The North Kitsap Vikings staved off a second-half rally by the third-seeded Burlington-Edison Tigers for an upset win 50-47 at the Class 2A state girls basketball tournament Wednesday morning in Yakima.
North Kitsap (21-6) will face Archbishop Murphy at 9 a.m. Thursday at the Yakima SunDome in the quarterfinals.
“The girls played well and super hard and got it done,” NK coach Penny Gienger said by phone.
Gienger and the coaching staff talked at length to the players about the differences in playing at the SunDome versus high school gymnasiums. It’s the first time the girl’s team has played in a state tournament in 30 years, and Gienger was asked if it would be understandable if there were jitters.
That may have been the case early on, Gienger said, but after she called a timeout when she saw her players just “tossing up shots” they settled into the game.
“We were playing not to lose instead of playing to win,” she said.
The Vikings led 24-18 at halftime and weathered an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter when Burlington-Edison took a 45-44 lead.
North Kitsap knew the Tigers (18-7) would come at them and the late-game scoring run wasn’t a surprise. Gienger took another timeout and told her players to relax because the Tigers were only ahead by one.
“We went right back out and settled in and scored the next two (possessions),” she said. “We didn’t fold or react to their lead. We made a play and scored, stopped them, and scored again. I think that was huge … (a) kick to their stomach. They probably thought we would fold and we did not.”
The Vikings instead increased the lead back to 10 points, 44-34, with 3:57 remaining. North maintained its lead throughout, and with seven seconds left saw Burlington-Edison’s final 3-point attempt fall short for a 50-47 final.
North Kitsap’s Olivia Selembo led all players with 18 points, 7-of-14 from the field, while Erin Pearson scored 12 points and Noey Barreith finished with 11. Grace Johnson chipped in eight points. Guard Raelee Moore went down hard and left the game having played just 18 minutes. Gienger said Moore was held out for precaution but passed all the tests for what she called an upper-body injury.
Allyson Ray led the Tigers with 17 points and was the only Burlington-Edison player in double figures.