POULSBO — Following Friday night’s 76-58 loss to class 3A heavyweight, Bainbridge, the North Kitsap Vikings were feeling good.
Despite the fact that the Spartans lit up the scoreboard with 26 second quarter points to runaway with the game and the fact that the loss still leaves the Vikings with a zero in their win column, it also proved just how great their potential is.
“I still believe that we are the best 0 and 8 team in the state of Washington,” said NK head coach Tony Chisholm. “It’s coming, it’s just a matter of time. We’re going to beat somebody.”
Out of the Bainbridge locker room following the Agate Bridge battle, the Spartans — who have been ranked as high as No. 2 in state polls this year – were relieved as NK gave the team its biggest scare thus far. The 58 points North scored is the most the Spartans have allowed this season.
It all began with a fast-paced first quarter.
Steven Gray, a senior standout from Bainbridge who verbally committed to Gonzaga after his sophomore season, began the game with a three-ball and a steal which turned into a five-point lead for the Spartans.
NK answered back with a full-court press which yielded a Jordan Coover fastbreak bucket and a three-ball from Steven Kirk.
Spartan Caleb Davis splashed two three-pointers within a minute to give Bainbridge a 16-12 lead late in the quarter, then North sophomore Kyle Erickson — who led NK with 21 points on the game — gave the Vikings a four-point swing to tie the game at 16 in the waning seconds.
North started the second with confident determination, leading by two after a solid first quarter and hit the offensive glass to increase that lead.
Then Gray broke open the game at its seams with a gym-rocking slam dunk, off of a steal and assist by Nick Fling.
Gray followed with a three-pointer, then the Spartans utilized their well-roundedness, zipping to a 16-2 run to close the half with a 44-30 lead.
“Steven Gray is a hell of a player. He plays within the flow of the game,” Chisholm said when asked about the turning point of the game. “But you can’t center on him and we didn’t. They are a well-balanced team, they are disciplined and they showed that; they have poise and they showed that.”
With confidence, the Spartans entered the second half with another run, courtesy of six points from the post, and quickly mounted a 20-point lead.
Kyle McCown picked up North’s first points of the third quarter at the 3:40 mark.
“Kyle McCown had the game of his life with all that energy,” Chisholm said.
Throughout the duration of the second half, McCown’s animation kept North alive despite the double-digit point difference on the score board. Creating offense through defensive intensity, McCown hit two free-throws to break the 20-point difference with 1:38 left in the third quarter.
Though the Vikings played out as a team, at that point, the game was gone.
“It makes me feel so good to know that when you come watch us, you come watch a basketball team,” Chisholm said.
Still searching for their first win of the season, the Vikings will be traveling to Wilson today before traveling to Foss Jan. 10 and finally returning to Poulsbo to host Gig Harbor Jan. 12 — all varsity games start at 7 p.m.
At North 58, Bainbridge 76
North — Kyle Erickson 21, Taylor Hoffer 8, Jordan Coover 8, Kyle McCown 7, Steven Kirk 5, James Beisley 4, Eric Schippers 2, Brian Cleaver 2, Cameron White 1, Tyler Seth.
Bainbridge — Steven Gray 24, Coby Gibler 18, Austin Wood 18, Caleb Davis 14, Nick Fling 2, Paxton Cruz, Jesse Powell, Rudy Sharar, Greg Corsack, Charlie Fick, Ben Eisenhardt.