North Kitsap celebrates their stunning semifinal victory over Lynden moments after the buzzer sounds. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

North Kitsap celebrates their stunning semifinal victory over Lynden moments after the buzzer sounds. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)

North Kitsap completes a comeback for the ages, stuns No. 1 Lynden to reach the state championship

The Vikings trailed by 14 entering the fourth quarter

YAKIMA — Being down 14 points to the two-time defending state champions in the fourth quarter of a state semifinal game should have been an impossible task. Only a comeback for the ages could have saved North Kitsap on Friday night at the Yakima SunDome.

Fortunately, the Vikings were up to the task.

Incredibly, they shot 10-for-10 from the field, including 5-for-5 from beyond the arc and outscored Lynden 29-9 in the final frame. The boys stormed the court and celebrated, for they had just knocked off the Lions 62-56 and punched their ticket to the 2A state championship game, 3 p.m. Saturday against Clarkston in a most unthinkable manner.

“I don’t know if any group I’ve ever coached in the past 20 years would have been able to be down 14 points to the defending state champs and go on a run, 29-9,” said North Kitsap head coach Scott Orness. “It shows a tremendous amount of heart, guts, grit — all those words coaches talk about apply to those guys out there.”

North Kitsap opened the fourth quarter on a 14-5 run, which took just under three minutes. Jonas La Tour hit a pair of 3-pointers and Kobe McMillian had one as well, and Shaa Humphrey’s old-fashioned three-point lead cut the deficit to five.

But then about 90 seconds went by before either team scored again. The Vikings needed to pick up the pace before they ran out of time, and they did just that.

After Lynden’s Jordan Medcalf sank a pair of free throws, Humphrey answered with a three with 3:44 remaining. North Kitsap trailed by four. Logan Chmielewski took a charge to regain possession and then Johny Olmsted finished a layup to cut it to 54-52. Medcalf went down and made his own nice finish at the rim, but McMillian knocked down a big three from the corner and the deficit was back down to one.

The Vikings forced a turnover on the next Lynden possession and Chmielewski made a nice feed to Olmsted for the layup to give the team their first lead of the game with 1:55 to go. Off another Lynden miss, it was Humphrey again with the drive and layup — 59-56.

Medcalf was fouled and went to the line for a 1-and-1 and he missed the first shot. North Kitsap got the rebound and Humphrey was fouled. He converted both shots and North Kitsap led 61-56. After another Lynden miss, McMillian was fouled with 10.8 seconds left. He hit one of two free throws and that was it. The improbable comeback was complete.

“Once we started getting stops and we were getting easy buckets, we were just like, ‘Hey, we got this,’” said Humphrey, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “We just had to keep playing our game and the game will take care of itself and we’ll be playing tomorrow for the gold ball.”

The Vikings were able to make a few other necessary adjustments after halftime, which also contributed to the comeback.

After getting out-rebounded 21-10 in the first half, they actually won the battle of the boards, 14-9, in the second. Chmielewski, who had the unenviable task of guarding Lynden’s 6-foot-11 post Tyler Hanenburg, was able to hold his opponent to two field goals in the second half after he scored on four of his first five shots in the first.

“I’m going to sleep good tonight,” Chmielewski said.

They were also able to win the turnover battle in the second half. After a couple of mishaps and forced passes in the first half, North Kitsap’s offense functioned much more smoothly while simultaneously disrupting the Lions’. As each little success accumulated, the team grew more and more confident.

“We played our heart out,” Olmsted said. “We trusted each other, we trusted our coach. We gave everything.”

A mere six nights prior, the Vikings were walking off the floor after a regional loss to Tumwater searching for answers. Now they’re 32 minutes away from history.

“The hope was to be able to look back at that game and see it as a little bit of a wake up call,” Orness said. “And I think these guys are awake.”

North Kitsap 62, Lynden 56

NK 12 9 12 29 — 62

LY 22 12 13 9 — 56

North Kitsap (62) — Humphrey 21, McMillian 15, La Tour 14, Olmsted 6, Chmielewski 5, Olmstead 1.

Lynden (56) — Medcalf 17, Hanenburg 16, Heppner 16, Kochuten 5, Whitman 2.

More in Sports

q
WIAA moves fall sports to Feb. 1

Kitsap’s region can start Season 1 if it can move to Phase 2 of Insee’s reopening plan

Sam Clarke, Ray Lowrie and Jim Nadeau hold up the 1948 state championship team’s commemorative plaque.
Only BHS state roundball title 72 years ago

In the high school sports world, December means the beginning of the… Continue reading

Charlotte Bourgeois gets set to throw the shot put. Courtesy photo
BHS athletes happier being able to workout

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, prep athletes have not been able to compete… Continue reading

Sounders midfielder João Paulo tries to out-leap a Columbus player for the ball in the MLS Cup. (Mike Fiechtner/Sounders FC Communications)
Sounders magic runs out in 3-0 MLS Cup loss to Columbus

The Sounders’ playoff magic ran out in Columbus, Ohio, as a flat… Continue reading

Sounders captain Nicolas Lodeiro celebrates as his team advanced to the MLS Cup for the fourth time in franchise history. (Mike Fiechtner/Sounders FC Communications)
Sounders win thriller to advance to MLS Cup

It was all aboard the train to the MLS Cup for the… Continue reading

q
WIAA moves winter season to Feb. 1

Virus activities continue to trend upward all across Washington state and COVID-19… Continue reading

.
Bainbridge High School athletes have been working out on campus since late September, but a sharp rise in positive cases led the district to cancel them for at least two weeks. (Review file photo)
Conditioning sessions end as COVID-19 cases rise

Most Kitsap School Districts have called off student-athlete workouts

q
WIAA lays out process for commencing a sports season

The ever-evolving world of high school sports in Washington sprouted a new… Continue reading

Courtesy photoMegan Hyte, a former Poulsbo resident and North Kitsap soccer star, is giving back to her old club, Kitsap Alliance, through her 110 brand and fundraising platform.
Former NK soccer star gives back to her old club team

In order to find the right path in life, Megan Hyte first… Continue reading

Mark Krulish | Bainbridge Island ReviewKingston resident Jon Claymore is hoping to win the World Masters Virtual Challenge javelin competition in his age group.
Kingston’s Claymore has top World Masters Virtual Challenge javelin mark so far

At 55 years old, after millions of throws and thousands of competitions,… Continue reading

.
WIAA has new return-to-play guidelines based on county benchmarks

New return-to-play guidelines tied to Kitsap County benchmarks rather than the governor’s… Continue reading