Sports

SK back in hunt for division lead

Basketball can be a strange game sometimes. Take Wednesday night’s Narrows League Bridge Division matchup pitting North Kitsap against South Kitsap.

The Vikings couldn’t buy a basket in the game’s first half yet trailed by just seven points. NK then proceeded to shoot light’s out in the game’s third quarteronly to see the Wolves’ lead increase by seven in what turned into a 66-56 victory for South.

Go figure.

“We were playing pretty good defense, but we just couldn’t shoot the ball,” Viking coach Aaron Nations said. “I think we were a little afraid of them in the first half, shooting the ball over them, and I told them to just go at them. Play hard and we’ll get back into this, and we did.”

Behind 14 first-half points from Jake Beitinger, the Wolves built a 24-17 halftime lead that should have been bigger, since North scored just three baskets in the first quarter and didn’t score again until the 2:26 mark of the second quarter. But key baskets by Jacob Gonzales kept the Vikings close.

Until the third quarter.

“We were telling the guys in the locker room, ‘Come on guys, don’t let these guys think they can play with us,’ ” said Beitinger, who finished with a game-high 24 points. “And the guys stepped it up and did a good job.”

The two teams traded baskets in a fast-paced and very entertaining quarter that saw the Wolves outscore the Vikings 27-21 to take a 51-38 lead into the fourth and put the game out of reach.

“We wanted to push it because we knew they were slower than we were,” Nations said. “The problem was, we got happy exchanging baskets and that’s what hurt us. That’s what lost the game for us. We didn’t step up defensively and shut them down.”

“It was great, it was up and down, we were trading baskets and not a whole lot of defense,” Beitinger said. “Not a lot to complain about. It was fun.”

The Vikings’ Ryan Young tallied 10 points in the third quarter alone but South got balanced scoring from Beitinger, Adam Bennett, Jamil Moore and Derrick Webb to keep pace.

“Offensively, I liked what we were doing. We were attacking the basket,” SK coach John Callaghan said of the third quarter. “But defensively, man, there were a couple of times they drove all the way to the basket, and that’s not much defense. Our transition from offense to defense was not real good.

“They were a little quicker at times and they were scrappy, too. I mean, they went after it,” Callaghan said. “In the first half, I thought they pretty much out-hustled us. But in the second half, I think we played with a little more intensity.”

Beitinger ended the night with 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Bennett added 10 points and eight boards. Moore and Connor Gehring scored 12 each for South.

Gonzales paced the Vikings with 23 points. Young hit for 10 and nine boards while Jared Prince added 10 points.

The Wolves are now just a half game out of first place in the division after Olympic beat Central Kitsap 58-55 in overtime Wednesday.

SK, 5-4 overall and 3-1 in league, played late Friday at Olympic and is at Central Kitsap next Wednesday.

North dropped to 2-8 and 1-4.

South Kitsap 14 10 27 15 — 66

North Kitsap 7 10 22 17 — 56

South Kitsap — Jake Beitinger 24, Conner Gehring 12, Jamil Moore 12, Derrick Webb 5, Adam Bennett 10, Mike Lizama 3, Connor McPherson, Evan Atwater.

North Kitsap — Jacob Gonzales 23, Alex Campagna, Ryan Young 10, Garrett McKinstry 5, Jared Prince 10, Travis Tobin 10, Randy Beck 2, Zach Williams 2.

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