POULSBO — After the North Kitsap girls’ basketball team lost 65-29 to the Central Kitsap Cougars Wednesday night, Vikings head coach Dan Weedin suggested — half jokingly, half not — that a switch had been made.
“That wasn’t the team in white that we rolled out last week,” Weedin said.
While the players were the same, Weedin suggested, the play was not. The Vikings had lost to Olympia last week, but had run a patient offense, played a tough defense, and protected the ball.
But against Central, North took a large step backwards.
In their first league game, North had been outscored by the Cougars 18-5 in the first quarter. They had been outscored 22-6 in the third. And they had committed 26 turnovers, leading to several CK fast breaks and an easy win for North’s rival from the south.
“Everyone has a bad game every once in a while,” said Weedin, whose Vikings dropped to 0-1 in league. “But this was a bad night to have a bad game.”
While the Vikings had a bad game, the running and gunning Cougars did not, taking advantage of their opportunities and scoring 18 points in the first quarter.
Junior forward Adria Layne scored eight of those 18 points, leading the Cougars to an overwhelming first quarter.
Head coach Denise Baxter did not mince word when asked the secret to the Cougars’ early success.
“Our defense,” she said. “We got some steals out of the zone early and converted on those,” said Baxter. “We get in the passing lanes, we try to read well.”
Baxter’s Cougars (3-2, 1-0 in league) were led in scoring by Layne’s 21 points. Nicole Zygmontowicz was close behind with 15, and Aimee Carroll chipped in with seven.
Despite the Cougars’ overwhelming performance, they were up by only 13 at the half, 29-12.
But North’s woes continued in the second half, and the Cougars continued to convert.
Central scored 22 points in the third, at one point reeling off eight unanswered points, six of them by the speedy Zygmontowicz, who buried a long jumper, banked a layup off a steal, then converted a pair of free throws she was given after being fouled on yet another steal.
North was down 47-18 going into the final frame, and the fourth held a few offensive highlights. Jennifer Ottele and Sarah Bergman buried midrange jump shots; Jessica Bento wheeled inside and hit a tough fadeaway; and Jennifer Harris gave the Cougars a dose of their own medicine, stealing the ball in the backcourt and laying it up and in.
But there was no dousing the Cougars’ fire, and it was the team in orange and black that rolled out of town with the win.
Baxter dismissed any thought of the Vikings being an easy opponent. “This is a tough game,” she said. “It always has been.”
Weedin, whose team next faced South Kitsap on Friday, was left hoping to prod the Vikings forward again, and not backwards.
“We’ve got to find a way to fix this, fast,” he said. “What happened today was not good.”
Notes: Ottele and Harris led the Vikings with six points apiece … results of the Vikings’ game against the Wolves were unavailable at press time.