It may not have been the way they wanted their Senior Night to go, but South Kitsap’s graduating 12th graders still had a night to remember on Tuesday.
The boys basketball team knew it would be a tough night with a tenacious, athletic, sharp-shooting Gig Harbor team in town and missing two of their regular starters, but the five remaining seniors getting their names announced over the public address system as that night’s starters was a wonderful culmination of four years spent in the South Kitsap program.
Sergio Roberts, Rylan Zietlow, Scott Briggs, Ryan Lay and Benen Shoquist took the floor together and got the bulk of the playing time. Senior forward Brayden Segerman is out for the rest of the season, though he was able to take the floor on crutches during the regular pregame Senior Night ceremony.
It’s been an unusual year for South Kitsap as most of its seniors have spent little-to-no time as varsity players since the program has been stacked with upperclassmen over the past couple of years. But some of the program’s younger players have seen significant floor time this year. Segerman was the only returning starter among the group of six.
“We finally got our shot. It feels good,” Zietlow said of making the varsity squad after serving as a swing player last season.
And although the Tides ended up with a comfortable 29-point victory, the elder Wolves helped the team hang around for a while.
Roberts got off to a fast start, hitting a 3-pointer on the team’s opening possession and following up that shot with a strong move to the hoop that resulted in a basket and a foul. Roberts hit the free throw and South Kitsap led 6-3 early.
Zietlow and Lay also hit 3-pointers in the first quarter, matching Gig Harbor shot-for-shot. The Wolves trailed by just a point at the end of the first quarter.
“It was a chance for some of those guys that didn’t really get to start or didn’t get to show what they have to really put it out there on the floor,” Roberts said.
Scott Briggs got in on the action in the second quarter, converting a pair of field goals, including a short jumper that cut Gig Harbor’s lead to 23-21. The Tides’ 2-3 zone was intent on taking away those shots underneath, but Briggs was able to use his big 6-foot-5 frame to power through.
However, the Tides got hot midway through the second quarter and went on a 10-0 run that gave them a 33-21 lead. Gig Harbor went on to shoot 43 percent from 3-point range to South Kitsap’s 15 percent. The visitors also out-rebounded the Wolves, 40-24.
“It’s been a really rough season. We haven’t gotten as many wins as we wanted,” Roberts said. “But it’s still been fun playing with all my brothers.”
The present eventually gave way to the future as talented youngsters such as Tayshawn Haygood, Kendryck Miller, Julius Slinger and Titus Liggins were able to get on the floor along with the seniors, who hope to help set up their young core for success in future seasons.
“I’ve been playing with this guy since middle school,” Zietlow said, motioning toward Roberts. “We’ve built a bond and I feel like that’s what we’re doing with these guys — trying to build that chemistry for the younger kids coming up.”
Gig Harbor 73, South Kitsap 44
Gig Harbor 16 23 18 16 — 73
South Kitsap15 14 6 9 — 44
Gig Harbor (73) — Toglia 20, Landram 13, Raquiza 9, Brekke 8, Parrish 8, Pickles 8, Born 4, Brown 3.