POULSBO — There was no shortage of reasons to celebrate in North Kitsap’s final home game of the season on Saturday night.
The Vikings blew past Steilacoom 78-61 to clinch a berth in the regional round of the state tournament and move on to the district semifinals, and one of their star seniors got the chance to celebrate a milestone.
With a few minutes to go in the fourth quarter, head coach Scott Orness called timeout to let his team know that senior Shaa Humphrey was just one point away from 1,000 for his career.
They set up a play, but didn’t end up using it. The Vikings forced a turnover and Humphrey came down the court on a 2-on-1 fastbreak. He looked off the pass and took it to the rim to reach quadruple digits.
“Usually, I would have passed it, but I had to take it,” Humphrey said.
Humphrey himself was unaware of how close he was to 1,000 points until that timeout, but banners were prepared behind the scenes for the occasion. One was held by his family on one side of the gym, and the second was given to former basketball player Jamo Moore to hold in the student section. Orness painted them himself.
“I’m pretty proud of myself, Art was my lowest grade in school,” Orness joked after the game.
By that point North Kitsap was well in control of the game. The team hadn’t played a game in nine days and started hot from the floor. Kobe McMillian sank his first two 3-point attempts of the game on his way to a game-high 26 points and Jonas La Tour hit a couple of nice early layups on great passes from Humphrey and McMillian to start the game on a 10-2 run.
But the Vikings allowed the Sentinels back into the game. Chance McDonald hit a couple of early threes to help Steilacoom takes a 16-15 lead before Humphrey hit a deep three as the first quarter expired.
“We had too many turnovers and gave up too many offensive boards,” Humphrey said. “But the second half was better than the first half.”
The offense rolled on as the Vikings got another big game from Jonas La Tour. The sophomore guard hit three 3-pointers in the third quarter as part of a 21-point effort. Humphrey, McMillian and Chmielewski did a better job of getting to the rim through the paint in the second quarter and the team as a whole finished 13-for-17 from the free throw line.
“We know we didn’t play our best, but we still came out here and got the job done,” Humphrey said.
The team now knows it will play in the regional round of the state tournament, but still has at least two more games left in districts. The Vikings will face Franklin Pierce or White River in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20 at Rogers High School. A win leads them into the district championship game Saturday at Wilson High School.
North Kitsap 78, Steilacoom 61
SC 16 14 13 18 — 61
NK 18 23 19 18 — 78
Steilacoom (61) — Devane 17, McDonald 12, Lemming 11, Asaeli 9, Petry 8, Kelly 4.