BREMERTON — The North Kitsap boys basketball team could not have asked for a better start to the Olympic League season.
The Vikings were sizzling from the floor all night against a Bremerton team that has the talent to make the playoffs this season. The team shot 11 for 16 in the first quarter and took a 25-14 lead. The Knights never recovered and North Kitsap pulled away in an easy 86-51 victory on Wednesday night.
Sophomore Jonas La Tour had the hot hand early, sinking three 3-pointers in the first quarter alone. He finished 6-for-10 from the beyond the arc and had a game-high 26 points in just three quarters of play.
La Tour, who broke out in a big way as a freshman with his performances at the 2A state tournament, is the embodiment of all the things this North Kitsap team does so well. They’re long, athletic, versatile and can shoot from distance. And La Tour has been putting up shots from the 3-point line for quite some time.
“I just used to shoot so much in rec,” La Tour said. “Once I slowed down and learned technique and started AAU, I was able to develop a consistent shot.”
All five North Kitsap starters finished in double digits. Senior forward Shaa Humprhey hit his first three field goal attempts and finished with 17 points. Kobe McMillian added 15, doing most of his damage from the free throw line where he went 10-for-11, and Johny Olmsted and Logan Chmielewski each chipped in 11.
And on any given night, any one of these players could have the hot hand, making it nearly impossible to key in on one particular guy.
“We’ve got a lot of tools, a lot of weapons,” said North Kitsap head coach Scott Orness. “I honestly don’t think anyone cares how many points they score as long as we keep winning.”
The Knights have high hopes for this season as well. They return four starters and much of the bench from a team that came up just short of a playoff berth last season. Wins over Washington and Black Hills to start the season have helped some of that promise show through, but the Knights were a little slow out of the gates against North Kitsap.
“In my eyes, we are a playoff team,” said Bremerton head coach Miah Davis. “Obviously, it didn’t show tonight the way we came out.”
Joseph Wilson led Bremerton with 14 points and D’Angelo Moore added 12. At times the Knights flashed the ability to hang with a quality team like the Vikings, but the slow start put them too far behind.
“You have to come out ready to fight, ready to box,” Davis said. “Because they will take advantage of you.”
For North Kitsap, the season rolls on with more big tests. Their non-league schedule is loaded with talented teams such as Stanwood, Union, W.F. West, Selah and Fife, which should give them an RPI boost come state tournament time. But even after playing at a near-100 point pace through three quarters on Wednesday night, there is still work to be done.
“There’s a lot of little things we have to clean up to beat those disciplined teams,” Orness said.
North Kitsap 86, Bremerton 51
NK 25 24 23 14 — 86
BR 14 17 10 10 — 51
North Kitsap (86) — La Tour 26, Humphrey 17, McMillian 15, Chmielewski 11, Olmsted 11, Olmstead 4, Miller 2.
Bremerton (51) — Wilson 14, Moore 12, Washington 9, Jackmon 6, Ki. Retome 4, Logova 2, Ka. Retome 2, Taylor 2.