North Kitsap couldn’t hold off a surging Central Kitsap squad on Monday as the Cougars erased a double-digit halftime deficit and battled down to the wire in an overtime game before losing 60-56.
Sophomore guard Anna Wetzsteon led the Vikings with 20 points as they opened up a 31-16 halftime lead, but Central Kitsap managed to tie the game at 47 before the end of regulation. The Cougars went ahead by seven in overtime, and North Kitsap fell just shy of forcing a second extra session.
“They played their hearts out, that’s why we were up 16 at the half,” coach Shawn Harris said. “We took it for granted being up by 16 and in the third quarter we didn’t get our first basket until the last three or four minutes and you can’t win basketball games that way.”
North Kitsap dominated the second quarter as the team held Central Kitsap to just one field goal. Ayanna Selembo opened the frame with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and Wetzsteon’s steal and layup gave the Vikings a 15-7 lead. The offense continued to hum as Wetzsteon’s put-back of a missed shot increased the lead to 19-11. On the next possession, it was Jade Sunnenberg who cleaned up a miss with a put-back. Mia McNair, who finished the game with 14 points, closed the half with a 3-pointer.
But Central Kitsap opened the third quarter with a 12-1 run, and North Kitsap’s lead was down to three by the end of the period. McNair scored on a pair of drives to the basket early in the fourth to put the Vikings back up 40-35, and Wetzsteon’s finish on a breakaway pass kept the lead at four with three minutes to go. Hailey Carrol tied the game at 45 with 2:19 left in regulation.
“You’ve got to give max effort, and it’s all mental from there,” Harris said, “especially when you’re up 31-16. You can’t take the foot off the gas.”
The Vikings had the chance to take the lead just before overtime as Evelyn Beers came up with a steal with seven seconds to go. On the ensuing possession a foul was called as McNair went to the basket, but it was deemed to have occurred after the buzzer.
Beers hit the opening basket in overtime, but Central Kitsap went on to score the next nine points. Selembo hit another 3-pointer to cut the lead to four and then Wetzsteon came up big with another layup to bring the deficit down to two, but that’s as close as they would get.
North Kitsap has two more games in the next three days, hosting Klahowya on Wednesday and then making the trip up to Port Townsend to take on East Jefferson.
“We’ve got two winnable games, and we can’t take them for granted,” Harris said. “At the end of the day, no matter how upset we all are, we can’t have our heads down when we leave this gym. We have to come back ready to work.”
Central Kitsap 60, North Kitsap 56 (OT)
CK 7 8 16 16 13 — 60
NK 10 21 3 13 9 — 56
Central Kitsap (60) — Driskell 13, Sincere 10, Saunders 9, Carrol 8, Kopp 8, Baumgartner 6, Richmond 6.