Late charge leads CK girls to playoff win

No, that’s not a misprint — it only appears that way.

Central Kitsap (17-6) allowed 25 first-quarter points, but used a late rally to defeat Auburn Riverside, 74-64, Thursday at home.

“They were lighting it up in the first half,” CK coach Denise Baxter said.

Auburn Riverside (12-10) looked to blow out the Cougars early because of a team-wide outside-shooting attack. The Ravens took a 25-13 lead entering the second quarter and 47-24 into halftime.

“We were pumped up and ready, but we couldn’t find what we were looking for,” CK’s Megan Hoisington said.

CK had an opportunity to climb back into the game during the third quarter, but only converted 2-of-9 free throws during that period.

Despite that, the Cougars’ effort on defense — led by Hoisington’s 13 rebounds — finally began to show results for CK.

“We worked on the boards a lot this week and we did a lot better than usual,” Hoisington said.

The lead began to disappear as Amy Spieker, who scored 17 points, made consecutive baskets to cut the Ravens’ lead to 60-58. CK’s Emily Zygmontowicz, who scored a game-high 25 points, then tied the game at 60-60 on a layup and the Cougars took their first lead with three minutes remaining in the game when Randie Lee was fouled while attempting a 3-pointer. She converted all three free throws to give CK a 65-64 lead.

The Ravens never scored again as CK outscored them, 26-5, in the fourth quarter.

“We have strong second halves and everything comes together,” Hoisington said. “When we’re working together, it’s awesome.”

The win leaves CK in position to advance to the state playoffs for a second consecutive year — an unprecedented mark for the program — with another win. But it won’t be easy as the Cougars face defending state champion Prairie (21-1) at 2 p.m. today at Auburn High School. Prairie has won 21 consecutive games since losing its season-opener, 45-33, against Westview of Oregon.

“We used to have to go down there,” Baxter said. “At least we’re not doing that anymore.”

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