Central Kitsap outlasts Mountlake Terrace’s run

TACOMA — Central Kitsap coach Tim Fryer didn’t get his wish to face South Kitsap, but at least the Cougars can join the Wolves — in a sense.

That’s because the Cougars defeated the Mountlake Terrace Hawks, 58-49, during a loser-out game in the consolation bracket at the state tournament Thursday at the Tacoma Dome. The Wolves also defeated Mountlake Terrace (20-6), 55-52, to advance in the tournament.

After falling behind by 20 points during the first half against SK, the Hawks rallied and nearly sent the game into overtime. It seemed like a repeat performance when the Cougars built a 27-11 lead during the second quarter en route to a 31-19 lead at halftime.

“I wish I knew,” said Mountlake Terrace coach Nalin Sood, when asked why his team tends to fall behind early. “We haven’t been good playing teams even with us because we blew out so many teams during the season.”

But the Hawks started the third quarter successfully, using a 2-pointer by Luke Hammond to cut the Cougars’ lead to 31-29 with 3:09 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

“We just kept turning the ball over and they were making a lot of free throws,” said Cougars’ forward Brice Brooks, whose father missed the game after suffering a seizure Wednesday. “We can’t keep doing that.”

Brooks said his father is resting at Virginia Mason in Seattle. Illness didn’t impact the younger Brooks, despite finishing with 13 points — five below his season average.

“I think about it,” he said. “But its not really affecting me much.”

CK (19-7) finally pulled away for good when they scored six unanswered points to take a 49-42 lead with 3:12 remaining in the game.

After losing Wednesday on a controversial foul that gave Walla Walla guard Ryan Mitchell the opportunity to break a 48-48 tie with no time remaining — which he did on his first attempt — and struggling during the second half against the Hawks, CK players were happy to continue their quest to place at the state tournament. The Cougars faced Pasco, which knocked out defending state champion Franklin on Thursday, at 11 a.m. Friday. See page 1 for game results.

With CK facing elimination, Fryer used the game against the Hawks to view players he expects to contribute next season.

One of those players — 6-foot-4 junior Glen Perkins — is expected to help fill Brooks’ void when he graduates. Perkins scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 20 minutes against Mountlake Terrace, while junior guard Trent Bearbower had a team-high three steals in nearly 22 minutes.

“Perkins is a great player and we knew that last year when he was playing on the junior-varsity squad,” Fryer said. “I tapped (assistant coach Mark Keel and I told him, ‘Wait until next year.’ ”

The Cougars didn’t go with a youth movement against Walla Walla, but also started out well, building a 30-26 at halftime and 40-35 entering the fourth quarter, before losing 49-48 following the controversial foul call against Neil Fryer.

Mitchell never appeared to be fouled while throwing up a wild shot from well beyond the 3-point arch as time expired.

“He just landed on the back of my heel (when he fell),” Fryer said. “That’s a terrible way for a state game to end.”

Brooks agreed.

“You can’t let a state-playoff game end like that,” he said. “But she called it and that’s bull.”

Fryer, whose brother Bernie is a veteran NBA official, also has an officiating background and said it wasn’t appropriate to call a foul in that situation.

“I never would have called that,” he said. “It was anticlimactic.”

But the Cougars blew a 38-28 lead with 3:25 remaining in the third quarter during that game and after similar struggles during that period against Mountlake Terrace, some CK players expressed relief.

“We’re still playing, so that’s a good thing,” Brooks said.

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