NK’s La Tour sets sight on 2nd state title

Standout guard will be playing for Seattle-Pacific University next year

La Tour leads the team onto the court.

Jonas La Tour was on the North Kitsap High School basketball team that won the 2A state title in 2020.

The standout senior guard won’t be able to get a three-peat because there weren’t any state playoffs when basketball finally took place last spring due to COVID-19 restrictions.

So, he’ll have to settle for two. At least that’s the goal. The Vikings are one of the top-ranked 2A teams in Washington.

“That’s been the goal since the first practice,” he said. “We all got it on our minds. I look at my ring every day. I look at that gold ball every day, and I look at our state championship banner every day. We got to manifest that until it’s real. It’s going to take everything we’ve got. There’s no other way we can go out.”

The Vikings lead the Olympic League with a record of 9-0 and an overall record of 14-2 as of press time. The two losses are against larger schools and by a total of three points.

La Tour is a big reason for their success. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard will be playing for Seattle-Pacific University next year after receiving athletic and academic scholarships.

He’s a machine on offense. He recently broke the school record for points in a game with 57 against rival Bainbridge. In that game, La Tour went 23 of 27 from the floor, including 7 of 10 from beyond the arc. He also chipped in four free throws.

La Tour mentioned they also easily beat Sehome – ranked No. 6 in state at the time – the day before 81-54.

“It was probably our best game of the season,” he recalled. “I was actually a little tired because that was a big physical team. Then we had Bainbridge, a good league opponent, the next night. I was going in locked in like any other game. My teammates just found me every time. I wasn’t calling for it extra or anything.”

La Tour had already scored 36 points by halftime, and he said Coach Scott Orness wrote the school record of 50 points on the whiteboard and told the team, “We’re going to get him that record.”

“It was a great feeling, a great opportunity, and I’m glad I got it done,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without everyone else.”

Finding a passion

La Tour was born in Madison, WI, where he lived a few years before moving to Southern California. His father got a job in North Kitsap, which led his family to move to Poulsbo, where they have been since 2009.

His love for basketball coincided with his move to Poulsbo as his dad coached his recreation league team starting in second grade. He said they were able to keep the same team through fifth grade. In sixth grade, La Tour began to have a passion for the game and started playing select ball with Bainbridge Roots for one season. Then he transitioned to Drive Basketball, the North Kitsap AAU program, which he now helps coach. Most recently, La Tour spent last summer playing with Seattle Rotary, where he got the chance to play around the U.S. and get some widespread exposure.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “I had to play in front of a lot of big schools, played with a lot of great people and made a lot of good connections for the future.”

His improvement

Looking back at his freshman year, La Tour said he has improved “tremendously,” trying to find new skills to focus on each season. “All the puzzle pieces just fell together year by year,” he said.

La Tour describes himself as a “high-motor” guard who gives 100% in all aspects of the game. Perhaps most known for his consistent shooting stroke, La Tour mentioned he and teammate Johny Olmsted, who will be playing at the University of Dallas next year, put up countless numbers of shots together on the team’s shooting machine. He said the last time they both used it, they made a combined 792 three-pointers out of 1,000 attempts.

La Tour is also a bit of a high-flyer as he’s thrown down numerous dunks throughout high school. He said he had about 10 his sophomore season, 25 his junior season and he’s not sure how many this season. “I got some pretty decent dunks on my resume,” he said, adding he likes practicing them, too.

As to why NK has become such a powerhouse, La Tour said their “mindset” is different from other local teams.

“Our program, in all honesty, is kind of run like a college program,” he said. “All of us are so invested, we’re so passionate. We’re all in. We do everything that we need to in order to win, whether it be scouting, practices dedicated to running other teams’ plays. Now it’s just accustomed to me, I’ve been doing it for four years. I don’t know any other way. It’s a great lead-in to college.”

Much of the program’s recent success coincided with the arrival of Scott Orness, who previously coached at Bainbridge, including a run to the state title game in 2007, led by Gonzaga standout Steven Gray. Since coming to NK, the Vikings have qualified for state in all five years.

“He’s meant so much to the program,” La Tour said. “He’s the reason, honestly, why we win games. You just got to trust everything he says. He knows what he’s doing. Freshman and sophomore year I wasn’t the best practice player, and coach got on me a lot for not knowing plays, which he should. I’m very glad he did. He’s meant a lot in my personal development. It’s a marvel to watch him coach and a joy to play for him.”

He feels similarly about his teammates, on and off the court. “We are as tight as it can get,” he said. “We all went to the same three elementary schools other than a couple transfers. We’re all…brothers for life.”

Injury

Everything was going along smoothly for La Tour until he suffered a back injury last high school season.

“It was pretty bad,” he said, adding it got worse while playing in Georgia last summer with his select team to the point that he couldn’t really walk. After flying home for an MRI, the doctor told him he had a wedged vertebrae fracture, which he is still dealing with.

“It’s not hindering me. It’s just kind of nagging on,” he said. “That is still what’s causing me pain. I do what I can – a lot of stretching, did physical therapy for a few months. After the season, I really just got to get it close to 100 percent as I can before I head off to college.

“It was a real bummer because my injury was a real prohibitor in getting some offers,” La Tour continued. “But I’m extremely blessed and happy where I’m at, and I’m ready to bring 110 percent to the Seattle-Pacific team.”

Future plans

When not playing ball, La Tour said he’s pretty simple and down to earth. He spends much of his time at home watching film and highlights of past and present NBA players. Some of his favorites include Ja Morant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Devin Booker, Kobe Bryant and Dennis Rodman.

As for his future, he has his sights set on playing pro ball somewhere. At SPU, La Tour said he’s going to major in communications with a minor in fashion merchandising, adding he might consider a marketing job down the road.

“Going pro is my A plan right now,” he said. “That’s what I need to make happen for myself. Until that happens, there’s not going to be a whole lot of rest going on.”

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