YAKIMA — North Kitsap rebounded from Thursday’s disappointing loss to Renton in a big way on Friday morning, taking down Fife 69-56 to advance to Saturday’s fourth place game.
Shaa Humphrey scored a game-high 23 points, taking command of the offense early by hitting his first four field goals. His performance set the tone for the entire game.
“We need him to be the aggressor and the focal point,” head coach Scott Orness said. “Everything needs to go through him. If he’s being aggressive, all the other stuff opens up.”
An early morning practice at Yakima Valley Community College did some good for the Vikings as they hit eight of their first ten shots from the field, including at least one basket from all five starters. That gave them a 19-6 lead after one quarter as Fife conversely struggled early.
“We were warm, we came right from the gym,” Humphrey said.
The Trojans didn’t go away quietly. As they did against Olympic in their regional game, Fife went to its full court press, dialing the heat up to 11. North Kitsap did struggle with it at first and committed some turnovers, which allowed the Trojans to cut the lead to eight with three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. However, by that time, Fife was in plenty of foul trouble as well and North Kitsap allowed its free throw shooting to close out the win.
“I didn’t feel like we had any letdowns, we turned the ball over a few times here and there, they turned up their press and we struggled with it, and we finally made a few adjustments.”
Kobe McMillian was the hero down the stretch, hitting all seven of his free throw attempts in the fourth quarter and was a perfect 11 for 11 for the game. He finished with 15 points.
McMillian and Humphrey also did an excellent job of locking down Fife’s top two players — Malachi Afework and Bryson Williams. Afework shot just 2 for 16 from the game, including an 0 for 8 performance from beyond the arc while Williams was held to just two field goals in the first three quarters of the game. He eventually finished with 17.
“Kobe and Shaa wanted the assignment and we gave it to them,” Orness said. “Both of them did an outstanding job.”
Jonas La Tour shined once again in a bench role. He registered his second double-digit scoring performance at the state tournament, knocking down 3 of 5 3-point attempts and finishing the game with 11.
It will be another early wakeup call for North Kitsap on Saturday. The Vikings face off against Clarkston at 8 a.m. The winner will finish in fourth place, while the loser will get six. North Kitsap defeated the Bantams 59-51 in the regional round one week ago.
“To come here — no one even thought we were going to get here — and to win the game and to have a chance to place higher than anyone at North is pretty cool,” Humphrey said.
North Kitsap 69, Fife 56
NK 19 14 14 22 — 69
FN 6 11 15 24 — 56
North Kitsap (69) — Humphrey 23, McMillian 15, La Tour 11, Chmielewski 7, Siebers 6, Moore 4, Olmsted 3.