By Sophie Bonomi
Kitsap News Group
SUQUAMISH — The Chief Kitsap Academy boys basketball team beat Rainier Christian High Feb. 18 in a close match, 69-67. The Bears will continue on to play the 1B State tournament.
In what was described by Rex Green, C.K.A. athletic director, as a “thrilling game that went to the wire,” the boys clinched the win and continue on to play Sunnyside Christian at 2 p.m. Feb. 25 at Chiawana High School.
In their match against Rainier Christian, Green said at one point the team had “a pretty big lead.”
“That lead started shrinking with 30 seconds left in the match,” he said.
“Rainier Christian kept fighting back, and it came down to a three-point lead. One of their kids was on the free throw line. He made the first shot and missed the second two.”
Of the Bears (some of which have been playing the game since their Pee-Wee days), Green said they pushed back the whole game.
“That’s the expectation when we play Sunnyside,” he said.
“When they’re playing at their best, they’re playing team ball and looking for their teammates to score. It’s incredible.”
Regardless of the regional state game result against Sunnyside, the Bears will continue to play in the state 1B tournament in Spokane. The young two-year basketball program at Chief Kitsap Academy is ranked No. 7 in the 1B RPI standings.
Their opponent, Sunnyside High, is the top-ranked team in the state as rated by MaxPreps, and 2nd in 1B RPI rankings.
“They’re really good,” Green said. “It’s going to be a challenge, but if our kids play their A-game, they can do it.
“They’re persistent. They’ve got that hunger and they want to be the best. There’s confidence there. And they can do it if they all work together.”
A win against Sunnyside will send the C.K.A. Bears to play the quarterfinal state championship game at 9 p.m. on March 2 in Spokane.
A loss would send the team to play in the opening round game on March 1, loser out.
— Sophie Bonomi is a reporter for the Kitsap Daily News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.