Grace Johnson looks for room against Anacortes forward Melissa Frein. North Kitsap saw its season end with a 65-49 loss. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Grace Johnson looks for room against Anacortes forward Melissa Frein. North Kitsap saw its season end with a 65-49 loss. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Anacortes takes down North Kitsap at regionals

MOUNT VERNON — North Kitsap drew a tough regional matchup in Anacortes, a member of the Northwest Conference and a team with only one postseason loss — to defending 2A champion Archbishop Murphy.

The size, strength and shooting ability of the Seahawks proved to be too much for the Vikings as they saw their season come to an end in a 65-49 loss.

North Kitsap couldn’t contain six foot guard Gabby Ronngren and 6 foot 2 inch post Melissa Frein, each of whom had the ability to shoot from the outside as well as drive the paint. Ronngren finished with a game-high 20 points and Frein added 15.

Anacortes had opened a 15-8 lead by the end of the first quarter and had a commanding 17-point lead by halftime.

“I think we were a little shocked,” said senior guard Raelee Moore. “We don’t see a team like that in the Olympic League.”

The Vikings had their opportunities, but Ronngren and Frein guarded the paint with ferocity and they had trouble getting around their larger opponents on their way to the basket. North Kitsap was just 4 for 14 from the field in the first quarter and occasionally showed flashes of , but the Seahawks never went cold and the Vikings couldn’t catch up.

Julia Tweiten led North Kitsap with 11 points, hitting 3 of 6 3-point attempts, including a pair of successful triples in the fourth quarter. Moore finished with 10 and Barreith added nine. Maddie Pruden and Grace Johnson each chipped in seven.

“In these kinds of games, if you start off hot you can maintain it,” said head coach Penny Gienger. “But we started cold and once they got to 20 it was hard to get back.”

It didn’t help that Moore, one of the team’s top players, has been less than 100 percent over the last couple of weeks. The snowstorm earlier this month pushed back some of the district games and helped her get some rest, but she still couldn’t play her regular minutes against Anacortes.

“She’s been trying to save herself for the games and it’s been really hard for her,” Gienger said. “She really wanted to help this team make it to state and she’s given me everything for four years. It’s pretty hard to see her leave.”

It has been a successful four years for Moore, who recently recorded her 1,000th career point at North Kitsap. She was part of last year’s state tournament team, which was the first time the program had reached state in 30 years. Moore was hoping to lead this younger, less experienced team back to Yakima, but it wasn’t in the cards this year.

The Vikings finished with a 16-9 record and took second in the Olympic League and third at the district tournament after graduating eight seniors, including three starters that played four years on varsity.

“We were hoping to go to the dome this year, but you can’t be mad, we had a great season,” Moore said. “We were at the top of the league and the top of the district, I’m not mad at all. I’m happy with how it ended.”

Anacortes 65, North Kitsap 49

NK 8 9 16 16 — 49

AN 15 20 17 13 — 65

North Kitsap (49) — Tweiten 11, Moore 10, Barreith 9, Johnson 7, Pruden 7, McMillian 3, Kimmel 2.

Anacortes (65) — Ronngren 20, Frein 15, Hudson 12, Petitclerc 7, Daou 4, Bellusci 3, South 2, Vaux 2.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at mkrulish@soundpublishing.com. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.

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