By AARON MANAGHAN
For the majority of the game, Central Kitsap played as well as boys hoops coach Tim Fryer’s seen.
“We played 28 really great minutes (Wednesday) night,” Fryer said. “Probably our best 28 minutes all season.”
But the final four minutes of Wednesday’s West Central District III boys basketball tournament opener proved to be the most important in the game, as CK went from a 54-49 lead to a 62-56 loss.
“It was a good ball game all the way through,” Fryer said. “We didn’t take care of the ball. We had six turnovers in the last four minutes.”
The loss meant Central Kitsap (14-9 overall) traveled to Foss High School in Tacoma last night to battle Puyallup, but results from that contest were unavailable at press time.
Fryer said to be successful in that loser-out contest, the Cougars just need to stay focused and calm.
“Just work hard, play our game,” he said. “It’s a team we don’t know too much about, so we’ll worry about what we do and see if we can’t come out in the win column this time.”
The loss in the opening round at districts was CK’s fifth straight overall. And while Fryer acknowledges the timing of the slide isn’t great, he believes his team can pull out.
“We’re just having trouble finishing right now,” he said. “We need to relearn how to win. It’s a bad time of year to do that. I think they’re up to it though.”
Brandon Durham led the way for the Cougars on Wednesday, scoring a team-high 19 while Andrew Braun added 12. Cody Thurmond, in his third game back at point guard for CK, added 11. Thurmond is returning from a broken hand, and Fryer said the transition back into the rotation is still ongoing.
“He’s played better in each game,” Fryer said. “He’s been working out hard on the side, but it’s a little different than playing.”
While this wasn’t the late-season run the Cougars envisioned after starting the season 9-0.
“I think we’re a little bit lost right now,” Fryer said. “We’re trying to find ourselves. But they’re trying really hard.”
If Central Kitsap won last night, they’ll battle the loser of Bellarmine and Decatur Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Foss High School.