PORT ORCHARD — A young South Kitsap team struggling from the floor was looking for someone to jump-start their offense Dec. 19 against Graham-Kapowsin and the answer came from one of their veteran players.
Junior point guard Areeza Amian scored seven of her 13 points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers midway through that helped turn a razor-thin margin into a comfortable lead for South Kitsap. The Wolves went on to win 45-38 and raise their record to 3-3.
Amian, who finished with six rebounds and two steals in addition to her 13 points, quickly went from being one of the youngest players on the team — the Wolves had five seniors and two juniors on the team — to one of the oldest in a year’s time.
“I used to be the youngest one, messing around,” Amian said. “Now I have to be the serious one, making sure everyone is ready for the games and not distracted.”
Now she is one of the players in charge of guiding a group of talented youngsters who are receiving a trial by fire this year. Against Graham-Kapowsin, two freshman — Kiki Prudhomme and Alycia Loudermilk — started while a third, Justyne Niemann, came off the bench. And this has been typical for the Wolves this season.
Prudhomme entered the game as the team’s leading scorer with 9.6 points per game and she raised that average on Thursday. She finished with a team-high 14 points as well as seven rebounds and six steals. Prudhomme also hit some key free throws down the stretch.
“They’re getting more comfortable out there,” said head coach CJ Scott. “They’re a good group, we just need to button some things up, find our identity.”
Defensively, the key was to stop Graham-Kapowsin forward Jennie Goldsberry. Standing at six feet tall, she created a tough matchup for the smaller Wolves, so they went after the Eagles’ frontcourt hoping to cause some turnovers. The Wolves ended up with 12 steals, though Goldsberry would eventually get her opportunities and finish with a game-high 21 points.
“We tried to turn up the pressure in the half-court,” Scott said. “We thought their guards might not be able to handle the pressure.”
The game was close most of the way through until the Wolves caught fire in the fourth quarter. South Kitsap held a two-point lead after the first quarter and Graham-Kapowsin led by one at halftime and after three quarters.
But Amian found her range with her two 3-pointers from the left wing. Prudhomme’s last field goal gave South Kitsap a 10-point lead. Niemann and Peyton Byrd also hit key baskets in the final quarter.
“It’s a little frustrating because we have not consistently shot the ball well this year,” Scott said. “In practice, we’re a really good shooting team.”
South Kitsap will continue playing over the holidays in Tacoma. The team will participate in the T-Town Throwdown at Wilson High School Dec. 26-28.
South Kitsap 45, Graham-Kapowsin 38
GK 5 12 12 9 — 38
SK 7 9 11 18 — 45
Graham-Kapowsin (38) — Goldsberry 21, Tolson 6, Villagomez 6, Williams 3, Catlett 2.
South Kitsap (45) — Prudhomme 14, Amian 13, Niemann 6, Byrd 3, Millet 3, Spandler 3.