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

Makayla Stockman winds up to pitch for the Vikings. Steve Powell/File Photos
NK girls make it to state the hard way

Competitions took place last weekend to see who would advance to the… Continue reading

Senior catcher Colton Bower was a big reason for NK’s success this season. He will be on scholarship to play for Washington State University next year.
NK baseball stunned in 1st round at state

North Kitsap’s baseball team won over 20 games and only lost a… Continue reading

Pitcher Noah Sorensen moved the ball around and struck out a number of Pirates.
NK wins district title, on to state

Kingston wins 1 before being eliminated

The free fishing derby put on by the Lions Club is Saturday in Poulsbo. Courtesy Photo
Free fishing derby Saturday in Poulsbo

The Poulsbo Noon Lions Club is hosting a “Hooked on Fish Derby”… Continue reading

Colton Bower of NK dives safely back to first base after hitting a single in the first inning. Zach Duffy of BHS applies the tag. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald
NK falls to league-leading Bainbridge

You can bet the North Kitsap Viking outfielders are going to be… Continue reading

.
NK baseball team keeps winning

North Kitsap The Vikings beat Columbia River in baseball 10-7 and Ridegefield… Continue reading

Kingston goalie Carter Krantz jumps up to make a save under crowded conditions against Olympic. Krantz and the Bucs shut out the visitors 1-0. Krantz’s booming kicks also were a powerful offensive weapon for the Bucs, keeping Olympic on the defensive side of the field. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston’s defense blanks Olympic in soccer

Kingston has a strong defense, and it needed every bit of it… Continue reading

Kaden Schaefer of Kingston signs a letter of intent to play college soccer, while brother Zander, 5, looks on with admiration. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Buc scores college soccer scholarship

Once Kaden Schaefer got to high school, he started to think maybe… Continue reading

Ian ‘J.R.’ Ritche
Outdoor prep sports spring into action

The Bainbridge Spartan baseball team returns one of the top pitchers in… Continue reading

Owen Scheer tees off for Bainbridge in a match at Kingston. Steve Powell/Bainbridge Island Review Photos
BI, Kingston split golf matches

Bainbridge In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Viet Tran of Kingston follows through on his second shot after missing the numerous sand trips off the tee on Hole 1 at White Horse Golf Club. Steve Powell/North Kitsap Herald photos
Kingston splits golf matches against Bainbridge

Kingston In girls golf last week, Bainbridge beat Kingston 230 to 264.… Continue reading

Junior captain Elise Walters was the medalist for Bainbridge in the match against Sequim. Lucy Rector/Courtesy Photos
Defending champs start year with win over Sequim

The Olympic League defending champion Spartans started off the season last week… Continue reading