South Kitsap’s girls basketball team’s best season in years has come to an end after problematic offensive fundamentals and a hot-shooting senior led to a collapse and eventual 66-53 loss to Skyview Feb. 10.
The Wolves entered the 2022-23 season uncertain of where first-year head coach Anthony Lewis would lead the struggling program, which last enjoyed a winning season in 2015-16. But the Wolves had their best regular season since joining the South Puget Sound League.
They also claimed the No. 5 spot in the SPSL and the 10th seed headed into unfamiliar territory: a home playoff game. “They were amazing the whole year,” Lewis said. “They continuously prove people wrong, proving to themselves how good of a team they really are.”
Traveling to meet them was the Storm out of Vancouver, which had cooled off after an early season six-game winning streak and a 10-2 run from November to mid-January. But since that time, they had lost four of six games and claimed just the 15th seed in the district playoffs.
It was an electric scene in the Wolf Den as South Kitsap appeared to start in complete command, building a double-digit lead from good shot selection and a dominating defense that allowed just six first-quarter points.
But the offense became sloppy and tired, sending bad passes and losing control on fastbreaks. South Kitsap maintained a 32-23 halftime lead, but its struggles continued in the second half. The Storm took advantage of the mistakes and with 4:30 left to go, a three from senior Jordan Labrador-Hallett snatched the lead away for the first time all game.
“We might’ve just got tired,” Lewis said following the game, “kind of started forgetting where the shooters were, and that led to a couple easy threes. In those moments, we just couldn’t get back.”
SK scored just six points in the last quarter.
Labrador-Hallett finished with 27 points, 13 in the final period. Junior Kandyn Hagerty of SK fiished with 13 points and junior Grace Degarimore had 12.
Lewis called it a disappointing end to the season, but he’s optimistic for future seasons. “They have absolutely nothing to hang their heads about this season,” he said.