A second half surge sends Central Kitsap to a 41-39 win over Capital in a 3A boys basketball district game Friday at Foss High in Tacoma
By George Edgar, For West Sound SportsPlus
TACOMA — For the better part of three quarters, the Central Kitsap Cougars had trouble getting their shots to fall and solving the zone defense of Capital in their loser-out West Central District playoff game at Foss High School.
But in the second half, CK came alive and got key shots to fall and finally break the will of Capital in a 41-39 comeback victory Friday night.
The win sends Central Kitsap (17-7) to the regional round of 16. The Cougars haven’t been a part of the Sweet 16 since 2004, when they finished fifth in state under former coach Tim Fryer in the Class 4A tournament. They will play for fifth and sixth place on Saturday against Timberline/Spanaway Lake at Rogers High School at 12 p.m.
“This is amazing,” said CK guard Colby White, who was the recipient of a Gatorade bath in the winning locker room. “In my first two years, we lost. Now, it’s amazing. I’m so proud of our guys, they all stepped up to win.”
The game didn’t start out that way, as Capital came out in a zone and frustrated CK’s offense. Even though CK had some good shots, they didn’t fall. Defense ruled the first half as Capital led 17-8 at halftime.
“We came out so tight,” said CK coach Scott McMinds. “Capital never ever plays zone. We haven’t been playing against man. So, we were going to do this, do that. It took the kids a while to make an adjustment.
“To Capital’s credit, they threw us off. Mentally, we knew what we wanted to do then had to throw it all out and restart. They played a zone we haven’t seen. To my coaching staff’s credit, we fought, kept working, kept trying and the kids did it.”
CK’s offense finally came alive in late in the third quarter, as White and Maurice Green hit back-to-back threes to cut the lead to 26-23, and their student section, mostly quiet in the game, finally began to come alive.
“In the second half, we started hitting our shots,” said CK post Ian Massey. “We made our plays, and hit our shots. We just played hard.”
In the fourth, CK tied the game at 32-32 on a three-pointer by Green, then another three by JoJo Johnson for a 35-34 lead with 2:12 remaining. Green followed with two more baskets for a 39-34 lead with 38.2 seconds left.
Both Green and White finished with 12 points each.
“Capital is like Virginia, they don’t like playing from behind,” McMinds said. “They don’t like to speed up, that’s not their game. They want to grind you and grind you.”
The loss ended Capital’s season at 16-7, with CK taking two of three games from this season.
“Once we knew we had them on the ropes,” McMinds added, “when we took the lead.”
Now CK will headed to regionals for the first time since the regionals returned in 2011.
“Just being there, we got a ton of young guys,” McMinds said. “This is such a great experience for them.”