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Knights come to an abrupt halt
Although Central Kitsap High School has used the Cougar as its mascot for years, after traveling to Bremerton Friday to keep their playoff chances alive against the Knights, they might want to change their nickname to the Surprisers.
The game started out normal enough, with both teams exchanging blows in fast-break-speed offense, yet the Cougars still jumped up to a 17-4 lead.
And they never slowed down, winning 74-53 and putting on a shooting clinic in the process.
I have played about 68 varsity games and have probably never seen a team shoot like that, Bremerton forward Noah Garguile said.
Marvin (Williams) was in everyones face, I was in everyones face, added Bremerton guard Zack Otis . They were just hitting. It was incredible. I have never even seen an NBA or college team shoot that well.
After the high-octane game, Bremerton coach Casey Lindberg walked by the Cougars locker room and told a couple of the visiting players that the game was closest thing to perfect he had ever seen.
With their win, the Cougars worked their way to a three-way tie with Shelton and Bremerton for the third and fourth spots in the Narrows League Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 22. Since the Cougars swept Shelton and the Highclimbers swept the Knights, Narrows League bylaws state that Shelton and CK get the nod while the Knights can only watch as the league tournament goes on without them on their home floor. By being No. 3, CK automatically qualifies for the district tournament.
Even though Central Kitsap missed only five shots in the first half, at one point in the second quarter, Bremertons coach Lindberg actually expected them to start missing.
We cut their lead to 23-19, Lindberg said. When we hit that I thought, OK, we are out of the woods, everything is cool, everyone is going to be fine. Then at halftime I told the guys, There is no way a team can blister the net all night like they did, they will start missing. And they didnt.
According to the numbers, CK shot 58 percent from outside the 3-point line (7-for-12), 58 percent from inside the arc (57.7) and 85 percent from the free-throw line (23-for-27). Bremerton shot 25 percent from 3-point range (5-for-20), 42 percent from 2-point range (14-for-33) and 71 percent from the stripe (10-for-14). CK played cleanly as well, creating only nine fouls to the Knights 21.
Providing the power was senior Lukas Henne. He broke out early, scoring 18 of his 21 points in the first half, while teammate Sam Weller added seven of his 13.
You couldnt do anything about it, said Williams, who brought down a game-high 27 points in the game and 12 of the Knights 21 rebounds. Thats what is frustrating. You put a hand up and you switch on defense and you do whatever you can, and they still make it.
During the second half, Williams regularly glanced at the scoreboard, searching for more momentum to turn the tables.
But it just didnt happen.
By the end of the third quarter, the Cougars wiggled their way to a 54-34 lead. Guard Marcus McKay started dropping in buckets, scoring five of his 12 points in the third.
The Knights boxed out on rebounds sure enough, but many times it seemed like the ball was bouncing the Cougars way.
Otis would foul them, Garguile said. And he would foul them hard, and they would throw it up and it would bounce on the rim about eight times and then fall in. You have got to give them a lot of credit. They were ready to play.
Henne said he has noticed a turnaround in his teams defense during the Cougars second run-through of the Bridge Division. That is where they had the second best record at 5-2, trailing only leaders South Kitsaps 7-0 mark, and worked their way out of the league cellar.
We didnt want our season to end without making the playoffs, Henne said. We just wanted to continue our season.