POULSBO — Led by two sophomores and a senior on the scoring end, the fledgling North Kitsap Vikings boys basketball team kept pace with a seasoned South Kitsap Wolves squad Friday night.
Unfortunately for NK, it never closed the gap, and in the end, the No. 8 ranked team in the state took the game, 69-54.
Despite the fact that the loss dropped the Vikings’ record to 1-11 on the season (1-7 in Narrows play), North Kitsap head coach Tony Chisholm still received compliments on the NK game from a complete stranger.
“When people observe how you treat each other and how you go about the game with respect and positive energy, I guess it just draws people,” Chisholm said. “It’s coming.”
However, so is the breaking point of the season.
In order to secure a chance at postseason play, the Vikings — sitting in last place of the Narrows Bay Division — must pick up multiple league wins. Beginning this week, they will have multiple chances.
Monday the team hit the road and lost by a count of 70-53 at Henry Foss High School. The Vikings returned to host Stadium the following day, but results were unavailable at press time.
After a break today, the Vikings will be at Central Kitsap Thursday before hosting Mount Tahoma Saturday — both varsity contests begin at 7 p.m.
With another monster week scheduled for Jan. 29-Feb. 2, the Vikings will play six Narrows League games in 10 days starting Thursday. The postseason begins Feb. 8.
But rather than overwhelm themselves by looking at the entire postseason picture, the team plans to paint it one game at a time, Chisholm said.
Friday night against SK, the Vikings’ defense made the Narrows League match up a colorful affair.
Early in the game, NK junior Jordan Coover roused the NK home crowd with a resounding block to counter the Wolves’ 6-9 lead.
Senior Steven Kirk followed with one of his three triples on the game, keeping North at pace. Then, at the one minute mark of the first quarter, South’s LP Neloms drained a three to switch the momentum.
Down by five, 18-13, at the start of the second, the Vikings found a lid over their basket. The Wolves mounted a 26-15 lead, before an NK defensive switch stemmed the SK tide.
“I threw a zone at them, and that zone was very effective,” Chisholm said. “That threw them off balance and gave us the ability to get some rebounds.”
Those rebounds turned into opportunities as Kirk and sophomore Taylor Hoffer each hit a three to keep North within 10, 33-24, at halftime.
But the Vikes shooting struggles persisted through the second half as South Kitsap kept its lead — by as much as 20 at the three minute mark in the fourth quarter.
Still, the Vikings wouldn’t go out with a fight. That could serve as a precursor to how they will finish the season.