SILVERDALE — Central Kitsap had an opportunity to jump up to near the top of the league standings with a tough opponent in Gig Harbor in town on Thursday night.
It was a tense, tight game that featured a wild ending, but the Cougars came up just short against the Tides, losing a 50-49 contest.
Colby White hit a pair of free throws with four seconds left to cut the deficit to one and Central Kitsap even managed a steal on an errant inbound pass, but a long shot fell short as the final buzzer sounded.
“I’m never going to say one win or one loss is bigger than the next,” said Central Kitsap head coach Scott McMinds. “To me, it’s about the journey and what we’re doing as a team and I wants us to keep getting better. Obviously something like this stings a little bit, but that’s the motivation you need for getting better.”
White scored a game-high 25 points and sizzled throughout the second half. He hit his first five field goal attempts in the third quarter as part of a 19-6 run that pulled the Cougars out of a hole and converted his final four free throw attempts.
But the Tides made another run and the game was close the rest of the way. Zach Toglia’s layup gave Gig Harbor a 45-42 lead with 1:17 to go. After a defensive stop, Toglia was fouled at the other end after getting an offensive rebound and putting up a shot.
The Tides completely dominated Central Kitsap on the boards, especially on the offensive end which allowed them to get plenty of second and third chances.
“It’s going to be a painful game for those boys to watch,” McMinds said.
Toglia hit his free throws to put the Tides up 47-42, but then Maurice Green hit a huge 3-pointer from the right wing with 13.2 seconds to go to pull the Cougars back within two. Toglia was fouled on the inbound and hit one free throw to extend the lead to three.
Gig Harbor then began to foul in order to keep the Cougars from getting a 3-point opportunity. Green hit both of his free throws with 7.3 seconds left. Once again, it was Toglia hitting both free throws to give the Tides a 50-47 lead.
On the next inbound, White immediately heaved up a shot as he knew he was going to be fouled. After a discussion, White was awarded the 1-and-1 bonus instead of three shots, which would have given Central Kitsap a chance to tie the game.
“At the end of the game, we did everything could to put ourselves in the position to win,” McMinds said.
Central Kitsap got a little help on Wednesday night as Capital and Shelton both lost their league games. Those results vaulted Gig Harbor into first place while the Cougars, along with three other teams now have three league losses.
Gig Harbor 50, Central Kitsap 49
GH 14 11 12 13 — 50
CK 6 11 19 13 — 49
Gig Harbor (50) — Toglia 17, Raquiza 14, D. Parrish 10, Porter 4, Owens 3, Brekke 2.
Central Kitsap (49) — White 25, Green 9, Searer 9, Strickland 4, Tolentino-Balagtas 2.
Gig Harbor girls pull away from Cougars in the second half
The Cougars trailed by just one at halftime, but Gig Harbor scored 19 points in the third quarter to help them pull away to a 46-28 victory.
Pono Fuiava led Central Kitsap with ten points, but was forced to play limited minutes in the second half due to foul trouble.
Amaya Saunders added four points for the Cougars while Charlize Katz, Alexandra Neumann and Lecia Sincere each chipped in three.
Gig Harbor 46, Central Kitsap 28
GH 7 8 19 12 — 46
CK 5 9 6 8 — 28
Gig Harbor (46) — Young 14, McReynolds 9, Peschek 7, Edwards 6, Mamea 6, No. 42 (not listed on roster) 2, Berry 1, Olmstead 1.