Central Kitsap lost to Marysville-Pilchuck 63-48 at the 3A state boys basketball tournament Wednesday at the Tacoma Dome
By George Edgar, For West Sound SportsPlus
TACOMA — The Central Kitsap Cougars first appearance at state was a short but memorable one.
A good number of students and fans filled their section of the Tacoma Dome and cheered on the team, but in the end, the Marysville-Pilchuck were a bit bigger and faster than the Cougars.
The Tomahawks ended the Cougars season with a 63-48 win in the elimination round of the state 3A tournament Wednesday morning.
Marysville-Pilchuck, from the Western Conference, were able to have their way inside and outside against CK, as they took the Cougars out of their game plan early on.
CK tried to establish their inside game early, but the Tomahawks big men inside negated that.
“That’s what we wanted to do in this game,” said CK coach Scott McMinds. “I told the team, ‘This is Capital,’ except they’re strong and they can shoot. They play defense like Capital. On offense, they were efficient, and they liked hitting their threes.”
M-P led 16-4 after one quarter. CK did make some headway in the second quarter, going 6-of-6 at the foul line and hitting a pair of threes to make it 24-16 at halftime.
“They matched up well inside,” McMinds said. “They didn’t let us inside. When we did, we were not efficient. They kept us on the perimeter.”
The Tomahawks kept building on their lead throughout the rest of the game, finding the range from behind the three-point line. Cameron Stordahl hit all three 3-pointers in the quarter en route to a game high 25 points. Aaron Kalab had 13 and Luke Dobler added 11 for the Tomahawks (22-3).
Near the end, McMinds put in his bench players, but Colby White stayed in the game to finish his high school career. The South Sound Conference player of the year led CK with 17 points. White and Elijah LaBow were CK’s two seniors playing their final game.
“It’s a blessing to be here in this atmosphere,” White said after the game. “I’m so glad I got to be part of this team.”
Most of their key players, like Ian Massey, Ethan Searer, Jojo Johnson, Maurice Green, Jay Tolentino-Balatgas, and Rhylan Ferguson, will return next year, with valuable experience of playing at state.
CK finished their season at 18-9. They finished second in the South Sound Conference behind Gig Harbor, and battled through the consolation rounds to make it to regionals, where they defeated Shorecrest to advance to the Tacoma Dome for their first state appearance since 2004. They were also the first Kitsap team to get to Tacoma since Bremerton made the 3A tournament in 2010.
“Some people didn’t think we would make it this far,” White said. “Now we’re taking all this in.”