SILVERDALE — At long last, the losing streak is over.
Bremerton (0-6, 1-11) was on a 30-game skid heading into a Jan. 8 matchup against Klahowya, but thanks to a monster performance from senior post Roxanna Dunklin, the Knights got back into the win column for the first time since Feb. 2, 2017.
Dunklin scored 23 points and collected 14 rebounds in a 45-37 victory over the Eagles, their first since defeating North Mason 49-27 over 23 months ago.
“She’s always been one of our go-to players, we just decided to feed the beast,” said Bremerton head coach Ashley Robinson. “Let’s continue to feed her until they stop her.”
The Eagles never did as Dunklin took command of the game. With guards Brooke-Lynne Tarbox and Lily Gelhaus feeding her passes in the post, her powerful pivot moves got her through the Klahowya defense time and time again. Dunklin hit four field goals in the third quarter and then five more in the fourth.
Klahowya (1-1, 5-6) stayed within shouting distance throughout the second half, but they never got closer than six points after Bremerton’s third quarter flourish.
Maile Lueck led Klahowya with 10 points, but both she and Katie Cooper, who chipped in 6 points and 11 rebounds, ran into some foul trouble and had to sit for some critical minutes. While there were some good secondary performances from Ethel Fish and Gabriella Dickey, who added 8 and 7 points respectively, the Eagles never got on that final run to erase the deficit.
Both teams struggled from the field throughout the first half; the score was 11-10 in favor of Bremerton at halftime. The Eagles were unable to capitalize on the Knights’ slow start and they were unable to catch up once they got hot.
Bremerton also continued to outrebound the Eagles even as their offense picked up. Aside from Dunklin’s 14 boards, Madison Gardner had 9 and Shauntay Levingston picked up 7.
“When the other team doesn’t shoot very well, you have to be able to take advantage of that,” said Klahowya head coach Alan Langguth.
A putback by Levingston late in the fourth gave the Knights a 45-35 lead secured the eventual win and the girls let out cathartic screams once the final buzzer sounded.
“A lot of relief, a lot of pressure is gone,” Robinson said. “The girls have finally been able to have fun again. That’s been the biggest thing, just to see them happy and seeing all the hard work they have been putting in [pay off].”
With the losing streak in the rear-view mirror, the Knights now have on deck a second run through their Olympic League schedule, in which the goal is now to take the positive momentum from the win and push it forward.
“Taking that same energy and intensity, patience and hopefully really believing in each other that we can win some more games,” Robinson said.
Bremerton 45, Klahowya 37
Brem 7 4 19 15 — 45
KLA 5 5 12 15 — 37
Bremerton (45) — Dunklin 23, Tarbox 8, Gelhaus 6, Levingston 4, Malaga 3, Gardner 1.
Klahowya (37) — Lueck 10, Fish 8, Dickey 7, Cooper 6, Hendricks 2, Hudson 2, Watson 2.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.