Whew! Vikings have a near-brush with defeat

The North Kitsap varsity boys nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory Wednesday night as they skimmed by with a 44-42 victory against the Port Angeles Roughriders.

In a contest that afforded no breathing room whatsoever, the Vikings were “kind of doing our own thing. We weren’t really focused on the team concept,” said 6’7’’ senior Taylor Hoffer. “But a win’s a win.”

Vikings fans had one eye on the time clock and one on the court as the final seconds ticked away. With 3:37 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, the score was an uncomfortably close 37-35, with the Vikings on top.

From there, the Vikings pulled ahead to 42-37 by the 1:56 mark, when Kyle Erickson sank a freethrow, bringing the Vikings’ tally to 43. The Roughriders answered with five points of their own, including a three-pointer at the 4.1 minute mark.

Luckily for the Vikings, the Roughriders’ momentum was halted as the clock hit 2 seconds when junior Taylor Chisholm was sent to the line and hit a critical freethrow.

Already beat and frazzled, point guard Chisholm had a rough go of it. His assignment for the night was to guard Port Angeles senior Eric Lane, who led the Roughriders with 18 points. After racking up four fouls, Chisholm wasn’t able to play as aggressively as usual near the end of the match, which wore on him a bit.

“I started to get hot-headed, but I had to calm myself down,” he said.

Just as the ball came back into play, Port Angeles called a questionable time out as Viking fans collectively wondered aloud if the Roughriders had possession of the ball when the time out was called.

Coach Tony Chisholm then called back-to-back time outs, giving his team a chance to calm down before defending its two-point lead. Which they did.

This win is one of a different breed. It serves as a teaching point for the 8-2 Vikings as the ready for league play against Foss on Jan. 9.

Lesson learned?

“We need to settle down. We can’t all go out there and do our own thing. We’re a good team when we play together,” Hoffer said. Hoffer’s 14 points and 17 rebounds helped the win along, but even he realizes that no matter how strong a performance one player has, basketball is about five people at any given time.

To prove the point, starter Kyle McCowan wasn’t suited up Wednesday night because he was on vacation with his family. Players suspected McCowan’s absence may have thrown things off a bit.

“I was cooking and I forgot the pepper,” Tony Chisholm said, before adding senior Tyler Seth stepped up to fill the void.

He credits his team for pulling together in the end and putting another “W” in the column.

“We kept our composure very well,” he said. “That’s a sign of growth when a game can be very emotional for the crowd and we keep our composure. To see that is very pleasing.”

Vikings—Kyle Erickson, 16; Taylor Hoffer, 11; Jordan Coover, 9; Tyler Seth, 4; Taylor Chisholm, 1.

Roughriders—Eric Lane, 18; Jake Madison, 11; Jay Knowles, 3; Buddy Schumacher, 4; Karsten Fairchild, 4; Tyler Owens, 2.

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