North Kitsap tops Franklin Pierce, 70-55

The Vikings will play Renton in the district semifinals

POULSBO — North Kitsap has guaranteed itself a spot at regionals with a win over Franklin Pierce on Feb. 10.

Matched up with a team they had already beaten by over 20 points in early January, there was no letdown for the Vikings as they cruised past the Cardinals, 70-55. Head coach Scott Orness said the team’s play was “exceptional” in nearly all phases of the game.

Kai Warren led the charge with a game-high 21 points, while adding seven rebounds and five assists. The Vikings were hot from the 3-point line, shooting 8-for-15 in the first half and 45 percent overall as they rolled out to a big lead by halftime. Zac Olmstead added 16 points in the game to go along with five assists and four rebounds. The senior guard hit all five of his field goals.

As a team, North Kitsap shot 53 percent from the field (27-for-51), which gave the veteran squad a huge advantage over the younger, less experienced Cardinals. Other standouts included Shaa Humphrey, who scored 12 points and picked up six rebounds and four steals; and Ryan Hecker and Derek Zinn who chipped in nine and eight points respectively.

Only the team’s play in its own end needed attention at halftime. While they defended well, they were giving up too many offensive rebounds, Orness said.

“One area where we were a little down was taking care of the offensive boards,” Orness said. “Franklin Pierce did a great job attacking the glass, so we had to make changes there at halftime.”

Next up for North Kitsap is a fast, aggressive and skilled Renton team that dispatched Olympic, 69-49, on Feb. 10. Orness feels his team matches up well with the Indians in terms of skill and speed.

“We have some quickness, some length, I think we can really defend these guys pretty well,” Orness said. “From what I’ve seen so far, I think it’s going to be a good matchup.”

A win puts North Kitsap into the finals and a showdown for the No. 1 seed out of the district tournament. Its opponent will be either Foss or Fife and the game will take place on Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. If the Vikings lose, they will play for third place at 3:45 p.m.

— Mark Krulish is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at