Division and will face Bay Division No. 2 Capital on Friday, Feb. 15 at St. Martin’s College in Lacey at 3:30 p.m. The winner will host a first-round district game as the No. 3 seed on Wednesday, Feb. 20. The loser enters the tournament as the No. 4 seed and must play a first-round game on the road.

Olympic 61, at North Kitsap 55 — The Trojans rallied to complete a season sweep of North. Tiffany Jess scored 16 points, Lindsay Neste 14 and Kim Fairbanks 11 for Olympic (4-8 Narrows Bridge, 8-12 overall).

At Eatonville 64, Klahowya 38 — The Eagles (2-11 Nisqually League, 2-17 overall) hung tough early with first-place Eatonville, but couldn’t maintain the pace. Emily Jolley scored 15 points for Klahowya, which ended the season Tuesday, Feb. 12 against Sequim.

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