Jonas La Tour's 26 points sparked a stellar comeback by the Vikings in a 64-43 win over White River to earn a spot in the 2A state basketball Final Four
By Sandy Ringer, For West Sound SportsPlus
YAKIMA — As Jonas La Tour tossed in another 3-pointer, someone in the crowd yelled, “Who are you?”
Simple answer: He’s the guy who saved North Kitsap’s chances to win its first state boys basketball championship.
La Tour scored 24 of his game-high 26 points in the second half — including four of six three’s — as the third-seeded Vikings (22-4) overcame a sluggish start to beat No. 5 White River of Buckley Thursday, 64-43, in the quarterfinals of the 2A state tournament at the Yakima Valley SunDome.
North Kitsap, which trailed 24-13 at intermission, plays No. 1 Lynden (23-2) Friday at 7:15 p.m. Lynden, the two-time defending champion, beat No. 2 Toppenish Thursday, 73-56.
By the way, that fan — in the North Kitsap section — already knew who La Tour is. A better question: “Where have you been?”
La Tour had been in a bit of slump, going oh-fer from 3-point range in the previous two games and was 0-for-3 in Thursday’s first half.
“I was just trying to find my zone again,” the 6-foot-4 sophomore said. “At halftime, coach said, ‘I need a run from you right now, and I know it’s in you.’ I just found it, deep down. I had to have it.”
He also pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
Coach Scott Orness did well with his second-half wish list. His other request: Cut White River’s lead to five by the end of the third. The Vikings did better than that, surging to a 43-37 lead.
“I’m super proud of our guys for their resiliency,” Orness said. “They fought back.”
After shooting just 22.7 percent in the first half, the Vikings were an incredible 22-for-29 (75.9) after the break. The responded defensively, too. Johny Olmsted took the primary assignment against White River’s Tanner Wallen, the SPSL East Division MVP, and limited him to four points.
Olmsted also helped on the offensive end with 10 points, while Shaa Humphrey added 15. T.J. Stroschein paced White River with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Humphrey, a senior, showed his leadership by gathering his teammates for a pep talk just before the start of that decisive second half.
“I just said, ‘Hey, we’ve got to believe,’” he said. “It starts with us.”
The two teams had met two weeks earlier in the semifinals of the West Central District tournament, which North Kitsap won, 66-59.
This is the Vikings’ third trip to the semifinals and first since 1982, when they wound up fifth. Their best finish was third in 1960.