Colton Bower tries to find room with 6-foot-9 John Vaara guarding him close in the league championship game. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

Colton Bower tries to find room with 6-foot-9 John Vaara guarding him close in the league championship game. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

NK knocks off PA to capture league hoops title

For the second-straight year, North Kitsap won its last game of the season.

And although 2021 didn’t end with the golden ball trophy presentation on the floor of the Yakima SunDome, winning a league title on the road at their archrival’s gym made for a nice consolation prize.

For the third game in a row, Jonas La Tour scored 27 points to lead all Viking shooters in scoring as North Kitsap defeated Port Angeles 75-65 in the Olympic League championship game.

“This one feels good,” La Tour said. “And we took the bus here so we can celebrate on the way back.”

La Tour got off to a hot start early, scoring 15 points in the first quarter and converting three consecutive 3-point shots as the Vikings raced to a 23-14 lead. The 6-foot-5 junior was firing from well beyond the arc, and there was little Port Angeles could do other than watch him hit nothing but net.

“We wanted to extend his shot today a little bit,” NK coach Scott Orness said. “We wanted to extend their zone, and Jonas hit a few threes and that opened up the middle for Cade (Orness). We put Cade in the high post, which was a little bit of an adjustment, when they went zone, and it got him to be a little bit of a playmaker against their number 40, and he made some nice passes and plays in there.”

The Vikings went a little cold in the second quarter, and their tough, scrappy and skilled opponents weren’t about to let their rivals run away with a league title on their own court. A couple of big 3-pointers from Xander Maestas, who finished with a game-high 28 points, and another from Wyatt Dunning helped Port Angeles cut into the lead. NK led by just five at the half.

A 10-4 run helped Port Angeles take its last lead of the game midway through the third, but it was short-lived as NK guard Johny Olmsted ramped up his offensive game. Olmsted answered Maestas’s go-ahead basket with a short jumper on the next possession to restore his team’s one-point lead. A couple of minutes later, Olmsted hit another, and coupled with La Tour’s fourth 3-pointer of the game and a pull-up jumper from Cade Orness, it gave North Kitsap a 51-45 lead heading into the final eight minutes.

In the fourth quarter, Cade Orness hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions, and then Dalton Brockett knocked down a three to give North Kitsap a 62-49 lead with 4:45 to go. Olmsted finished with 21 points, while Cade Orness added 14.

“Johny really picked it up in the second half. He got some big buckets,” La Tour said. “Cade with those two threes in the second half, they were huge.”

A 9-0 Port Angeles run within the span of 90 seconds brought the Roughriders back within four, but Olmsted answered with a three. Maestas hit another three for Port Angeles with 1:59 to go, and the lead was back down to five, but that’s as close as the Roughriders would get.

The defense stood tall when North Kitsap needed it most as it never allowed its opponent to get closer than four points in the final frame. The Vikings held Port Angeles to just 2-of-9 from beyond the arc in the last quarter.

“We ran a little diamond-and-one for fun just to give them a different look and keep them off set,” coach Orness said, “but coach Ulin does a great job making adjustments and at the end of the game we both had to play man-to-man to see who’s going to win.

As Port Angeles began to foul to get the ball back, all that stood between North Kitsap and a league title was their free throw game. Olmsted hit six of his final eight, and Colton Bower added one as the Vikings continued to pull away. ”It was a battle,” coach Orness said. “It was a physical battle, and the big players were making big plays.”

North Kitsap 75, Port Angeles 65

NK 23 11 17 24 — 75

PA 14 15 16 20 — 65

North Kitsap (75) — La Tour 27, Olmsted 21, Orness 14, Brockett 10, Bower 3.

Port Angeles (65) — Maestas 28, Dunning 14, Vaara 13, Clark 5, Wheeler 2, Watkins 2, Hall 1.

Other results

The Bainbridge boys captured third place in the tournament, bouncing back from the semifinal loss to North Kitsap to beat Central Kitsap 65-48.

The Bainbridge girls were also successful in their final game, taking down Olympic 65-46 to finish in fifth place.

The Kingston girls finished in third place in the Olympic League, knocking off North Kitsap 61-24.

The Kingston boys ended their season Monday with a loss to Olympic 50-43.

In the South Puget Sound League tourney, the South Kitsap boys lost a heart-breaker to Peninsula 59-58.

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