POULSBO — With a three-point loss to the Gig Harbor Tides Friday night at home, North Kitsap boys basketball ended its first year under head coach Tony Chisholm.
And while the NK win/loss record seems riddled with discord, the actual tenor of the season was much more positive.
“I guarantee next year, I might lose some (players) because of the split, but at the same time, I think I’m going to gain some,” Chisholm said.
Kingston High School is slated to open at the beginning of next school year, which will split incoming players from the 2006-2007 Vikings basketball team into Kingston and North Kitsap cadres.
“Although the kids weren’t winning games, they saw their classmates and their friends talking about basketball … they were still excited,” he added. “I know that they will continue with that positive attitude.”
The Vikings finished with an overall 2-18 record, occupying the bottom spot in their first year of the Narrows League Bay division. However, under the surface of those 18 losses, 10 were decided by less than 10 points, two were decided in overtime and none were due to a lack of heart, Chisholm added.
“This team was in every game, we were right there,” he said. “We still maintained that competitive edge, we never lost it.”
In their season finale Friday, the Vikings kept themselves in a position to win throughout the entire game against the perennial powerhouse Gig Harbor. And fittingly, on senior night, Eric Schippers and Dietrich Rios led the charge in the 51-48 loss.
Rios scored nine points in the endpoint of a senior season which he began on the bench with an injured knee. Schippers came alive despite the Tides’ stellar postman Clarence Trent to score 14.
“He played the way I knew he could play all season, it’s good to see Eric end on a note like that,” Chisholm said, adding similar praise for Rios.
During the bulk of the season, however, North was led in scoring by sophomore Kyle Erickson. Still Chisholm is quick to point out that everyone on the Viking bench contributed in one form or another this season.
“That thing about this year that you don’t find too often was … I played everybody,” he said, noting his excitement about the underclassmen – Erickson, Taylor Hoffer and Taylor Chisholm – who were mainstays in the NK line up. “By the time they are seniors, you’d better watch out.”
Competing regularly with Bay division schools for the first time this year, Chisholm said the Vikings benefited from having not only seen but also competed with one of the upper echelons of Western Washington high school hoops.
The players who remain at North will see that same competition again next year, while those who go to Kingston will be joining up with the regionally budding 2A Olympic League.
“What we’re going to take from being in this league for two years is that top-notch experience,” Chisholm said. “But going across that bridge, the long evenings and trips and stuff like that takes its toll.”
In 2008-2009 North is slated to join the Olympic league, setting the stage for more regional competition and what could very well be a brilliant rivalry between the Vikings and Buccaneers.