Central Kitsap comes up short in overtime against Peninsula

SILVERDALE — It was a contest in which every point mattered.

Down by one with four seconds left in the game, a foul on senior Zion Archer, who was playing his final home game, sent him to the line for a pair of free throws.

He missed the first, but sank the second to tie the game.

The Seahawks speedily drove down the court, trying to ice the match with a miracle shot, but junior guard Austin McMinds was there to swat the ball away and send the game into overtime.

Although Peninsula pulled away in the extra session, the Cougars battled to the very end. The Seahawks prevailed 63-60 in Silverdale on Jan. 30, ensuring Central Kitsap would have the No. 5 seed out of the South Sound Conference in the upcoming district tournament and face Wilson in the first round on Feb. 8.

Central Kitsap head coach Scott McMinds said despite the close loss to a good team in the Seahawks, he was proud of his athletes.

“Proud of the guys, proud of their effort,” he said. “[They] didn’t quit, kept battling.”

McMinds said one of his team’s downfalls was not valuing each possession.

“We had careless turnovers, unforced errors, throwing the ball away, dribbling it too much when we should have been passing,” he said. “We did some really good things, though. That’s basketball — sometimes you’re going to make shots, sometimes you’re going to turn it over.”

Defense dominated the opening quarter and Peninsula held a 9-7 lead after the first eight minutes. The Seahawks took advantage of a couple of early miscues, but the acrobatic play of senior forward Dominic Telemaque spurred the start of a comeback. Telemaque drove hard to the basket and got up high for two consecutive field goals. He finished the game with a team-high 20 points.

“I felt like we went out there and played with a lot of heart, played with a lot of intensity,” senior forward Dylan McConnell said. He finished with 17 points in the contest.

Scrambling to halt the Cougars’ momentum, the Seahawks called a timeout. Archer contributed six points in the second quarter, tying the game at 18 with a long 3-pointer. The score teetered and tottered until halftime. Central Kitsap had the last basket, heading into the locker room with a 24-22 lead.

Archer and McConnell dominated the third on offense, scoring 13 of their team’s 15 points. The Cougars, leading by at least five on a few separate occasions, tried to yank the game away, but Peninsula came roaring back in the final quarter.

“I thought that we were going to take control of the game, but we were sloppy and lazy with the ball,” McMinds said. “We let them back into it and they got over the top. You can’t do that with good teams.”

With just under four minutes remaining in regulation, Central Kitsap hit a 3-pointer to bring the team within one point, giving the crowd hope. The Seahawks again tried to reclaim the win late, and eventually led 55-52, but Archer’s foul shot near the end of regulation meant there was more basketball to be played.

“We’ve got to minimize second-chance opportunities,” McMinds said of what his team needs to improve on going forward into the district tournament. “Too much ball-watching, not enough guys getting in position to get a rebound.”

— Jacob Moore is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at jmoore@soundpublishing.com.