TACOMA — The Vikings cruised right past their West Central District III first round opponent on Wednesday, setting up a big Friday night matchup with the No. 1 seed in the tournament, White River.
North Kitsap has an interesting recent history with the Hornets. Last year, the two teams met in the district semifinals and the Vikings took them to overtime. North Kitsap was eliminated at regionals while White River went on to place fifth at the 2A state tournament, but on that night they were equal adversaries.
“We’re just going to go and fight and give it our best shot,” said North Kitsap head coach Penny Gienger. “We know that we’re kind of the underdogs and when you’re the underdogs you don’t have anything to worry about, you just go out and play.”
The Vikings have turned a corner over the past few weeks with more consistent play on both ends of the floor. Despite a few miscues early in their first round game against Washington, the team was in control from start to finish, doubling up their opponent 54-27.
“We were going a little fast, we had some nerves,” Gienger said.
Grace Johnson led a first quarter 10-0 run with three pretty finishes at the basket. Elizabeth Kimmel also hit an early jumper and the Vikings led 12-7 at the end of the first quarter.
It was a game that saw the entire team contribute offensively. Mia McNair stepped up with a pair of 3-pointers in the second quarter and Kamora McMillian connected once from beyond the arc as well. Sophomore center Maliyah Reed came off the bench and showed good touch around the rim.
After halftime, Sophia Baugh led the way, scoring ten of her game-high 12 points.
Baugh, a freshman who began the year on the shelf with an injury, has grown more comfortable on the varsity team with each passing game and will be a big x-factor for the team during this playoff run.
“It’s a long process, but I’m getting there,” Baugh said.
The winner of the 7 p.m. Friday night game between North Kitsap and White River game will earn a spot in the regional round of the state tournament and play the winner of the Fife-Sequim matchup. The loser heads to the left side of the bracket where they will have to win two in a row to reach regionals.
North Kitsap 54, Washington 27
NK 12 19 13 10 — 54
WN 7 9 6 5 — 27
North Kitsap (54) — Baugh 12, Johnson 8, McNair 8, Barreith 6, Reed 6, Komar 4, Kimmel 3, McMillian 3, Selembo 2, Tucker 2.
Washington (27) — Smith 8, Hinton 8, Perado 6, Phipps 3, Kueth 2.