Klahowya cruises past Chimacum, 73-26 | Boys basketball

SILVERDALE — There was very little that didn’t go Klahowya’s way in its first victory of the season. Seemingly ever pass was crisp, every jumper touched nothing but net and friendly bounces off the glass were plentiful.

It was the kind of game of which every coach dreams, but rarely happens. Led by six 3-pointers from junior Gabe Garlit, the Eagles (1-6) crushed Chimacum (0-5) in their first league game on Dec. 15, 73-26.

Garlit, who finished with a team-high 18 points, was hot from beyond the arc all game, connecting on six of his eight attempts.

“The coaches here have been telling me to shoot my shot,” Garlit said. “That’s all I did tonight, they were just falling for me.”

The contest was close only for the first few minutes of the first quarter as both teams settled in. After the Eagles took off on a 9-0 run midway through the quarter, they remained in firm control of the game the rest of the way.

Kickstarting the run was a pair of free throws by junior Jacob Kraft, and it was punctuated by an easy layup from sophomore Nicholas Lewis; John Hartford also drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing. By the time the dust had cleared, Klahowya led 14-2, but the Eagles were just getting started.

“We’re starting to put things together,” Klahowya head coach Bryan Thoemke said. “We had players step up like Gabe Garlit, who was 6-for-8 from the 3-point line. We had a lot of fast break opportunities where we got the rebound and were able to kick it out.”

With such a large lead, it can be easy for teams to lose focus — especially against an undermanned Cowboys squad that only dressed seven players — but after some tough losses to open the season, the Eagles were locked in, making sure there was no letdown against their first 1A Olympic League opponent.

“You could see it tonight,” Thoemke said. “We’ve had five tough losses, but they really came out ready to play in their first league game.”

It was a tough night for Chimacum overall, aside from the play of Jesse Slagle. The sophomore guard single-handedly carried his team’s offense, scoring a game-high 20 points.

But Slagle’s heroics were few and far between as Klahowya continued to pour on the points. The Eagles scored 30 in the second quarter — an offensive boon for a team that had averaged 36 points per game over their first five contests.

And all nine of the Eagles that saw the floor — Garlit, Kraft, Lewis, Landon Betzing, John Hartford, Tim Coots, Gabriel Smith, Lucas Becker, and Garrett Betzing — scored at least one point.

The schedule continues with a game against Chief Kitsap Academy on Dec. 19 and two games in a tournament at Crescent High School in Port Angeles, before returning to league play during the first week of January against Port Townsend. The Eagles are hoping to keep the momentum going through the holiday season.

“They’re working hard every day,” Thoemke said. “They’re not giving up. This is a group of players that are going to keep fighting and playing hard, and they have the right attitude to get better.”

Klahowya 73, Chimacum 26

Chimacum 5 10 4 7 — 26

Klahowya 18 30 14 11 — 73

Chimacum (26) — J. Slagle 20, Diehl 2, Klaric 2, Williamson 2.

Klahowya (73) — Garlit 18, L. Betzing, 13, Hartford 12, Coots 9, Kraft 7, Smith 5, Becker 4, Lewis 4, G. Betzing 1.

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