Mark Twain once said, “Word of North Kitsap’s demise has been completely exaggerated,” or something like that.
If you thought the Vikings boys basketball team wasn’t ready for postseason play after losing by a healthy margin to Port Angeles the last game of the regular season – think again.
NK boys won the 2A District 2/3 championship Saturday with a 49-38 win over No. 1 seed White River. And they were without leading scorer Jonas La Tour, who was resting a sore back in preparation for state.
Monday it was announced that top seed NK will play eighth seed Sehome Feb. 25 at 6 p.m. at Foss High School. Both teams will advance to state at the Sundome in Yakima March 2. The winner will go directly to the quarterfinals. The loser would have to win a consolation game before making the quarterfinals.
Aiden Olmstead kind of looks like La Tour and against the Hornets he played like him, hitting buckets inside and outside and aggressively grabbing rebounds. With their star player out, the others had to step up – and they did big time.
The key part of the game came after White River scored three buckets inside to start the fourth quarter to take a 37-35 lead. NK went on a 14-1 run the rest of the game to win.
Sophomore Mason Chmielewski started it off with a 3, then Olmstead scored inside and again on an inbounds play from sophomore Cade Orness. Orness drove baseline for two more before Harry Davies ended the streak with another drive to the hoop.
The Hornets took an 11-8 lead in the first quarter, led by the drives of 6-foot-5 guard Rylan Donovan. Orness and Johny Olmsted hit 3’s for the Vikings.
White River expanded the lead to 21-17 by halftime. Orness made a great pass inside to Chmielewski for a bucket to keep NK close.
Olmstead starred at the start of the third period scoring after grabbing an offensive rebound and on a fastbreak. He scored with an assist from Orness and then again inside. When Davies hit a 3, NK went up 28-25.
Orness drove in for two, Olmsted hit a 3 from the corner and when Davies blocked a shot and drove the length of the court for a layup the Viking faithful went wild as NK took a 35-31 lead after three periods.
Olmstead led the victors with 13, followed by Olmsted with 11, Orness and Davies with 7 each and Chmielewski 5.
No. 2 seed NK reached the title game by beating No. 6 seed Enumclaw 78-68 last week. White River advanced by beating No. 4 seed Port Angeles 57-54.
North Kitsap had a tougher time at home than expected early last week, but the Vikings still won their first-round playoff game against Clover Park 81-72.