OLYMPIA — With two losses coming into the final game of the season, the North Kitsap Vikings girls basketball team has put itself on the edge.
Going from a three-way tie for second place in the Narrows Bay Division at the beginning of the week, the Vikings are now battling with Central Kitsap for the No. 4 spot.
The fate of the season rested on the outcome of North’s Friday night match up with Gig Harbor and Central’s tango with South Kitsap tonight.
“We’re still focused on the playoffs … it’s not over yet, but (we’re) waiting on and hoping for South to beat CK,” NK head coach Kaelea Makaiwi said. “I think (the Vikings) are a little bit upset with themselves that they didn’t get things done. If you look at our last four games, with the exception of Mount T, we should’ve won those games.”
It all started when the CK Cougars came to Poulsbo and stole a 49-46 win Jan. 26. Then the Vikings were smashed by the undefeated Mt. Tahoma T-birds and thrown into the final week of the season in a three-way tie for third place with Olympia and CK.
Tuesday, the Bay division No. 2 Bellarmine Prep Lions utilized an extremely lopsided fourth quarter to stomp North’s season momentum with a 57-43 win. Prevalent in the game for NK was missed shots — a plague that has hampered the Vikings’ second half of the season, Makaiwi said.
Playing a physical game, pulling strength from its defense, North stayed with the Lions until the third quarter. Coming out of the break, Bellarmine’s intensity created fast-break buckets which North had no answer to.
That, added to the fact that the Lions scored 20 points off of 40 attempts from the free-throw line, boosted Bellarmine to the win.
“It’s like (an assistant coach) was telling me, you pretty much have to have two out of three things to win a game,” Makaiwi said of limited turnovers, rebounds and points. “If you don’t have two of those three, you’re losing.”
As the Vikings traveled to face Olympia Thursday with the weight of an automatic West Central District tournament berth hinging on the game, a lack of points and a few too many turnovers haunted North.
However senior Leah Siem-Brown stepped up to score 21 points on the game, shooting six of 12 from behind the three-point line.
“I told them (Thursday night), you’ve got to play this game like its your last game,” Makaiwi said. “(Siem-Brown) played awesome all the way around.”
But as a team, the Vikings struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities and ended up fighting from behind, giving the Bears an open lane to the 52-44 win.
“The shots were there, the opportunities were there, the ball just didn’t go in the hole,” Makaiwi said.
The Vikings did put up a fight, despite trailing throughout the game, Makaiwi added. Olympia had garnered a seven-point lead at half time, but North came back to cut the lead to three going into the final frame where time ran out. Siem-Brown led the NK field with 21 points while Arissan Ugles added seven.
The Vikings traveled to face Gig Harbor Friday, but results were unavailable at press time.