Bainbridge hosted North Kitsap Tuesday night in a battle between two teams vying for first place in the Olympic League, and it didn’t disappoint.
The Vikings were carried to victory by a big night from junior Jonas La Tour, who had a game-high 24 points, as he and his team were able to push ahead in the third quarter and hang on for the win.
The two teams were hot early, and it looked like the game could turn into a track meet, but North Kitsap was able to hold Bainbridge’s high-powered offense to just 19 points in the second half after giving up 22 points in the first quarter alone.
“I thought we really set the tone in the third quarter,” NK coach Scott Orness made, “made those adjustments and the kids were able to execute them, which doesn’t always happen in high school, but they really did it and did a nice job.
La Tour opened the scoring in the third quarter to kick off a mini-run that helped his team take command of the game. Cade Orness followed with a 3-pointer and then a layup on a strong drive to the hoop, which gave North Kitsap a 44-37 lead. Orness finished the game with 13 points.
Andrew Ward pulled Bainbridge back within four with a 3-pointer, but Colton Bower was able to sneak behind the defense for a back-door basket near the end of the third quarter to give the Vikings a six-point lead heading into the final frame.
The Vikings were again able to get a quick start as La Tour and Orness each picked up a bucket followed by a 3-pointer from Dalton Brockett. North Kitsap’s supporting cast was able to contribute well, especially after La Tour landed awkwardly on a rebound attempt and missed some of the second half with that slight injury.
“He’s really earned his time after baseball and is stepping into a nice role for us,” Orness said of Brockett.
The Spartans were unable to gain ground in the fourth. Alan Ulin made a pair of strong plays that led to baskets, and Cliff Hennessey’s two free throws got them back to within 58-54, but Orness closed the scoring with a pair of free throws and then a dunk for good measure.
Bainbridge led in the game 22-20 after one quarter as both teams were sinking shots with great frequency early. Hennessey sparked his team with an early 3-pointer, but had to sit for much of the game after accruing four fouls in the first period.
Ward’s 3-pointer midway through the first gave the Spartans a 16-13 lead, and Jacob Kirsch extended it to 19-15 after another triple. Junior James Carey added another basket from beyond the arc near the end of the first, and it looked like the Spartans were going to have another big shooting night.
But the Vikings were able to match them stride-for-stride as La Tour hit a pair of threes in the second quarter, and Brockett and Gray Hager each added one. Johny Olmsted’s layup gave North Kitsap a 26-25 lead, and they never relinquished it, leading 37-35 at the break.
“It’s great to have a rivalry right across the bridge,” Ulin said. “It’s a great opportunity to play them.”
Ward led Bainbridge with 19 points, while Kirsch and Ulin chipped in 12 each. It was a close game all the way, one befitting the two teams’ places in the standings. The Spartans never trailed by double-digits and were rarely behind by more than six points.
“Especially coming off a state championship run, everyone is going to play their best game against us, no matter what,” La Tour said.
North Kitsap 62, Bainbridge 54
NK 20 17 11 14 — 62
BI 22 13 7 12 — 54
North Kitsap (62) — La Tour 24, Orness 13, Brockett 8, Hager 7, Bower 5, Olmsted 5.