The North Kitsap Vikings scrapped together an upset victory over Central Kitsap at home Dec. 1.
“It’s redemption from last year,” Coriana McMillian. “Nobody thought we were going to win because we lost three of our five starters. It feels good to win this game.”
Coach Karla DeVries said, “It’s exciting. Central Kitsap is solid and I’m very happy with that win.”
The Cougars had a fast start with a 6-1 lead through the first few minutes. However, North Kitsap’s ball movement was unstoppable against Central Kitsap’s zone defense.
“The high-low game was great,” DeVries said. “They began in a 2-3 and moved to a 1-2-2 and we worked on beating that all week and it was effective.”
“One of our key points was to move the ball since it’s the best way to beat a zone,” McMillian said. “We knew that is what we needed to emphasize this game.”
Central Kitsap held onto a 15-14 lead after the first quarter. Yet, McMillian led the Vikings defense with a pair of steals and baskets to give North Kitsap a 19-18 lead. McMillian scored seven of her 12 points in the second quarter.
Teegan DeVries boosted the lead before halftime with a few contested layups to make it 27-24. In the third quarter, Central Kitsap began to use its strength against the smaller Viking squad. Cougar Sam Schaeffer scored four of her nine points underneath the basket, including a converted and one play.
Even though the Cougars had the size and strength, the scrappy Vikings defense kept a 35-30 lead through three quarters.
“I think the steals was a reason why we won,” McMillian said. “We are scrappy because we won’t always get the rebound and know we can always get a steal.”
North Kitsap’s Avery Kline scored the first basket in the fourth quarter to make it 37-30. Afterward, both teams struggled to score. With a few minutes remaining and a six point lead, the Vikings looked to have the game secured. However, North Kitsap players began shooting early in the shot clock to give Central Kitsap more possessions.
“You are never open enough when you are holding a lead,” DeVries said.
Despite some wild attempts, the Vikings held onto the lead with a couple of late game steals.