Sequim’s boys basketball team won a thriller against the Central Kitsap Cougars on Jan. 3, beating the 3A team in a 57-55 slugfest of a game that went down to the final seconds.
Freshman forward Isaiah Moore led the scoring for the Wolves with 16 points, adding in 13 rebounds to earn his fourth double-double of the season, as well as two blocks and a steal.
Erik Christiansen added 13 points and eight rebounds, and Riley Chen added a trio of 3-pointers to score nine points.
Point guard Dallin Despain, who scored four points, came up huge on the defensive end with three steals and three blocks.
Another freshman, Cole Smithson, scored just two points on the night but they were two crucial points, coming from the free throw line with less than a minute to play to at that point push the score to 54-50.
Moore added two free throws to push Sequm’s lead to 56-50, but the CK Cougars rallied to score five points in the final 30 seconds to set up a chance to win at the buzzer. A desperation heave from Colby White soared wide, however, and the Wolves hung on for a big non-league win.
“(This win) feels really good, especially as a smaller school,” Smithson said after the game. “We brought it out there and showed just who we are.”
Wolves head coach Greg Glasser indicated that Smithson has been earning more of a role in his rotation after the freshman forward had a strong showing at the Cloud 9 Classic in December, and he earned that trust Friday night.
Smithson had played solid minutes in the second quarter, but was brought back into the game with just over a minute left to go when Hayden Eaton fouled out, setting up the chance for his big free throws moments later.
“It’s a little nerve-wracking,” Smithson said of getting more varsity playing time. “I’m a freshman and am already starting on junior varsity, and now playing a little bit more on varsity. But my teammates encourage me, and they kept me fighting tonight. It’s still fun, though. Hitting those free throws and (silencing the Central Kitsap fans) felt really good.”
Glasser was pleased with Smithson’s play, and also with his team’s defense as a whole, particularly against White, whom Glasser called “probably the best point guard we’ll see this season.”
The Wolves kept the normally free-scoring White to his second-worst scoring output of the season and were able to keep the normally physical guard quiet in other phases of his game; he registered zero assists, steals or rebounds for the first time this season.
Still, Glasser said he wants to see his team work on closing out games better and limiting teams from getting second-chance points from offensive rebounds or turnovers, something the Wolves have struggled with this season. They held a 31-26 lead going into halftime, but their shooting and work on the boards went quiet in the third quarter. The game was tied at 37 going into the fourth quarter, setting up the sprint to the finish that the Wolves were able to come out on the right side of.
“There’s a lot of things we’re still working on,” Glasser said. “We’re a pretty young team, and we’ve gotta clean up our mistakes. But I’m excited about this win, and glad to get some good momentum heading into the North Kitsap game.”
The Wolves were scheduled for a game on Jan. 7 away to the North Kitsap Vikings (2-1 in the Olympic League, 8-2 overall). Results were not available at press time.
They return home to the Rick Kaps Gym to play the Olympic Trojans (1-2, 2-8) at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 10, then play the second game of a double-header with the girls team against the Port Angeles Roughriders (3-0, 8-2) at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 14.
Sequim then heads out on the road to face the Kingston Buccaneers (0-4, 0-9) on Jan. 17, then host the North Mason Bulldogs (1-3, 2-8) on Jan. 22 before heading down to Bremerton to face the Knights on Jan. 24.