POULSBO — With a heightened sense of urgency — either due to a forecasted coming snowstorm or the desire to get down to business — the North Kitsap Vikings shot out to an early lead and never looked back, beating the Orting Cardinals 66-44 on Thursday in a first-round Class 2A West Central District girls basketball game at North Kitsap High School.
The win moved the Vikings one-step closer to a regional berth.
North will play at Fife but as to when still remains to be seen. Tournament director Tim Thomsen, the Sumner athletic director, announced on Thursday that Friday and Saturday games were postponed due to weather and possible transportation-related issues.
Games will be rescheduled for next week.
North Kitsap coach Penny Gienger said she’s not sure how the team will react to the layoff but knowing who their opponent is will help prepare them regardless.
“You have what you have,” she said. “If one of those things works, great. If one of those things don’t work, well … we’ll just have to go out and play. If we can play together and make it work that’s something. You never know after three days.”
Without the availability of starting guard Raelee Guard, who was held out for precautionary reasons due to a possible stress fracture, Gienger turned to 6-foot junior center Katie Komar. Komar, ironically, has been fighting injuries off and on her entire high school career but has been playing relatively pain-free this season.
Komar said an early growth spurt when she was younger stretched her muscles to the point that injuries were a common occurrence with her knees and ankles. She has been able to adjust and work around the issue and was grateful to help her teammates on Thursday.
“Actually getting to play with them was amazing,” Komar said. “I’ve been watching them and supporting them and being able to play with them was so much fun. And I loved it, I love the feeling. It feels good to play again.”
Komar, who finished with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists
“I have that love and passion for basketball,” she said.
Gienger was just as happy to have the chance to put her in the lineup.
“Katie’s been getting better every game,” she said. “She’s played some jayvee this year to to get some time and she’s been on my team since her freshman year and she kept getting hurt, kept getting hurt. But she’s really improved a lot and I always thought she could be a good player.”
Orting took a 3-0 lead in the opening minutes and that would be the last time the Cardinals would have the edge. The Vikings scored on their next seven possessions, taking a 13-3 lead and were up 19-9 after one period.
Alicia Goetz, the long-range sharpshooter, drained a 3-pointer from the corner and freshman point guard Kamora McMillian’s steal and layup made it 28-17 in the second before the Cardinals had time to react. Komar followed with a contested layup and a foul for the old-fashioned three-point play and a 31-19 NK lead with 43 seconds left before halftime. Goetz again followed up with another 3 and a 34-23 lead at the break.
It was much the same in the second half as Noey Barreith’s layup was followed by another 3-pointer by Goetz and Barreith’s coast-to-coast layup made it 41-25 with 5:14 left as Orting coach Jessica Squires called a timeout.
North held a 51-30 lead heading into the fourth and went up 55-30 on another Barreith layup. NK’s defense continued to feed off miscues by the Cardinals as the Vikings were able to force turnovers and create opportunities on the offensive side of the court. A three by Goetz with 4:39 left was followed by back-to-back buckets by Grace Johnson to give NK a 62-38 lead in the final minutes.
Barreith finished with 16 points, five assists, five rebounds and three blocks and Goetz had 15 points, two assists and two steals. Johnson added 12 points, five rebounds and two blocks.
Renton gets past Kingston, 63-57
The Kingston Buccaneers traveled to Renton, losing 63-57 in their district opener.
“We played hard as a team,” said Kingston coach Charles Deam, “the lesson is staying focused for four quarters.”
Deam said in playoff basketball “a slip up here and a slip up there can and will cost you a game. Our effort was there.”
The Buccaneers will play Eatonville the next time they are able to take the court. The district schedule has the teams playing at Washington High School on Feb. 13 at 6 p.m.
Bainbridge earns district bid
The Bainbridge Spartans beat Holy Names on Thursday in a Metro League qualifier game, 48-36, to secure a berth to the SeaKing District tournament.
The Metro League tournament was canceled due to impending weather. Teams were seeded into the district tournament as follows; 1, Garfield 2, Seattle Prep 3, West Seattle 4, Ballard 5, Lakeside 6, Franklin 7, Roosevelt and Bainbridge 8.
The Spartans are scheduled to play at Ballard at 7 p.m. on Feb. 11 in a loser-out game.