NK keeps KSS flightless


Staff writer

 POULSBO — He who controls the tempo controls the game.

When the North Kitsap Vikings hosted the Klahowya Eagles on Saturday afternoon, the game controller was NK’s own Kyle Erickson. In the Vikings’ 68-50 victory over the Eagles, Erickson led the team with 21 points and served as the calm in the storm when things got hectic.

He put NK coach Tony Chisholm’s preaching to practice by playing a patient game and calming his fellow teammates.

He attributes his uncanny ability to never get riled up to his experiences on the court during recreational basketball, which is played at a faster pace than high school basketball.

“I can see things happen, and I can calm down and make things happen,” Erickson said.

He credits his team with his success on the court and pointed out that the Vikings’ 5-1 start this year is the result of every player knowing his job and performing it to the best of his ability. That, and making sure everyone on the court gets their hands on the ball.

“I’m a team player. We live to get everyone involved. It’s much better when all the guys are involved,” he said. “When everyone shares the ball that’s how we achieve individual success.”

Taylor Hoffer didn’t play badly, either, racking up his fifth double-double for the season with 15 points and 18 rebounds. His streak was on the line in the first half and Chisholm wasn’t afraid to razz Hoffer about it.

“What about that double-double you were talking about?” Chisholm inquired at the half, letting him know that his rebounds left much to be desired.

Hoffer’s response: “OK, you’ll see.”

Chisholm did see.

“We wanted to get the boards, so that’s what we had to do,” Hoffer said.

Hoffer paid homage to Klahowya, saying the memory of the Vikings’ loss last year was burned into his memory. Though Klahowya is a 2A school, the Vikings’ were sure to not overlook them.

“We can’t zone out and take a team for granted. Last year we lost to them,” he said.

Eagles coach Scott McMinds acknowledged the Vikings had the market cornered on the height advantage. Like any formidable opponent, the Eagles played to their own strength: their speed. And for the Eagles, Caleb Leavitt and Andre Moore Jr. personified speed. With 22 points and 10 points respectively, Leavitt and Moore played a fast-paced offense that nearly gave the Vikings fits.

In the end, however, it was the Vikings’ defense that decided the game.

“Our kids thought they were getting fouled, but I told them, ‘that’s just good defense,’” McMinds said.

Moore left the game in the fourth quarter after he and the Vikings’ Kyle McCowan were both going after a loose ball and ended up on the floor. McCowan rolled over Moore, slamming Moore’s head to the floor. Moore chipped a tooth and was pulled from the game.

Just a few minutes of play later, the Vikings’ Max Skelley was poked in the eye. He, too, left the game early.

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