Too much Payne leads to Vikings’ loss

POULSBO — A few minutes after the Lady Vikings absorbed a 67-44 loss to Port Angeles, North Kitsap head coach Dan Weedin said, “I feel like we won the game.”

POULSBO — A few minutes after the Lady Vikings absorbed a 67-44 loss to Port Angeles, North Kitsap head coach Dan Weedin said, “I feel like we won the game.”

A 23-point loss is usually no cause for celebration, but when the opponent is the Roughriders, who twice beat North Kitsap by 30 last season and hung a 45-point loss on Bremerton last week, everything changes.

The Vikings kept close to the Roughriders for the first eight minutes, shooting a respectable 4-for-10 from the field as they hung with a hot-shooting Port Angeles team that outscored them 17-12.

In the second quarter, Roughriders’ star senior Ashley Payne scored nine points and grabbed two rebounds as Port Angeles outscored North Kitsap 18-9 and streaked to a 14-point halftime lead.

Port Angeles kept North Kitsap at bay in the third and fourth quarters — outscoring the Vikings in each frame — to grab the league win.

Payne had 29 points in the game to lead all scorers.

The difference, Weedin said, was the Roughriders’ solid outside shooting (they buried five 3-pointers), which was aided by too many opportunities.

PA also grabbed 14 offensive rebounds.

Even with the win, the Roughriders (4-1 in Bridge Division, 7-3 overall) noticed a change in their opponent from last year.

“North is much improved from the last time we saw them,” Port Angeles head coach Molly McDougall said. “They handled the ball better, shot better… they just improved their game.”

This year, Weedin said, the Vikings were more patient with their offense; they were also able to break Port Angeles’ difficult press and pay solid defense against a Roughrider team capable of scoring in bunches.

“Overall — offensively, defensively — this is maybe the best 32-minute game we’ve played all year,” Weedin said.

North Kitsap (1-4, 3-8) was led by Katie Swanlund, who scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds.

Starting senior forward Ashley Davis had one of her best games of the year, scoring eight points and adding an inside presence for North Kitsap.

Molly McCluskey added seven points (including one of the Vikings’ two 3-pointers), and point guard Jennifer Harris had six.

North Kitsap faced Gig Harbor Jan. 17. Results were unavailable at press time.

NOTES: Port Angeles had two players tie to lead the team in rebounding. Missy Schaad and Payne each had seven… The three sophomores who played Wednesday night (Swanlund, McCluskey and Kristen Sprague) combined for 22 points and 16 rebounds… Payne’s nine points in the second quarter came all on 3-pointers. She had four for the evening… Port Angeles put up 10 more shots (37-27) than North Kitsap in the first half.

Port Angeles 67, at North Kitsap 44

Port Angeles (67) Ashley Payne 29, Trisha Buckingham 14, Alison Crumb 7, Sarah Bussell 6, Missy Schaad 4, Christina Hebert 4, Chloe Carver 3, Brianna Allen, Meredith Kelly

North Kitsap (44) Katie Swanlund 11, Ashley Davis 8, Molly McCluskey 7, Jennifer Harris 6, Heather Case 4, Kristen Sprague 4, Brenda Stice 3, Stacey Knight 1, J.J. Proudfoot