SILVERDALE — Central Kitsap nailed down a big South Sound Conference win Wednesday night, overpowering a Shelton squad that struggled from the floor.
The Highclimbers shot just 24 percent as the Cougars defense stayed active on the perimeter to keep the normally excellent Shelton (4-3, 8-5) sharpshooters at bay. In their offensive half of the floor, four players scored double digit points as Central Kitsap (4-3, 8-4) cruised to a 57-35 victory.
Austin McMinds led the team with 14 points, while Owen Davies added 11 and Colby White and Elijah McGee each chipped in 10.
The two teams are now tied for third place in the South Sound Conference, with Central Kitsap now having the tiebreaker advantage.
The Cougars got off to a rip-roaring start in the first quarter. White hit his first three shots of the game and then McGee followed up a successful drive to the hoop with a steal and another layup. That sequence gave Central Kitsap a 12-4 lead and the team remained in firm control the rest of the way.
Both teams then went cold in the second quarter as a high number of fouls slowed the pace of the game and took both teams out of rhythm. Shelton would end up going 0-for-14 from the floor in that stanza.
“It was a really weird half because we shot a lot of free throws and it slowed the game down for both of us,” said Central Kitsap head coach Scott McMinds. “I think both teams like to get up and down a little bit.”
The second half belonged to the younger McMinds, who scored 12 of his game-high 14 points in the third and fourth quarters and was the most consistent offensive player. Davies added six in the third quarter and Central Kitsap was comfortably ahead 48-27 heading into the fourth.
But even as the Cougars pulled away, the defense continued to give up trips to the free throw line. They were fortunate that the Highclimbers failed to take advantage of those opportunities to get back into the game.
“We didn’t do a very good job with containing penetration and I think that our rotation got messed up because we had a lot of guys with fouls,” McMinds said.
However, the foul trouble that followed both teams into the second half also gave opportunities for players such as Elijah LaBow, Seth Tower, Maurice Green, Andrew Zetty, Cooper Watkinson and Thomas Madden to play significant minutes in an important league contest.
“I’m super proud of the kids, they come out every day, they work hard and it’s so fun to get everybody in because there are stretches where we don’t get to play everybody,” McMinds said. “That’s the reality of basketball. You only get to play five guys at a time.”
Central Kitsap 57, Shelton 35
SN 11 5 11 8 — 35
CK 20 10 18 9 — 57
Shelton (35) — Thompson 9, Forsman 7, Gall 6, Auld 3, Benson 3, Hitsman 3, Badillo-Brown 2, Goldsby 2.
Central Kitsap (57) — McMinds 14, Davies 11, McGee 10, White 10, LaBow 4, Madden 3, Watkinson 3, Tower 2.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.