TUMWATER — An early Black Hills offensive run put the Vikings behind and they were never able to catch up.
The Wolves ended the first quarter on a 17-0 run and extended it to 24-0 early in the second quarter. That was far too big a deficit for North Kitsap to make up and its season came to an end in the regional round of the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
Noelani Barreith’s three-point play finally ended Black Hills’s run with 6:20 to go in the second quarter; the score was 26-9. The Vikings fought on and were able to play the 2A District 4 champs closer in the second half, but finished on the wrong end of a 66-46 result.
“We went through that spurt where they just scored at will,” said North Kitsap head coach Penny Gienger.
Black Hills sophomore post Addie Ainsworth was unstoppable in the first half, scoring 20 of her game-high 28 points. Nearly every time she put up a shot, the ball found its way through the hoop. Foul troubles limited her minutes in the second half, but by then she had made her mark on the game.
Things looked great at the start for North Kitsap. Sophia Baugh and Barreith knocked down 3-pointers on their first two possessions and took an early 6-2 lead. But the team failed to score the rest of the quarter as Black Hills soared ahead.
“It was frustrating to see every light in my teammates’ eyes shut down,” Barreith said.
Barreith, who was named the Olympic League’s Most Valuable Player, led her team in scoring in her final game with 15 points. Baugh, a freshman who will be one of the team’s cornerstones in the future, also hit double-digits with 10.
North Kitsap finished the season with a 13-12 record and was the surprise team in the 2A District 3 playoffs when they knocked off top-seeded White River and then went on to finish third after a win over Franklin Pierce.
“We all thought we were going to lose and then we all fought in the White River game, and then like that we had guaranteed three more games,” Barreith said. “And we were going to fight until the end of all of those eight minute quarters, four quarters, three games.”
At one point, the Vikings had a 5-8 overall record and started 2-3 in league play, and at one point were in fifth place on the outside looking in for the playoffs. But the team got healthy and got rolling at the right time and nearly parlayed the hot streak into another appearance at the Yakima SunDome.
“We could have given up a long time ago,” Gienger said.
Black Hills 66, North Kitsap 46
NK 6 14 14 12 — 46
BH 19 19 12 16 — 66
North Kitsap (46) — Barreith 15, Baugh 10, McMillian 6, Tucker 5, Johnson 4, McNair 3, Reed 2, Komar 1.