Knights fail to slay Cougars

It was supposed to be a battle between two of the top girls hoops teams in the Narrows League Bridge Division when the Central Kitsap Cougars met up with the Bremerton Knights. It was supposed to be a display of some superior team basketball, with both teams finding ways to get around each others’ schemes.

But that was before Megan Hoisington took over.

The CK junior forward had one of her best games ever for CK, racking up 29 points in the post to give CK the edge, 61-39 Wednesday in Bremerton. While the game was closer than the score indicates, once Hoisington took over, there was no looking back.

“Megan was hitting shot after shot for us,” CK coach Denise Baxter said. “I didn’t see anyone come up to challenge her. And she just kept shooting it.”

Bremerton (4-2, 0-1) led the tight contest 23-21 at the half, and stayed close early in the third quarter. But once CK (4-1, 1-0) got rolling about four minutes into the third, they never let up, finishing the game on a 14-2 run to seal the victory.

Bremerton coach Daniel McInnis said missing easy shots made most of the difference.

“(I’d like to see) a little bit of a half-court offense,” McInnis said. “We didn’t really shoot the ball well. That was probably our biggest thing. We missed lots of easy shots. The difference was they made those shots, we missed them.”

Bremerton applied strong pressure early, running a 2-3 press that created a lot of turnovers on the CK side. After trailing CK in the first quarter 12-9, Bremerton outscored CK 14-9 in the second quarter to nab the halftime lead, led by Jennifer Jacobs’ 8 first-half points.

“We did really well with putting pressure on and forcing them into turnovers,” McInnis said. “I don’t know if we just got tired or what. But early in the game, we threw them off balance.”

In the third quarter, the teams went back and forth, with CK building a 28-25 lead thanks to a pair of free throws by Amy Spieker about four minutes into the third. Bremerton’s Patricia Lewis got a free throw for the Knights, but that wold be their only score for the next two-and-a-half minutes as buckets by Kaitlin Poppe, Emily Zygmontowicz and Spieker put CK up 34-26. Jacobs tried to keeep the Knights afloat, hitting a nice shot on a good fading jumper. Cutting the score to 34-28, the Knights would never get closer. Hoisington would score 6 in the third frame, before sealing the deal with 15 fourth-quarter points.

McInnis said Bremerton let up in the second half, something he said the team can’t continue to do if they want to succeed in the Bridge Division.

“We played a lot better defensively and moved around (in the first half),” McInnis said. “I think we got lazy, we got tired. We started lowering our heads a little bit.”

Jacobs agreed, saying the Knights must be able to step up defensively. Jacobs led the Knights with 15 points. Jessica Bollinger added 8 in support for Bremerton.

“We just didn’t play defense the way we know how to,” Jacobs said. “We didn’t do what we’re supposed to do on offense or defense. It showed I think. We need to work on our defense mostly. And our plays, we weren’t running our plays.”

Baxter said CK was able to work hard inside to earn some boards, but could still open more space in the defensive post.

“With Bremerton, you’ve really got to get a body on them,” Baxter said. “They have the advantage on the boards if you don’t create rebounding space. On the defensive end, we still need to create more space.”

Coming off the loss, Jacobs said Bremerton will not make the same mistakes next time.

“I know most of us really wanted to win a lot,” she said. “We tried our best, but we could have played a lot better. I think next time we’ll want to beat them in their gym. We won’t want to lose again.”

Bremerton played North Kitsap Friday in an away game. Bremerton and CK will do battle again Friday, Jan. 21 at CK.

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