POULSBO — The Vikings knew how to fill up a stat sheet Wednesday night, but to see the most important performance, you may have to read between the lines.
The Vikings 59-48 victory was fueled by Bryan Haupt and Jerrod Gonzales, who combined to score 50 points. Haupt scored 28 and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Vikings in both categories, and Gonzales had his best game of the early season, slashing and shooting his way to 22 points.
But afterwards, the Vikings talked happily about the return of point guard Josh Mathews, who had missed the first two games with mononucleosis.
Mathews didn’t score, but handed out 10 assists to help the Vikings’ offense purr like a kitten against the tenacious defense of Bellarmine Prep.
“He’s the man,” Haupt said after the game. “He runs the team.”
Coach Bob Fronk was also happy with the return of his 6’0” point guard.
“Everyone realizes the stability he gives us,” Fronk said.
Mathews returned Wednesday night against a hot-shooting Bellarmine Prep team that was anchored by 6’7” Jacob Manning at center.
But early on it was Haupt who dominated the position. Haupt used a variety of inside moves and short jumpers to pile up 10 first-quarter points, all without missing a shot.
Haupt continued to be the hot hand in the second quarter, dropping 10 more points on the Lions (although he did miss one jumper).
The Lions kept themselves close with outside shooting, burying three three-point shots, two by guard Josh Angeles.
And Angeles made the most spectacular play of the half when he fired a dead-on alley-oop pass to Manning.
North held a 29-23 lead at halftime.
In the second half, it was Gonzales’s turn to take over. With Mathews steady at the point, Haupt manning the middle, and Thomas Jordan and Devin Reed contributing rebounds and strong outlet passes, Gonzales drove his way to the hoop, fired a pair of three-pointers, and scored 16 second-half points to stretch the Vikings’ lead.
Bellarmine again pulled close with sharp outside shooting, but North pulled away in the fourth with Gonzales’s second three-pointer of the game putting the Vikings up by 10.
The Vikings controlled the rest of the game and earned themselves a 59-48 win. The victory made them 2-1 on the early season; Bellarmine Prep fell to 0-2.
“I think we’re getting more experience under our belt,” said Haupt, who ended up shooting 13-of-22 from the floor. “We’re working the kinks out.”
Mathews, who logged 28 minutes in his return to the court, said he looks forward to many more.
“It was a little tiring at first,” the point guard said. “But once I got into it, it was fun.”
NOTES: Thomas Jordan added five rebound and six assists for the Vikings, while Devin Reed pulled down seven boards … The Vikings travelled to Olympia Friday to face the Bears. Results were unavailable at press time.