South Kitsap runs away from Vikings

"It started as a grind-it-out, slow-paced halfcourt game. It ended up a lightning-quick, up-and-down the floor contest where the scores came quickly.Somewhere in between, South Kitsap’s basketball squad found a way to solve the North Kitsap defense that had them stymied early. And somewhere around that time, the Wolves put the clamps down on the Vikings’ scoring opportunities — opportunities North capitalized upon in the first quarter to take a quick lead.The visiting Wolves, though, used a 13-2 run at the end of the third quarter to deal the Vikings (1-1) their first loss of the year Friday night in Poulsbo. Neither team had yet played a league game, though North took on Sequim the previous night at NKHS. Marc McNall led the way for the home team, tallying 21 points. The real difference in this game — which South took, 74-54 — was trips to the free throw line. Wolf players shot 23 free throws, making a sterling 20 of them. The Vikings were a mere 8-16 from the charity stripe, with four of those shots coming in the last two minutes with the game already out of reach.North was within striking distance until the end of the third stanza, and in fact led for the majority of the first quarter. McNall’s breakaway chance, which he finished with a highlight-reel 360-degree layup, tied the count at 4-4. From their, the Vikes turned on the jets, leading at one point 9-4 on Ben Ferguson’s jumper from the elbow. The first period, which ended with North on top 10-9, was a real defensive struggle. The Vikings’ zone defense and pressure forced South into ill-advised jump shots. Without those all-important foul shots, which amounted to four of the visitors’ first quarter points, this might have been a different game. But with the foul shots going down, and with the home squad in foul trouble, the Wolves hung in. And their jumpers from the field started falling, particularly the three-pointer. Using seven triples — five by senior guard Jason Young — the Wolves were able to overcome their early deficit to lead by nine at the break. And when Young hit a trifecta fresh out of the dressing room in the second half, things looked bleak for North Kitsap. Behind McNall’s penetration and the inside presence of junior Clint Thomas, though, the Vikes clawed their way back. Two layins by thomas — one off a nice feed by sophomore Thomas Jordan — drew North within eight. Senior wing Clary Carlsen then drew the Vikings within five, draining a timely three-pointer to silence the raucous droves of Wolf fans who made the trek from Port Orchard. A McNall foul shot and a bucket by Bryan Haupt (with an assist from senior guard Jacob Esparza) drew North within a basket, 29-31.That’s when Jordan, a staunch defender who had helped silence South’s outside shooters, was called for his fourth foul on a hand-check. That freed up matters for South guards John Sehmel and Justin Dudley, who along with Young keyed a fiery third quarter to help South pull away. After that, the Wolves were hitting on all cylinders. North wasn’t able to cut the lead to single digits in the final period.The Wolves got a lift off the bench from senior big man Beau Pilon, who crashed the offensive boards to collect 13 points — second only to Young among South’s scorers."

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