POULSBO — The Vikings were down two players, but didn’t miss a beat in their first round West Central District III 2A tournament game.
But who knows how much of that momentum will carry over into the team’s quarterfinal game against Fife? It’s a difficult question to answer since no one yet knows when that game will be played.
North Kitsap was set to play the Trojans on Saturday at Fife, but that matchup has been postponed due to the snowstorm forecasted for the region this weekend. A win would give them a spot in the regional round later this month.
“It’s the first time we’ve been in that position,” head coach Penny Gienger said. “Maybe we won’t be as nervous. I don’t know how we’ll react to it, it’s hard to say.”
However, there were certainly no butterflies in the stomach against Orting, a five-win team from the South Puget Sound League. A 15-0 first quarter run catapulted North Kitsap to a big lead and several players stepped up to have marvelous games in a 66-44 win on Thursday night.
The Vikings were without No. 2 scorer Raelee Moore and a key bench player in Georgia Tucker, but that just gave players such as Alicia Goetz, Grace Johnson and Katie Komar a chance to play expanded roles.
The Cardinals packed the paint early, giving Goetz a chance to shine from beyond the arc and she was up to the task. The senior guard went 5 for 9 from beyond the arc and scored 15 points.
Johnson was an integral part of North Kitsap’s early 15-0 run, scoring six of her 12 points during that span. Komar, a junior, came off the bench to chip in 11 points and was a strong presence in the post.
“Katie has really improved a lot,” Gienger said. “I’ve always thought she’s had the ability and now it’s starting to come together. It’s like she said to me the other day, ‘It helps when you’re not hurt all the time.’”
The Vikings were rarely in an uncomfortable position against Orting, that early run providing plenty of cushion. The defense also had little trouble in forcing turnovers.
Freshman guard Kamora McMillian came up with six steals and was a constant thorn in the Cardinals’ side. Noelani Barreith had five and scored a game-high 16 points, 14 of which came in the second half as North Kitsap pulled away.
North Kitsap 66, Orting 44
OR 9 14 7 14 — 44
NK 19 15 17 15 — 66
Orting (44) — Elmore 14, Priddle 14, Moore 9, Recinos 6, Moreno 1.
North Kitsap (66) — Barreith 16, Goetz 15, Johnson 12, Komar 11, McMillian 4, Davis-Shearer 2, Kimmel 2, Pruden 2, Tweiten 2.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MKrulishKDN.