POULSBO — The surroundings may have changed this holiday season for both of the North Kitsap basketball teams, but the results didn’t.
The boys’ team, which travelled to Victoria, British Columbia, went 2-1 during a large tournament spread over three high schools. The girls’ team had a longer trip, flying to Juneau, Ala., where they missed out on picking up their first win, going 0-3.
Both teams reached their goal, however: they both had fun.
For the boys, that meant hanging out in America’s neighbor to the North.
“It was a time to bond, a time for kids to have a little fun,” said boys’ head coach Bob Fronk. “Victoria is pretty this time of year. It was quite cold, but pleasant.”
Fronk thinks the tournament-style experience will come in handy at the end of the season, when the Vikings will play in at least one tournament, the Narrows League tourney, and hopes they will play in more — such as district and state.
As for the trip to Canada, it didn’t slow down the Vikings’ winning ways.
They won their first game, topping the Claremont Spartans 79-74.
Jerrod Gonzales proved to be North Kitsap’s most deadly weapon in that game, shooting 15-of-23 from the floor and making nine of the 11 free throws to score 39 points.
The effort of Gonzales and his teammates helped the Vikings dig themselves out of a hole after the first quarter, when they were outscored 25-15.
Josh Mathews and Bryan Haupt scored 11 in the game.
North followed the win over Claremont with a loss to Canada’s Lambrick Park Lions.
The Lions won despite 39 from Vikings center Bryan Haupt, who shot 18-of-25 from the field and also grabbed 10 rebounds to help the Vikings make it a close game.
And in the third game, North Kitsap topped Oak Bay 70-59.
Josh Mathews led five Vikings in double figures with 21 points. Haupt, Gonzales, and Reid Ammann had 12 points, and Thomas Jordan added 11.
The Viking girls’ team had a bumpier time, especially on its flight to Juneau.
Juneau, tucked away in Alaska’s southeast, proved to be too foggy to land, so the plane made a bumpy trip to Sitka, then tried Juneau again — where the city was again too foggy.
So it was back to Sitka for the Vikings and three other basketball teams on the same flight.
The third time proved a charm, as the plane was able to land on its third approach to Juneau.
But the plane ride had stretched into an eight-hour epic.
“I’m sure it’s something the girls will remember for the rest of their lives,” reported a smiling head coach, Dan Weedin.
The girls stayed with host families, visited the Mendenhall Glacier, and spotted several bald eagles on the trip.
Unfortunately, the Vikings were held winless by much of Alaska’s top basketball talent.
They lost to Wasilla, 68-37, despite nine points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks by center Sheena Brundage. Jennifer Harris scored seven points and also proved solid on the boards, grabbing seven rebounds. And Sarah Bergman also scored seven points.
But the Vikings were outscored 18-6 in the third: “That was the crucial point,” Weedin said.
The Vikings lost their second game to Juneau-Douglas, which outscored NK 75-36. North Kitsap was led by Sarah Bergman’s 11. Brundage added nine rebounds and four points, and Jessica Bento had six points.
In the third game the Vikings faced Mills, a California team, and lost 69-54. Bergman led the Vikings with 14 points in that game, while Brundage had nine points and eight rebounds and Hailey Koivu scored 12 and grabbed eight steals.
The Vikings managed to come away with several honors: Bergman was voted the sportsmanship award and won the free-throw shooting contest, while Brundage made the all-tournament team.
While the Vikings fell to 0-10, Weedin noted that the team is 0-3 in league and still has a chance to control its own destiny.
“It’s still in our own hands,” said Weedin, whose team hosts Port Townsend at 7 p.m. tonight.