Downtown burial: CK drains Wolves with 3's

Save for seat belts and squealing breaks, Wednesday night's South Kitsap-Central Kitsap boys basketball game had all the makings of a wild ride.

The Cougars made eight 3-point shots in the first half alone, the Wolves countered with a 13-2 run to open the third quarter and two boisterous student sections exchanged playground pleasantries while the momentum seesawed back and forth.

But finally, CK walked off its home court with a 67-61 victory after nearly blowing a 16-point halftime lead.

"If a team thinks that they've got it won, they don't come out with the same intensity," CK coach Scott McMinds explained, "and we didn't come out with it in the beginning of the third quarter like we started the game."

CK built a 42-26 halftime on eight of 14 shooting from 3-point range. But at the 3:38 mark of the third quarter, the lead had shrunk to 44-39 thanks to a 13-2 South run.

Tionne Curry scored four of his game-high 19 points during the run and CK suddenly went cold from 3-point range.

"We came out with more energy and more ball movement and team play in the second half," said South's Leon LaDeaux, who finished with 10 points. "We just knew that (the 3-pointers) couldn't go in all night and we'd have our run back."

"We sort of silenced their crowd and I think they went into shock. I think maybe they thought they had it at halftime."

Unfortunately for South (8-4 overall, 4-3 league), the run ended prematurely and CK maintained at least a five-point lead until time expired.

"We closed out the game well," McMinds said. "Our guys finally woke up."

With the score 44-39, CK forward Brandon Durham, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, scored four consecutive points. Drew Vettleson, who scored 13 points, then followed a Matt Wain layup with the Cougars' eighth 3-pointer to push the lead to 53-39.

"We did a good job of attacking the basket right up until it got close," South coach John Callaghan said. "We were down five, then I think the next four or five possessions we shot jumpers instead of going to the hoop."

South open the fourth quarter with eight consecutive points to pull within 55-49, but Durham eventually thwarted the rally with a layup at the 5-minute mark.

"He's a load," Callaghan said. "He hit some really crucial shots for them down the stretch."

The teams exchanged baskets over the final four minutes, with CK keeping the lead between six and eight points.

"I can't fault our effort, but I don't think we really stuck to our game plan in the first half," Callaghan said. "Obviously they knocked down shots, but we were out of position. We weren't contesting a couple of those shots and those guys can shoot."

Callaghan said the Wolves dribbled "for the sake of dribbling" in the first half, giving CK opportunities to pressure the ball and create turnovers.

"There's a fine line there," Callaghan said of dribbling to create plays as opposed to dribbling with no purpose. "The second half we were doing something with the ball."

The Cougars (9-2, 5-1) finished 9 of 22 from 3-point range, but were just one of eight in the second half.

"They did a great job of getting back in it," McMinds said. "They pressured us, they hit some shots and we struggled."

But CK's first-half 3-point barrage opened the door for Durham not only early in the game, but also in the second half.

"It opens everything up," Durham said of the outside shooting. "We can actually run our offense ... Guys aren't keying on me. I can get position on guys, get put-backs and rebounds."

The Cougars led 22-13 at the end of the first quarter and extended the lead to 39-18 with three minutes left in the half. South used an 8-0 run to move within 39-26, but CK's Cody Thurmond hit a 3-pointer in the final seconds to make it 42-26.

Phillip Thomas (12) and Thurmond (11) contributed double-figure scoring efforts for CK. Michael Longmire added 15 points for the Wolves.

South hosts Olympia at 7 p.m. today.

For CK, the win helped erase Monday's disappointing 60-54 loss against North Kitsap. That loss ended what had been a four-game winning streak.

"The guys came out really flat in the North Kitsap game ... they weren't ready to play, they didn't prepare themselves and they didn't give it their all," McMinds said. "I think it was good for us because we came out like a possessed team in the first half."

"We had to regroup in one day. I thought our kids responded really well on one day's rest."

CK will face defending 3A state champion Rainier Beach, who is currently ranked No. 2 in the state, at the ShoWare Center in Kent Jan. 30. Both teams had games cancelled in December due to inclement weather, consequently creating scheduling vacancies.

"We're taking it one game at a time," Durham said of the upcoming schedule, which includes games against Foss (Jan. 23), Mount Tahoma (Jan. 31) and Bellarmine Prep (Feb. 3). "We're done worrying about the rankings and all that because we've been at the top before and we let it all crumble."

Durham said he, along with fellow seniors Isaiah Thompson, Thurmond, Thomas and Vettleson, all of whom are starters, are hungry for a deep postseason run.

"We feel like it's our year to go out and prove something," Durham said. "This is our last year playing together so we're going to do something big."

The Cougars travel to Lincoln today.

South Kitsap 61,

Central Kitsap 67

South Kitsap 13 13 15 20

Central Kitsap 22 20 13 12

South Kitsap—Greg Pickard 0, Isaiah Davis 3, Ivan Rybachuk 0, Tionne Curry 19, Austin Siegel 8, Tre Haslom 7, Joey Osinski 2, Leon La Deaux 10, Mike Longmire 15, Ricky King 0.

Central Kitsap—Wyverne Hemphill 0, Drew Vettleson 13, Matt Wain 5, Cody Thurmond 11, Mark Dorsey, Brandon Durham 17, Philip Thomas 12, Wyverne Hemphill, Isaiah Thompson 7, Christian Wesley 2, Tyler Baumgartner.

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