By AARON MANAGHAN
It hasn’t taken long to stoke the flames of the latest Central Kitsap School District crosstown rivalry.
Since both joining the Olympic League a season ago, Klahowya and Olympic have had some exciting hardwood battles. Tuesday’s match between the two squads was no exception.
And while Klahowya (7-5 overall, 5-3 in league play) won 64-51, it wasn’t until the third quarter that things really opened up.
“It was fun,” Klahowya coach Scott McMinds said. “They hit threes, we hit threes. It was a good old-fashioned shootout.”
The game started tight, with the team’s exchanging the lead 10 times (not include four ties) in the first half alone. After the Eagles took a the lead at 15-12, the Eagles went on a 7-5 run to open up the first quarter slightly at 22-17. The Trojans rallied back however, tying the game back up at 24 a piece.
A big rebound from Oly’s Joey Johnston and subsequent outlet pass to Vaughn Jones gave the Trojans (3-9, 3-6) a 29-27 lead. It didn’t last long however, as Eagle Caleb Leavitt drilled an open three-pointer to put Klahowya up 30-29. Less than 10 seconds later, Johnston iced a three to put Oly back up by two. Leavitt answered with another three about 10 seconds later, putting the Eagles up again.
The exchange continued through the half, with the Eagles building a 38-34 halftime lead.
“We weren’t getting back and they were just working and running,” McMinds said to Oly’s credit. “They scored a lot in the open court.”
McMinds said the Eagles needed to slow the Trojans’ transition game to have a shot at widening their lead.
“We went into a zone to try to pressure them a little bit that way,” he said. “We did a pretty good job with that.”
The result was an 18-4 third-quarter advantage to the Eagles that made the difference in the otherwise close game. Leavitt said the switch wasn’t the only reason the Eagles jumped ahead.
“We know we have great speed,” Leavitt said. “We’ve got Darell (Newman) and Andre (Moore). They’re the best point guards in the league, both of them. Flat out, they can steal the ball from anyone.”
The tandem combined for five steals in Tuesday’s win, while Brad Stockton added two more.
Leavitt led all scorers in the game with 21, while Moore poured in 18 and Zumdieck scored 15. Johnston led all Trojan scorers with 15 and Jones added 13.
“For me, it’s calming down,” Leavitt said of getting on rolls like the one he was on while trading threes with Johnston. “I get too pumped up. When I calm down, it seems to happen better.”
Andre Henderson also had a strong game inside for the Trojans, scoring nine points, many of which came as the Trojans tried to narrow the gap in the fourth quarter. While Oly took the fourth by a 13-8 margin, it wasn’t enough to complete the comeback.
“We got a little tired and got complacent with the ball, kind of let them back in it,” McMinds said of the fourth quarter. “But we had good composure at the end.”
The Eagles got strong inside play from both Stockton and Gene Armendariz defensively, as both pulled down several boards while Armendariz had a couple big blocks as well.
“Gene and Brad had very good games inside,” McMinds said. “I was very pleased with their contributions. That’s why it’s such a great team win.”
With the win snapping a three-game losing streak, the Eagles are now fourth overall and third amongst the league’s 2A teams, trailing Port Townsend (11-1, 7-1) and North Mason (6-2, 11-2).
For the success to continue, McMinds said the team will have to stay focused.
“We’ve got a long way to come,” he said. “We had to get back on track. And it doesn’t get any easier.”
And as Leavitt added, the game plan won’t be changing anytime soon.
“We’ve got to get one a roll,” he said. “Just keep pushing the ball. We’ve got Darell and Andre. It’d be stupid not to.”
The Eagles topped Bremerton in a snow-rescheduled game 68-60 Thursday. Leavitt scored 23 to lead the Eagles, which built a 35-20 first-half lead.
The Olympic girls hoops squad moved closer to defending its Olympic League title with a drubbing of Klahowya, 62-13, on Tuesday. The win gave the Lady Trojans (8-4, 7-2) the sweep against the Eagles (0-9, 0-12) for the season.
Nicole Buhl paced the Trojans, which opened the game on a 14-3 first-quarter run before expanding the lead to 31-5 at the half. Buhl finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Samantha Thorton scored a dozen for Olympic and Melissa Kelstrup added eight.
Jordan Dixon led the Eagles with nine points.
The Eagles didn’t have much more luck Thursday in a rescheduled contest with Bremerton, falling 75-33. Dixon scored 15 for the Eagles.
Olympic battled Sequim at home last night but results were unavailable at press time.