Defense reigns as Olympic knocks off Steilacoom

The Sentinels were held under 40 points for the first time this season.

EAST BREMERTON — It wasn’t the prettiest game you’ll ever see, but an effective Olympic defense put the clamps on Steilacoom Dec. 28, giving the Trojans another victory against a 2A South Puget Sound League opponent.

The Trojans (8-3) did a good job of giving the Sentinels relatively few clean looks at the basket, especially in the paint, and became the first team to hold Steilacoom (5-5) to under 40 points this season. And the offense gave just enough for Olympic to pick up a 44-37 victory.

“Defensively, I thought we played really well tonight,” Olympic head coach Devin Huff said. “We threw some things out we’ve been working on that we haven’t seen in a game scenario yet.”

Olympic is now 5-1 against non-league opponents — 2-1 against SPSL teams — with the only loss coming by two points against a talented Fife team in the season opener. Olympic’s non-league schedule concludes Dec. 29 against an always well-prepared 6-3 Clover Park team.

Keaton Dean led Olympic with a game-high 17 points and much of its offensive success was tied to the ability to penetrate the middle of the floor, despite Steilacoom’s concentrated effort to close off the area. But good ball movement at the right times helped the Trojans break through the clutter created by the Sentinels.

“We knew they were going to play a zone, pack it in a little bit, and that continues to be a little bit of a bug-a-boo for us,” Huff said. “But I thought we executed well down the stretch, got better ball movement down the stretch and consequently got better looks.”

On the defensive side, only junior wing Torrey Cady, who struck for 15 points, had success against the Trojans. However, some rebounding troubles did resurface. In one sequence in the third quarter, Steilacoom came up with four consecutive offensive rebounds on one possession. But as they did all game, the Trojans did well to limit the quality of their offensive opportunities and Steilacoom did not score.

“We talked about that after the game, that continues to be an issue for us,” Huff said.

The Sentinels took a 33-32 lead early in the fourth quarter when senior Eric Layton converted on a jump shot, but the offense came alive shortly thereafter with an 8-0 run that effectively put the game on ice.

All alone on a fast break, Dean scored on a layup and then hit the subsequent foul shot. On the next possession, Evan Turnquist drilled a big 3-pointer from the top of the key and then Jaiden Mosley came up with a steal and went coast-to-coast for the basket. A one-point deficit became a seven-point lead in a matter of moments.

The defense stood tall down the stretch, holding Steilacoom to just six points in the final frame.

Olympic 44, Steilacoom 37

Steilacoom 13 8 10 6 — 37

Olympic 10 19 3 12 — 44

Steilacoom (37) — Cady 15, Hines 9, Asaeli 4, Shird 4, Martin-Banks 3, Latham 2.

Olympic (44) — Dean 17, Mosley 9, Turnquist 8, Dower 3, Morgan 3, Barron 2, Landis 2.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at