As the clock hit zero against Tumwater, North Kitsap’s basketball season came to an end. All of Cade Orness’ buzzer-beater shots, Harry Davies’ acrobatic layups and so many more amazing plays became just a memory.
“That last game against Tumwater was probably one of the best-played games I’ve ever been a part of,” NK coach Scott Orness said.
Although the Vikings lost that game in triple overtime, they returned from state with their fourth-straight trophy after finishing sixth in the 2A division.
In the last four years, North Kitsap has won one state title, finished third once and sixth twice. In addition, it has reached state every year since Orness took over in 2017.
“I didn’t know what to expect exactly,” Orness said about winning multiple trophies at state. “I firmly believe just like at the end of our R.A. Long game, if you work your butt off every once in a while, you just get lucky. It’s a metaphor to how we’ve done things, and if you work hard and you do it long enough, good things are gonna happen.”
Orness’ dynasty at North Kitsap has been built over time like his legacy. The former Bainbridge High School basketball coach has captured over 300 wins in nearly a 20-year span and learned what his team needs to be successful. “It starts with laying a foundation of your expectations and your goals of where you want the program to go,” he said.
One of Orness’ expectations is to be prepared for every game. While some teams took time to relax in the hot tubs in Yakima during the state boys basketball tournament, the Vikings continued to train and watch film.
Orness said in order to make a powerhouse, North Kitsap cannot just focus on basketball from November to March. Instead, the Vikings condition year-round, compete on AAU teams and open gyms, train in the weight room and more.
“I told the guys sitting in the locker room after we lost to Tumwater, we just ended the November to March run. It’s on them to go out and make themselves better athletes and better basketball players.”
The current run of the Viking dynasty rests on one of the best backcourts in the state, juniors Orness and Davies. Orness typically runs the point on offense but had to play in the post on the defensive side this season due to North Kitsap’s lack of tall players.
Davies became a scoring slasher, making impressive plays at the rim every game. During their state run, Davies and Orness were responsible for almost 70% of North Kitsap’s points. Davies finished first-team and Orness second-team at state. They were also co-MVPs in the Olympic League.
“Harry had an unbelievable offensive season,” coach Orness said, adding he scored around 600 points, with his lowest game total around 14.
“Cade carries a little bit of a different load on a shoulder being the coach’s kid,” coach Orness said. “I could feel that burden on his shoulders, and I talked to him and I said,’ Hey, I just want you to play, and don’t need to hold that burden.’”
The dynamic duo will return for what looks like a state-contending team next season. Mason Chiemelewski returns as a standout perimeter defender, and joining the Vikings next year will be Logan Hudson, a 6-foot-7 forward from Central Kitsap. Other players returning include junior Noah Sorenson, sophomore Jonas Funston, and freshmen Aleo Torves and Jaxon Korsack.
“We’ve got a really nice crew back,” Orness said. “With a rim protector, it’s going to change our game and get us back to running the floor and playing the way we like to play.”
To get ready for the Sun Dome next year, Orness plans to schedule some of the toughest competition in the state during the season. Plus, he has been making his runs around open gyms and DRIVE basketball to scout and train his underclassmen. Another state title is his goal.
“There’s some real respect throughout the state for North Kitsap basketball now,” Orness said. “Even the event staff that have been all these old guys that run it over there at the Sun Dome, we get a little different treatment over there now.”