Coaches, players and fans have been waiting a long time for the 2021 basketball season, but the Kingston and North Kitsap girls had to wait a little longer than others.
The game was delayed by over an hour as it was without officials, but once everyone arrived, Kingston junior Ellee Brockman took center stage and helped lift her team to victory.
The Bucs’ 6-foot forward had a dominant game in the paint, scoring 23 points in Kingston’s 49-40 victory over its inter-district rival Tuesday night.
Brockman scored 12 of her 23 points in the first half as the Bucs took a 29-20 lead. She then scored all nine of her team’s points in the third quarter.
“Her ability to play on the perimeter as well as inside just makes it so much easier for everybody else out there,” Kingston coach Charles Deam said.
Senior guard Kylee Walker chipped in 14 points for Kingston, which had a 13-point lead after three quarters.
North Kitsap made things interesting in the fourth. Trailing 43-35, Ayanna Selembo was fouled on her way to making a layup and completed the three-point play to cut the deficit to five. After Brockman hit one of two foul shots, Anna Wetzsteon made a strong move to the hoop and the lead was down to 44-40 with 1:14 left in the game.
“It was just those adjustments we made in the second half, and we out-hustled them…” said North Kitsap coach Shawn Harris, who made his debut at the helm of the girls basketball program.
However, that’s as close as the Vikings got. With 33 seconds to go, Walker found Suzanne Skinner inside for a layup and Walker hit a 3-pointer just before time expired.
“I was proud of the way they played,” Deam said. “They battled and held on long enough.”
Opening night was a good start for both teams considering how little time they had to prepare. North Kitsap in particular is young this year with little returning varsity experience. Veteran guard Mia McNair led the Vikings with 13 points and she is one of three players who saw the floor on the varsity team last year along with Maliyah Reed, who scored 10 points, and Selembo, who added nine.
“I liked what I saw from all of them,” Harris said. “If we can just adjust the little things, then we’re going to be a good ballclub.”
The Bucs have more experience as Brockman, Walker, Skinner and Sierra Denning now have three seasons together on the varsity squad and have played plenty of minutes.
“Even with that, we kind of revamped what we did offensively so they had to learn something from scratch,” Deam said. “They executed well for only having six days on it.”
Kingston boys win
Dylan Baze’s buzzer-beater gave Kingston a huge upset 53-51 victory over the defending 2A state champions North Kitsap on Tuesday night.
The Vikings had won the previous eight meetings between the two teams — Kingston’s last win over North Kitsap came in January 2016.
Kingston 49, North Kitsap 40
KI 17 12 9 11 — 49
NK 9 11 5 15 — 40
Kingston (49) — Brockman 23, Walker 14, Denning 4, Jorgenson 4, Skinner 4.