POULSBO — North Kitsap hits the road Friday night. The destination is East Bremerton as another showdown with Olympic High School awaits.
The Vikings (6-0, 11-3) have been on a roll since returning from a holiday tournament in Victoria, British Columbia. They ground out a win against an aggressive Sequim team on Jan. 5 and blew out their in-district rivals, Kingston, on Jan. 9.
On Jan. 6, they took on Franklin Pierce (4-4, 9-5) in a game to help North Kitsap see how it matches up with teams from the 2A South Puget Sound League, which they often face in district competitions.
The Vikings got off to a hot start and really never missed a beat. They scored 21 points in the first quarter, led by point guard Zac Olmstead, who had seven points in the opening frame and ultimately finished with 16. His play opened up room for forward Kai Warren, who finished with a game-high 20 points.
“We needed a good start today after a grind against Sequim,” North Kitsap head coach Scott Orness said after the game against Franklin Pierce. “We knew it would be an up-and-down game, both teams like to run and that’s the style we’re most comfortable playing. I think we have a little more experience right now.
And there were contributions by just about every player that touched the ball. Connor King came off the bench to score nine points, sinking three 3-pointers; Shaa Humphrey added eight points and, as usual, was in control of the boards on both ends of the floor; and Ryan Hecker played his typical solid two-way game.
“I think that is what is going to make us pretty difficult to guard,” Orness said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons and if one guy is open, they’ve got the confidence to knock those shots down and make things happen. It was a great group effort.”
By the fourth quarter, North Kitsap had rolled up a 22-point lead on the Cardinals. This gave an opportunity for players such as Logan Chmielewski, who got a chance to start against Franklin Pierce, Derek Zinn, Justus Jagodzinske and Kobe McMillian to play a larger role on the court.
“I didn’t feel like we missed a beat when we went to our bench,” Orness said. “We were able to keep our energy up all through that game.”
North Kitsap will play at Olympic on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. The Vikings are currently one game ahead of Port Angeles and two games ahead of Olympic for first place in the Olympic League standings.
North Kitsap 71 , Franklin Pierce 43
FP 10 9 14 10 — 43
NK 21 17 17 16 — 71
Franklin Pierce (43) — Boyd 11, Poole 9, Konan 6, Bing 6, Edge 4, Thomas 3, Quinland 2, Thomas-Stokes 2.
North Kitsap (71) — Warren 20, Olmstead 16, King 9, Humphrey 8, Chmielewski 6, Zinn 5, Hecker 3, Jagodzinske 2, McMillian 2.
— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at email@example.com.