Vikings down to their last chance

TACOMA - The North Kitsap Vikings could not contain the multi-faceted offense of the Columbia River Chieftans Friday night, as the Vikings fell 65-49 in a district matchup at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma. Six-foot-ten Steven Bjornstad led the Chieftans with 19 points, while Kyle Thurston and Kramer Ramberg were lethal all night from the outside.

The Vikings have one last shot at getting to the class 3A state tournament, as they face Kennedy Saturday at 2 p.m. at Puyallup High School in a fight for their district's No. 7 seed.

Despite a strong showing from senior guard Kyle Erickson, who had a game-high 22 points, the Vikings had trouble getting their offense going all night. Taylor Hoffer, who averaged 26 points in the three postseason games leading up to Friday's contest, was shut out in the first half, and finished the game with 11 points.

"I was getting open looks," said Hoffer, "and they just weren't falling down. Kyle Erickson, he was the one that kept us in the game."

North jumped out to an early lead behind Erickson's accurate shooting, and held that lead until late in the second quarter, when Columbia River's offense began to take over.

"You can't win when one guy's scoring all the buckets," said North Kitsap head coach Tony Chisholm. "That was a big part of it. And I also think they [Columbia River] were very patient. They ran what they ran, and they ran it well."

By halftime, the Chieftans had gained a 20-17 edge over the Vikings. And they never looked back. Aside from a brief run in the fourth quarter, when Hoffer and Brandon Huggins sank three 3-pointers in a row and North looked to be vying for a comeback, Columbia River owned the second half.

"We tried but it just wasn't good enough," said Chisholm. "All I know is [the Vikings] will come back, and they'll play hard as I-don't-know-what tomorrow, because we have nothing to lose. We win this game, we play Wednesday."

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