Central Kitsap lost to Lincoln, 77-58, in a 3A district boys basketball game Tuesday and will host Peninsula Thursday

TACOMA — The Central Kitsap Cougars gave the Lincoln Abes everything they could in the first half but didn’t have enough in the second as the Abes pulled away in a 77-58 win Tuesday night in a 3A district boys basketball game at Washington High School.

There were 10 lead changes in the first period and three more in the second period before the Abes started to assert themselves on the boards and pull away. Lincoln stretched its five-point lead to 15 points by the end of the first half, 44-29.

Central Kitsap will play at 7 p.m. Thursday at home in the first round and can win three straight to earn a regional berth. A win in Tuesday’s game would have put the Cougars straight into the district quarterfinals. Instead, they’ll head back into the first round with the goal of winning three straight to earn a trip to regionals.

Central Kitsap guard Colby White drives past the defense of Lincoln’s Parker Anthony during a 3A district boys basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at Washington High School. Lincoln won 77-58. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

“I’m really proud of my guys,” Central Kitsap coach Scott McMinds said. “If you take out the second quarter we’re right there. We actually won two quarters. I was proud of the effort but that’s a different level of intensity that we don’t see from night to night.”

McMinds added it wasn’t just intensity, but strength, physicality and Lincoln shot well. 

“It was a buzzsaw.”

Lincoln shot 69 percent for the game and were 22-of-28 from the free-throw line. Central shot 57 percent from the field, 55 percent from 3-point range, and were 8-of-14 from the line.

The Cougars chances dimmed in the second half with unforced errors and a lack of rebounding on both sides of the court.

Central Kitsap senior guard Colby White, who was named the South Sound Conference MVP, said there was nothing they could do go get their inside game going.

“We just haven’t faced that type of pressure and that height before,” he said, adding they won’t face that type of team until deeper into the district tournament. “We’ll know how to come out against it.”

Central held an 18-15 lead after the first period as the Cougars were able to match Lincoln’s shooting. Maurice Green and White each had six points, Ethan Searer contributed four points and Jay Tolentino-Balagtas added a layup to lead CK early.

Central Kitsap forward Ethan Searer shoots over the defense of Lincoln’s Gabarri Johnson during a 3A district boys basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, at Washington High School. Lincoln won 77-58. (Annette Griffus/West Sound SportsPlus)

The Cougars were up 19-17 in the second period before Parker Anthony of Lincoln drained a 3-pointer to take the lead 20-19. CK answered with a 3 and the lead, 22-20, before Anthony’s 3 followed to put Lincoln back in charge, 23-22. 

Central Kitsap never saw the lead again as the Abes reeled off 19 points before halftime and outscoring the Cougars 29-11. White finished with 18 points, Jo Jo Johnson had 13 points, Green, a SSC second-team nominee, chipped in 14 points and was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and Searer added 13 points. 

“I think we really tried to stay in our own game and not speed it up, but there’s a part of it where you have to get after it and play as hard as you can play and hope to match them,” said Searer, who was named a SSC honorable mention. “They did do that us a couple times. It’s amazing how fast they put points on the board.”

Searer said he’s looking forward to playing at home Thursday.

“We’re feeling pretty confident. We played them twice and beat them but you can’t be complacent,” he said of Peninsula. “We’re feeling pretty good.”

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