South Kitsap head coach John Callaghan celebrates with the game ball commemorating his 300th career win. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

South Kitsap head coach John Callaghan celebrates with the game ball commemorating his 300th career win. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

John Callaghan gets win No. 300 over Bellarmine

South Kitsap took down the Lions 36-30 in a defensive duel

PORT ORCHARD — It wasn’t the prettiest way to hit a nice round number, but the Wolves came through for their head coach in the clutch, defeating Bellarmine Prep 36-30 on Thursday night to give John Callaghan his 300th career win.

Callaghan passed Bainbridge’s Tom Paski for fifth on the all-time West Sound boys basketball wins list in a 56-47 win over Emerald Ridge on Jan. 15, setting him up to get No. 300 at home with a one-win Lions team coming to town.

And while Callaghan hasn’t been outwardly focused on the milestone number, the players, fans and his assistant coaches were certainly prepared for the big night. A commemorative game ball awaited him at center court following the game, which was followed by a water shower from the players downstairs in the locker room.

“It was pretty much the same message as every game,” said junior forward Kyler Kelso. “But everyone knew in the back of their head it was a big game.”

It was Kelso’s clutch 3-pointer from well beyond the arc late in the third quarter that gave the Wolves a 12-point lead and enough of a cushion to withstand an eventual fourth quarter comeback by Bellarmine.

Guards Eli Mackie and Cutter Pace had kept their best player, point guard Charles Elzie completely bottled up for three quarters, but he finally got on the board in the fourth, putting up eight points.

“Eli and Cutter both did a really good job on him,” Callaghan said.

The Lions scored 16 in all in the fourth quarter, more than they had in the entire game up to that point, but the Wolves had a little magic leftover to preserve the victory.

Kelso drilled another big triple from the left baseline midway through the fourth to give South Kitsap a 31-20 lead. Eventually, Bellarmine had to intentionally foul and the Wolves were cool and calm from the free throw line. DeAnte Ward and Riley Escolta combined to hit five of their seven attempts down the stretch to keep Bellarmine at bay.

Ward finished with a game-high 12 points for South Kitsap in the low-scoring defensive battle.

“I think we were both very strong on the defensive end and that kind of controlled the game a lot,” Kelso said. “Props to them, they played great defense tonight.”

The win improved Callaghan’s career record to 300-179, but the head ball coach is already focused on the team’s remaining slate of games, which is favorable. The Wolves play Graham-Kapowsin twice, Sumner twice, Rogers and Puyallup. A sweep of Emerald Ridge, currently seventh in the SPSL, has removed the possibility of a tiebreaker with them, and a good record through their final six games should put the team into the district playoffs in what is believed to be Callaghan’s final season.

“That Emerald Ridge game put us in a good spot,” Callaghan said.

South Kitsap 36, Bellarmine Prep 30

BP 7 5 2 16 — 30

SK 9 8 11 7 — 36

Bellarmine Prep (30) — Elzie 8, Monroe 6, Hanly 4, Meines 4, Summers 4, Garcia 3, Smith 1.

South Kitsap (36) — Ward 12, Kelso 9, Morkert 7, Escolta 5, Mackie 2, Pace 1.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.

South Kitsap senior DeAnte Ward drives the lane against Bellarmine. He led the Wolves with 12 points in a 36-30 victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

South Kitsap senior DeAnte Ward drives the lane against Bellarmine. He led the Wolves with 12 points in a 36-30 victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

More in Sports

Brian Cox, a former South Kitsap basketball and baseball player, takes over the boys basketball program from his former coach John Callaghan.
Brian Cox, CJ Scott set to guide South Kitsap’s basketball programs

PORT ORCHARD — When the South Kitsap boys and girls basketball teams… Continue reading

Brianna Hoffman
Athlete of the Week: Brianna Hoffman, North Kitsap girls swimming

Brianna Hoffman had a difficult 2019, but things were looking up as… Continue reading

South Kitsap girls, North Kitsap boys victorious in season openers

LACEY — The Wolves trailed by 13 at halftime in their season… Continue reading

Poulsbo swim team expands to Olympic Aquatic Center

The Poulsbo Piranhas swim team has expanded its competitive swim program to… Continue reading

Athlete of the Week: Celina Madrid, South Kitsap girls soccer

No matter the opponent, no matter how big the moment was, Celina… Continue reading

Klahowya’s Rachel Bailey is the Olympic League 1A MVP for the second year in a row. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Olympic All-League volleyball: Klahowya’s Rachel Bailey nabs another MVP

Klahowya’s Rachel Bailey has been named the Olympic League 1A’s Most Valuable… Continue reading

The Central Kitsap Cougars with their third place trophy — their first in program history. They beat Lakeside 1-0 in the third place match. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Central Kitsap beats Lakeside to finish third at the 3A state tournament

PUYALLUP — Senior captain Marielle Arnold predicted her team would be ready… Continue reading

Paris Agana scored her fourth goal of the postseason in the semifinal match against Lake Washington. The Cougars lost 5-2. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Cougars can’t overcome unlucky breaks, lose to Lake Washington in 3A semifinals

Central Kitsap plays 10 a.m. Saturday for third place

Tim French coached North Kitsap’s volleyball team for 16 seasons and had a record of 269-100. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
North Kitsap’s Tim French announces his retirement from coaching

POULSBO — Nearly every November for the past eight years, North Kitsap… Continue reading

Colton Bower led North Kitsap with 1,345 passing yards, 1,094 rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
2A, 3A, 4A all-league football teams: NK’s Colton Bower snags Olympic League MVP

North Kitsap quarterback Colton Bower can add another accolade to his growing… Continue reading

Klahowya libero Maile Lueck embraces her teammate Rachel Bailey (3) after winning their first set against Cascade Christian. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Klahowya’s historic season comes to an end in the 1A district tournament

SILVERDALE — The best and most successful season in Klahowya volleyball history… Continue reading