POULSBO — The Vikings survived a tough shooting night from the floor and some erratic play in their return to Olympic League action on Tuesday.
After a successful holiday season, which saw them pick up two victories at the SunDome shootout over W.F. West and Selah, the defending 2A champions, North Kitsap took to its home court and took down Sequim, 74-54.
The game was a bit closer than the score would indicate — late in the third quarter, the Vikings led 48-42 and it looked like momentum could swing either way. But senior guard Kobe McMillian hit a pair of baskets late in the third to spark a 15-2 run that put the game out of reach. McMillian finished the night with a team-high 24 points, including nine in the fourth quarter.
The win keeps the Vikings within a game of first place Port Angeles.
“The main thing we’re working on is playing good basketball for 32 minutes,” said head coach Scott Orness.
Sequim was clearly focused on stopping the 6-foot-5 Shaa Humphrey from asserting himself in the paint, but that simply opened up opportunities for McMillian, Logan Chmielewski and Johny Olmsted, who combined for 42 points.
“When Kobe and Jonas get going on the outside, it allows Shaa to get to the rack,” Orness said.
The final quarter opened with a technical foul against Sequim for an illegal substitution. McMillian hit both of the free throws awarded to North Kitsap and on the ensuing possession, Humphrey hit a big 3-pointer from the right wing to turn that foul into a five-point play. Humphrey had 19 points on the night, and like McMillian had nine in the fourth quarter, and seven rebounds.
North Kitsap struggled from the 3-point line overall, going just 6-for-27, but were able to get a number of second chances thanks to the work of players such as Logan Chmielewski and Aiden Olmstead, who combined for 15 offensive rebounds.
“That saved us tonight; Logan and Aiden, especially on the offensive boards,” Orness said.
The team has rebounded nicely from their Dec. 18 one-point loss to Port Angeles. After beating Olympic 83-54, the Vikings took on a challenging slate of games that included Union (top-ranked team in 4A), Selah (defending 2A champions, ranked No. 8) and W.F. West, the latter two games coming at the Yakima SunDome shootout.
North Kitsap lost to that powerful Union team 87-68, but then beat W.F. West, 79-50, and Selah, 55-43. They also made the trip to Vashon Island last Saturday and beat a good top ten 1A Pirates team 54-34.
The Vikings return to action Friday at 7 p.m. at Kingston.
North Kitsap 74, Sequim 54
SQ 12 17 13 12 — 54
NK 21 17 14 22 — 74
North Kitsap (74) — McMillian 24, Humphrey 19, Chmielewski 9, Olmsted 9, La Tour 5, Olmstead 4, Williams 4.