NK teams, Kingston, Bremerton head to state

North Kitsap’s boys basketball team, though highly ranked, has won some close games recently, but its fortunes ran out against Renton Feb. 17.

The Vikings were stunned in the final of the district tournament 75-74 on a three-pointer at the buzzer.

They still advance to state this week. Sites are at various locations.

Bremerton also advanced after placing fourth at districts, falling to Sammamish 69-59.

On the girls side, NK also advanced to state after shocking Sequim 58-57. The Vikings took an early 14-11 lead after Jasmine Sunnenberg nailed a buzzer-beater. The Vikings continued to battle, trailing 24-23 at halftime. NK remained close after three quarters, trailing 44-39. However, the Vikings battled to the final buzzer and won.

Meanwhile, the Kingston girls will head to state for the first time since 2009-10 after a 58-56 victory over Foster.

The Buccaneers held a 35-20 lead at halftime but the Bulldogs fought back, narrowing the lead to 45-40 after three quarters. Jayla Moon and Khi Tall Bull shined on offense while Harmony Tyson battled for rebounds against the larger Foster squad.

Foster tied the game at 53-53 with a minute and 30 seconds remaining with a three-point shot. Neither team scored and the game went into overtime.

On Feb. 16, the NK and Kingston girls both easily won to stay alive in the playoffs. NK dominated on its home court against Clover Park, winning 61-27. The Kingston girls handled Olympic 51-35.

North Kitsap boys

Top-seeded North Kitsap got a scare but hung on to beat the Sammamish Redhawks 72-70 Feb. 15 to advance to the district championship game against Renton.

NJ took an early 20-15 lead, led by guard Cade Orness scoring the final couple of baskets. Sammamish went on a 7-0 run to cut into the lead in the second quarter, making it 32-29 Vikings at halftime. Orness and Trey Carter scored four points each, and Mason Chmielewski scored a layup as time expired to keep NK in front.

The Vikings took a double-digit lead in the third quarter, but Sammamish again narrowed the gap. After guard Harry Davies scored a layup, the Vikings fell into a 12-4 run, making it 53-50 after three quarters.

NK had a late push to make it 70-63, and with a minute left, it looked like the Vikings had the game won.

But Sammamish forced a couple of turnovers and made a few shots to make it a one-possession game with 20 seconds left. Sammamish tied the game at 70-70 with seven seconds left after an inbound violation by NK.

Jordan Williams took the next inbound down the court and floated it over the defenders for the victory.

On Feb. 13, NK qualified for a return to state for the seventh-straight season, excluding the COVID 2020-21 school year, by defeating Foss 80-73.

The Vikings looked like they would run away early with a 14-0 lead. However, Foss fought back and made it 22-15 after the first quarter.

“We came out with confidence but like Clover Park last year and the year before, Foss came in with nothing to lose,” Orness said.

He became NK’s all-time scorer, breaking Jonas La Tour’s record of 1,664 points. “It wouldn’t be possible without my teammates,” Orness said.

Davies took over in the second quarter to boost the lead to 40-26 at halftime. He had 23 points in the first half while Orness had 10.

Foss fought back as forward Amir Collins began to score all around the court. The Vikings lead trickled down to one point going into the fourth quarter.

“In playoff time, anything can happen, and we got the targets on our back” because of our previous success at state and being a top-ranked team this year, coach Scott Orness said. “We got comfortable early, and they got confident when they hit some shots. I was proud of our guys in the final six minutes in the fourth.”

NK’s defense held strong, and Davies scored the final six points to seal their final home game of the year.

“We are a great road team,” the coach said. “We almost play better when we are on the road. We settle in a bit more on the road and will be ready.”

Bremerton boys

Bremerton fell short in the other district semifinal, losing 68-65 to Renton in overtime.

Bremerton had the hot start with a 25-17 lead after the first quarter. Allen Frank and Triston Bulmer sparked the Knights offense. Bremerton’s offense was slow in the second quarter as its first basket came from Oliver Christian three minutes into the quarter. Standout freshman Jalen Davis scored 19 points in the first half. However, Renton crept back with a 33-32 halftime lead.

The teams traded the lead in the third and fourth quarters. Bremerton took its final lead with a minute left. However, Renton scored and forced Davis to make a play. He nailed two free throws to force a 59-59 tie at the end of regulation, finishing with 32 points.

In overtime, the Knights had a costly mistake while down two points. A five-second violation on an inbounds play handed Renton the ball with six seconds left. After a couple of fouls, Renton went to the free-throw line and sealed the game.

On Feb. 13, the Knights punched their first ticket to state in a decade, defeating No. 2 seed White River 66-47. The Knights up-tempo style was too much for the Hornets as they piled up several turnovers early.

On the other hand, Bremerton found many easy baskets in transition. But Bremerton only led 32-28 at halftime. White River took an early lead in the third quarter 33-32. Yet, Bremerton continued to pressure until the final couple minutes of the game to pull ahead.

White River’s last hope was to run a full-court trap. Yet, Bremerton broke through and stung the Hornets.

North Kitsap girls

NK’s girls faced top-seeded White River and were no match for the favorites, losing 67-28 Feb. 14. White River’s full-court pressure was too much for the Vikings offense. NK only scored four points in the first quarter and 10 points by halftime, while the Hornets dominated inside and out, scoring 37 points from underneath the basket to outside the perimeter.

In the second period, NK began to find chances, but the Vikings only scored 10 more points, trailing 53-20 at halftime. Since NK’s bench was limited, the Vikings were tired in the fourth quarter. Therefore, White River ran away with the 39-point victory.

Kingston girls

The Kingston girls lost 45-30 to Sammamish Feb. 14. The Buccaneers had a strong start with a 13-6 lead after the first quarter. Tyson earned four quick points, and Tall Bull and Moon nailed a three-pointer each.

But Sammamish went on an 11-0 run in the first four minutes of the second quarter. Taizah Franklin broke the streak with a layup. Shortly after, Moon scored three points and Bull four. However, Sammamish led 29-22 at halftime. Kingston struggled to score again in the first four minutes of the third quarter. Franklin broke another cold streak with a basket. She scored a free throw as well. Yet, Sammamish’s lead extended to 40-27.

Both teams began to use some players on the bench. Therefore, it took Kingston six minutes to score its first field goal of the last period. Franklin once again broke the streak.

Olympic girls

Olympic was in a win-or-go-home match against Renton. Although the Trojans were underdogs on paper, they proved to be the more dominant team off the tip. The two teams battled in an offensive first quarter. Yet, Olympic took an 18-10 lead.

The Trojans took a 31-18 lead at halftime with several transition points. The Trojans poured in 20 points in the third quarter to take a 51-24 lead. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Olympic won 59-38.

The Trojans were eliminated by Kingston in another must-win matchup Feb. 16.

South Kitsap girls

The South Kitsap girls basketball team won its first round matchup against Kennedy Catholic 39-33 Feb. 10. The Wolves win was their first district victory since 2011 when SK was in the Narrows League rather than the South Puget Sound League.

SK struggled in the second round against Emerald Ridge, losing 44-18 Feb. 13.

Viking Jordan Williams shoots a three-pointer. Williams made the game-winning basket against Sammamish with just seconds left.

Viking Jordan Williams shoots a three-pointer. Williams made the game-winning basket against Sammamish with just seconds left.

File Photo
Jalen Davis leads Bremerton to its first state berth in a decade.

File Photo Jalen Davis leads Bremerton to its first state berth in a decade.