By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Sequim's 6-foot-6 senior post Erik Christensen took the advice to heart, totaling 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots as the Wolves rallied in the second half for a 70-61 win over North Kitsap on Tuesday night.
“He opened up a different door there, it was fun to see,” Glasser said.
“We wanted him to be more aggressive at looking at the basket, and he took power dribbles and shot layins all night.”
From the opening tip, Sequim frontcourt players Christensen and Rory Kallappa established themselves in the low post, seeking entry passes from guards and looking for quick inside buckets or swinging the ball to open shooters on the perimeter.
Christensen had seven points and Kallappa four as the duo teamed to score 11 of the Wolves first 12 points of the game on their way to a 19-15 lead after the first quarter.
“We expected to see their big kid (6-foot-9 junior Calvin Dennis) tonight, but our goal as a team is to get the ball inside and work it out from there if need be,” Glasser said.
Dennis, who put up 15 points and hauled down 21 rebounds in an earlier matchup against Port Angeles, was forced to sit this game out after picking up two technical fouls in a nonleague game against Evergreen on Monday.
A 3-pointer by Sequim's Jesse Francis gave the Wolves a 24-17 lead with 4:05 left in the
Christensen then picked up his second foul and went to the bench until after halftime.
North Kitsap capitalized on his absence, going on a 15-3 run, including 10 straight points, highlighted by two 3-pointers by Michael Urquahart, to close out the half up 32-27.
Sequim went into a 2-3 zone defense early in the game to try and slow penetration into the lane from the Vikings quicker guards.
During its run, North Kitsap was able to center the basketball and find holes in the zone on the perimeter for some lightly guarded jumpers.
Ethan Graebner had five of his team-high 16 points in the second quarter for North Kitsap.
Sequim went right to Christensen out of the locker room, with the big man scoring quickly down low on their first possession of the second half.
At halftime, Glasser told his players to go back to what was working, on offense: their low-post inside to outside game.
“What was good to see is that we were able to execute some sets coming out of timeouts, that first possession we were able to go right down into [Christensen] and score, “Glasser said.
The Wolves took the lead 35-34 less than a minute later on a heady play by guard Vance Willis.
Willis drove slowly up the left side of the lane, stopped and leaned into his North Kitsap defender while tossing up a one-hand floater from about 8 feet.
The shot went in and Willis was able to draw the foul and make the free throw. He finished with 13 points
Alex Barry added his second 3-pointer of the quarter, this one a long bomb from the Wolf head logo on the left side of the court and Willis followed with a trey of his own to put Sequim ahead 43-36 with 2:45 to go in the third quarter.
Barry finished with 15 points and was active on the glass, finishing with 12 rebounds, five on offense.
As a team, Sequim notched 44 rebounds, 14 of them on offense to help keep possessions alive.
North Kitsap pulled to 43-42 on two 3-pointers from Brooks Ellingson before Christensen scored consecutive buckets and the Wolves' George Johnson scored on a layup off of a missed shot with five seconds left for a 49-44 lead heading to the fourth.
North Kitsap's Adam Lemmon allowed the Vikings to hang around in the final period, scoring seven of his 11 points before fouling out with 2:18 to play.
Kallappa knocked down two free throws for a 63-57 lead and the last of his 12 points.
Barry cemented the win for the Wolves with 1:43 to play. Finding himself all alone with the ball on the right wing, Barry recognized where he was on the court and stepped back behind the 3-point line to can the clincher.
Sequim will face their toughest stretch of the season, four consecutive road games, starting with Friday's tussle with rival Port Angeles (4-2 Olympic League, 6-2 overall).
“We've seen them play a couple of times and they are a very aggressive team,” Glasser said of the Roughriders.
“They like to attack the basket, they'll come after you in the full court defensively, they'll press and trap the whole 32 minutes and their energy level is very high.”
Glasser is looking forward to Friday's game.
“I expect an up and down, physical basketball game with a great atmosphere, a full house and a lot of fun.”
Sequim 70, North Kitsap 61
North Kitsap 15 17 12 17— 61
Sequim 19 8 22 21— 70
North Kitsap (3-3, 5-4)
Graebner 16, Urquahart 12, Lemmon 11, Ellingson 10, Perry 9, Benson 3.
Sequim (5-1, 7-3)
Christensen 17, Barry 15, Willis 13, Kallappa 12, Johnson 6, Pinza 4, Francis 3.