With new leadership at the helm, the South Kitsap girls basketball team showed improvement from past years with a 1-1 start in the opening week of the season.
The Wolves finished the 2021-22 campaign with just three wins. It was the lowest win total in a season for the program during a six-year span without a winning record and one .500 record.
Looking to boost the win column and talent is first-year head coach Anthony Lewis. C.J. Scott coached the team from 2019-22 and continues as an assistant to Lewis.
“I think we can turn South Kitsap into a powerhouse,” he said. “That’s going to be the goal.”
The Wolves regular-season opener was a prime example of what Lewis is looking for. Against the 3A River Ridge Hawks in Lacey Nov. 30, SK dominated from the tipoff. The offense put on a show, scoring 25 points in the first quarter alone en route to a 68-14 win. The same intensity could be seen on the defensive side of the ball, as the Wolves only allowed five points or less in all four quarters.
All but one South Kitsap player put points on the board, with three finishing in the double figures. Leading the way were juniors Kamdyn Hagerty and Alyssa Watkins with 14 points apiece. Not too far behind was sophomore Grace Degarimore, whose solid play in the post earned her 12 points.
The game Dec. 2 was much tougher, as the Rogers Rams beat the home team 36-24.
Rogers finished second in last year’s South Puget Sound League 4A regular-season standings. The Rams also had no problems with the Wolves in their previous season, defeating them by 30 points.
At first, the Wolves seemed to hang with the Rams punch for punch. Degarimore continued to score inside the arc, and aggressive play from sophomore Mika Brady gave the Wolves a 16-10 lead nearing halftime.
A series of mistakes in the final minutes of the second quarter saw that lead slip away, however, along with some of the momentum. “It’s hard to keep the intensity from the first half and keep it going through the rest of the game,” he said.
As snow began to fall in Port Orchard, the offense went ice-cold, only scoring two points in the third quarter on a bucket from Brady. Only Brady and Degarimore scored in double-digits with 10 points each, and only two other players managed buckets. The team shot just 26% from the field.
Rogers was just more aggressive and tougher on defense, Lewis said. “We just let them beat us to 50-50 balls, and we just weren’t strong enough with the ball. They’d just rip it out of our hands,” he said.