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Central Kitsap boys basketball outraces Vikings
POULSBO — The Central Kitsap boys basketball team pulled off a 67-51 win Monday at North Kitsap, but aside from a few second-half highlights, it wasn’t pretty.
“It was a sloppy game, no doubt,” CK coach Scott McMinds said. “I think that we were on the verge of out of control.”
But the run-and-gun, barely controlled play worked to the Cougars’ advantage against the slower Viking squad. McMinds said the team’s goal was to keep a fast pace and force the Vikings into CK’s style of play.
The Cougars used a full-court press throughout the game, pushing the ball quickly on offense, wearing the Vikings out and forcing 32 turnovers. A one-point Cougar lead at halftime turned into a 54-45 advantage by the end of the third quarter. Late in the fourth quarter, CK led by as many as 18 points.
“I feel like we just kept coming after them,” McMinds said. “Our conditioning paid off in the fourth quarter. Full-court pressure leads to transition.”
Vikings coach Tony Chisholm agreed his team struggled because of CK’s speed and pressure.
“I think that what CK brought to the game tonight was quicker athletes,” he said. “I believe they were in better shape than our guys. We had bad passes, but a lot of that was forced by their pressure.”
Both teams struggled early to maintain control of the ball, as the Cougars set a sprinter’s pace beginning with the opening tip. The two offenses traded baskets for much of the first half, until North Kitsap pulled ahead, 28-21, following two inside jumpers from senior forward Brandyn Winkley. Winkley finished with 23 points to lead all scorers.
The Cougars fought back, forcing the Vikings to miss shots and commit fouls, taking a 33-29 lead near the end of the half. A 3-pointer from Winkley at the buzzer kept the Vikings within one going into the break.
The Cougars began to smooth out their play in the third quarter, opening a 52-41 lead late in the period after two straight baskets from senior forward Christian Wesley. He led the Cougars with 18 points — two of which came on an alley-oop early in the fourth quarter that ignited the crowd and his teammates — and added 12 rebounds, four blocks and three steals.
Despite the sloppy play throughout the first three quarters, McMinds believes the Cougars — who graduated their starting lineup last year — will continue to gel as they get used to playing together.
“The chemistry is still evolving,” he said.