In a battle of free throws, the South Kitsap High Wolves fell 64-48 to the Curtis Vikings in their home opener Dec. 13.
From the opening whistle, both teams emphasized stiff defense, constantly sending their opponents to the line.
The Vikings were able to capitalize. After the Vikings scored to take an early lead, James Buckley drove to the hoop to earn a foul and tie the score.
The two teams continued to trade the scoring lead, with Michael Willimas and Izaijha Byrd scoring baskets of their own. With 4 minutes to play in the first quarter, Curtis began to push ahead, going up 14-6.
With 2:30 to play in the quarter, Byrd broke up the Vikings scoring rampage with a steal and layup to make the score 14-8.
Buckley then tallied two more of his own, making the score 10-14, before being fouled on a drive to the hoop and adding another point to the scoreboard, bringing the Wolves within three.
The Vikings struck again at the end of the quarter with three quick points after Dalin Briggs was fouled after a lay-in and an extra shot.
With the score 17-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Wolves continued to stay within reach of the 3-0 team.
After a foul was called at the end of the first quarter, the Wolves’ Buckley shook his defender to score a quick jump shot, bringing the score to 17-13.
Byrd then added two of his own, keeping the Wolves within range of Curtis at 17-15. And the scoring didn’t stop there. On a quick in-bounds, Casey Lynch found Buckley in the key for an easy jump shot to tie the game. The Vikings, however, quickly responded with a three, putting Curtis back on top.
Two free throws extended the Vikings lead to 22-19, but the Wolves kept nipping at the Vikings’ heels.
An attempt by the Vikings’ Jared Franklin was blocked by Buckley, igniting the crowd in the South Kitsap gym.
But as fouls began to plague the Wolves, Curtis made increasing trips to the line, adding six more points in free throws.
To end the half, Buckley attempted a three-point shot that went long. Williams, however, made his way under the basket to collect the ball and put up two more points for the Wolves, making the score 28-24 as the teams headed to the locker room.
At the start of the third quarter, the Vikings began to extend their lead with a steady supply of jump shots and free throws.
Taylor Schmidt was able to get on the board for the Wolves with four points of his own, but an overload of fouls put South Kitsap in a difficult position in its attempt to whittle down the Vikings’ lead.
In the fourth quarter, 11 of 15 Curtis points came from the foul line.