North Kitsap Vikings fall to league-leading P.A.

"Trevor PyleStaff Photo Despite a strong North Kitsap effort, the Roughriders were the winners Thursday night "

“Roughriders gallop over Vikings. POULSBO – During Tuesday night’s game, the Port Angeles Roughriders trapped and pressed, pressuring the North Kitsap Vikings into turnovers. They pushed the ball, attacking the Vikings on the offensive end. And they passed, often finding one cutter streaking ahead of the pack for an easy score. And after Tuesday night’s game, North Kitsap coach Dan Weedin knew he had seen a better team. Those guys rebound, run, and fill the lanes better than any other team we’ve seen, said Weedin, whose team’s record dropped to 7-3 after the 60-49 loss. They execute so well; they’re such a well-coached team. Weedin said, We know where we are now in the Olympic League. Weedin’s praise of the Roughriders shouldn’t be mistaken as disappointment with his own team. This is probably one of the best games we played, Weedin said. I think we showed a lot. The Port Angeles team, Weedin said, blew the Vikings out twice last year, and has chewed up the rest of the Olympic League, often defeating teams by forty points or more. For the Vikings to stay close, often closing the Roughriders’ lead to single digits, is a sign that they’re close to the top, Weedin said. The game started well for the Vikings, as Megan Curfman grabbed a pass from the opening tip and scored a basket, giving North a 2-0 lead. That was the team’s largest lead of the game. On the Roughriders’ first possession, junior guard Mandy Wood raised up for a three-pointer at the top of the key and drained it, giving Port Angeles the lead, 3-2. Port Angeles scored again when guard Jenna Abram streaked ahead of the pack, grabbed the outlet pass with both hands, and hit a layup. A third straight basket for the Roughriders came from Ashley Payne, who drove into the teeth of the Vikings defense for a layup. It was appropriate that most of the early damage came from Port Angeles’s guards, because it was a trio of guards – Payne, Wood and Lindsay Sather – who would victimize the Vikings, combining to score 47 points in the game. North fought their way back in the first. Lindsey Ross drove and hit a jumper, and a Megan Curfman drive ended in two made free throws. North briefly took the lead again when Curfman buried a jumper, putting the Vikings ahead 10-9. But Port Angeles continued to push. Wood buried a three from the wing, Payne spun and hit a layup inside, and the Roughriders’ Amanda Harris ran ahead of the Vikings and hit a layup that gave Port Angeles a six-point lead. That lead was 4 points when the first quarter ended, and 10 when the half ended. North fought hard in the second half, but with Port Angeles pressuring the Vikings into 24 turnovers, it was difficult to stay in the game. The Vikings tried anyway. Mari McKinstry sliced off a Shennell Harris screen and popped a jumper, and moments later Alice Wood made a hustle play by saving a ball for the Vikes by bouncing it off a Port Angeles player as she sailed out of bounds. The Port Angeles lead was 18 when the third quarter ended. North made a bit of a comeback, aided by Megan Curfman, who hit back-to-back jumpers and later sank a 3 to keep the Vikings in the game. But when the final buzzer buzzed, Port Angeles had won by 11, 60-49. Port Angeles coach Mike Knowles thought his league-leading Roughriders got a real test from the Vikings, who had beat them earlier in the year. North Kitsap came out and played pretty well, Knowles said. This was a great game for us … it was nice to have someone test us. Knowles singled out his trio of guards, Payne, Wood, and Sather, whose effort (and points) made the difference, he said. Weedin agreed. We prepared exactly for those three people, he said. We knew those were going to be the three to beat us. But Weedin said the game was important to show the Vikings just how good they needed to be to be an elite team. We need to be a team like P.A. he said. (North Kitsap – Curfman 16, McKinstry 13, Wood 8, Ross 6, Brundage 4, Bento 2) (Port Angeles – Payne 19, Wood 14, Sather 14, Abram 6, Harris 6, Bottgenbach 2) A welcome-back event for NKHS girls’ basketball alumni and coaches is planned for halftime of the Jan. 19 game vs. Bremerton – but that’s not all. The Vikings will be unveiling their new home uniforms as well. Former players and coaches are invited to the game, which begins at 7 p.m., and are asked to call coach Dan Weedin at 697-4629 or email him at nkcoachdan@yahoo.com. “

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