KINGSTON — The Buccaneers had escaped the third quarter with a two-point lead after a furious charge by Central Kitsap.
Needing to rally after a 13-3 run by the Cougars, seniors Lily Beaulieu and Avy Hiner answered the call.
Beaulieu opened the final frame by drilling a 3-pointer from the wing, which sparked a 16-0 run that also featured Hiner’s dominance underneath the hoop with a pair of baskets from the paint.
In all, the duo combined for 15 of Kingston’s 16 fourth-quarter points, propelling their team to a 59-49 win over Central Kitsap on Dec. 20. Beaulieu finished the game with a team-high 18 points and Hiner was right behind her with 16.
“We had worked so hard to that point,” Beaulieu said. “We knew we couldn’t let it slip away from us.”
The Buccaneers had learned a good lesson from their game against Sehome two nights earlier on Dec. 18 — down by 12 points at halftime, Kingston rallied back in the second half to defeat the Mariners, 45-43. Head coach Charles Deam’s advice to his team in the locker room that night: “12 points is nothing.”
“I told them the same thing tonight,” Deam said after the win over Central Kitsap. “We were up 12 and CK was probably in the locker room saying ‘12 points is nothing.’ It’s a game of runs, they’re going to eventually go on a run, we’re going to have to weather that storm and come back. I felt like they did that pretty good. They showed some mental toughness, they weathered that run and we went on a run of our own.”
Vanessa Davies was a big part of that third quarter run for Central Kitsap. The senior point guard scored nine of her game-high 24 points as she led the Cougars back from a 34-22 halftime deficit. Davies slashed her way to the basket on seemingly every possession, drawing fouls and then hitting her free throws. She was aided by fellow senior Olivia Krog, who scored consecutive baskets just before the period ended as part of a 13-point performance.
“They were a lot scrappier than I’ve seen them,” Deam said of his team’s opponent. “They hit some shots and they worked through our trap well and hit their open passes. They scrapped all night.”
But every time the Cougars found some momentum, Kingston was able to wrestle it away. Late in the second quarter, a pair of free throws by Krog brought Central Kitsap within nine, but on the next possession, Karliegh Gomez beat the halftime buzzer with a 3-pointer from the wing.
Kingston 59, Central Kitsap 49
Central Kitsap10 1219 8 – 49
Kingston 17 17 9 16 – 59
Central Kitsap (49) – Davies 24, Krog 13, Pilchard 6, Taylor 5, Neumann 1.
Kingston (59) – Beaulieu 18, A. Hiner 16, Gomez 10, Halady 6, Deam 5, Denning 2, E. Hiner 2.