Spartans shoot the lights out

Perhaps no one on either the Viking or Spartan basketball teams has quite as unique a perspective on the North Kitsap-Bainbridge rivalry as Mark Korsak.

And when the Vikings came to Bainbridge Dec. 30, the senior Spartan guard -- who hails from Suquamish -- took matters into his own hands in a 66-45 win over NK.

Korsak, who transferred to Bainbridge his sophomore year, single-handedly sank the Vikes by scoring 32 points --including going four-for-six from beyond the 3-point line.

“We know this is a big rivalry, we’ve had this for a long time,” Korsak said. “I think both teams come out harder than any other game to try and beat the other team.”

“Last year he had a great game against North, too,” said Bainbridge Coach Scott Orness. “He just loves playing against (North Kitsap).”

Bainbridge was also aided by a strong game from senior center Schuyler Boone, who scored 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

For the Vikes, Ryan Young had 12 points and grabbed 13 boards, and senior guard Garrett McKinstry scored 12 and added five rebounds.

Both teams came out firing in the first quarter, with continuous end-to-end action. There wasn’t a whistle until the Vikes’ Jared Prince was hacked under the basket with three minutes left in the quarter.

Less than a minute later, Prince left the game after going down hard on his tail-bone, trying to out-rebound Spartan Grant Leslie, but the Viking would return to the game in the second quarter.

Korsak proved unstoppable, scoring 22 of his 32 points in the first half alone. The Spartan was firing on all cylinders, both from the perimeter and down-low in the paint, off of good assists from teammates Zac Townsend and Leslie.

“Korsak just killed us,” Vikings coach Aaron Nations said. “He kept them in the game in the first half.”

“The team gave me a lot of good passes,” said Korsak. “I just tried to give us a chance to win.”

When Prince returned in the second quarter, he and teammate Randy Beck tried to make aggressive defensive plays -- but nothing seemed to work against the Spartan offense in the first half.

Bainbridge went up 31-23 at the mid-point.

“I was mainly trying to be a defensive stopper,” Beck said. “We were hoping to get some points there and hit the boards but we just couldn’t stop Korsak tonight. He was pretty hot.”

Beck also said the Vikings were missing a Korsak-type leader for the night, which was a definite advantage for the Spartans.

“There’s a lack of seniority and leadership on this team,” he said. “I try to step up sometimes and get the team going but it’s just not really happening right now.”

The Vikes rebounded in the third, which started with McKinstry scoring a bucket and a foul shot.

Korsak finally missed a shot, and, in frustration fouled North’s Alex Campagna, who added a bucket and a foul of his own to pull the Vikings within two, 33-31.

But Korsak and the Spartans regained their composure -- after he nailed another 3-pointer for Bainbridge.

The Vikings made a variety of turnovers and, combined with poor shot selections, the Spartans capitalized with a 15-2 run, going up 48-33 after three periods of play.

“We just couldn’t make a bucket,” said Nations. “We made our run in the third but just didn’t have anything to answer with after that. We just weren’t very patient -- we didn’t quit, we just didn’t have the same intensity.”

In the fourth, it was much of the same -- and the Spartans didn’t let up until the final buzzer sounded, including Boone on the receiving end of an alley-oop layup that drove Spartan fans wild.

The Vikings, especially on defense, just couldn’t find an answer.

“Our defensive consistency isn’t real good right now,” Nations said. “We have to learn to play at (the same) level at all times, and not be so up and down.”

Frustrations also surfaced at the end of the game, when the Vikes’ Travis Tobin received a technical foul for yelling.

The Vikings, under his new leadership as a first year coach, still have a lot to learn, Nations conceded.

“It’s a new program and a new philosophy,” he said. “It’s also a high learning curve. Once they figure it out we’ll be fine -- it’s just a matter of when we figure it out.”

Spartan coach Scott Orness said his team tried to be more dynamic whenever North made a charge to pull back in the game.

“Every time they’d make a run we’d try to switch something up,” he said. “Good things started to happen.”

“It was fun reacquainting and getting to know (North Kitsap) again on the court,” Korsak added. “We’ve got to keep playing like we did and we’ll do well.”

The Spartans are back in action tonight against Franklin Pierce, with junior varsity play beginning at 5:45 p.m. at Paski Gymnasium. Varsity starts at 7 p.m.

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