North Kitsap boys basketball: “New team, same dream”

POULSBO — Last year, the North Kitsap High School boys basketball team had a banner season with a trip to the state tournament.

And while head coach Tony Chisholm would like to repeat that success, he has no interest in nostalgia.

“Teams come and go. Players come and go,” he said “I’ve got to get every ounce of talent out of these guys. I’m totally confident that these guys will compete. As a coach you never compare your teams. Each year, you get something different.”

This season’s lineup is all seniors. Most of the players were a part of the 2008-09 junior varsity team, which posted an 18-2 regular season record. The crew is smaller than last season’s squad, but Chisholm is not concerned.

“I’m aware of all their abilities and shortcomings, and it’s up to me to put the best team on the floor,” he said. “I have no doubt that these guys are going to pick up where they left off last year.”

With the tallest North Kitsap player topping out at 6-foot-5, Chisholm said this year’s Vikings will need to develop a different style than last year’s squad. He expects them to rely more on speed than size.

“This is my guerrilla troop,” Chisholm said. “With the team that we have, we’re going to have to push the ball and put a lot of pressure on the opponents.”

The Vikings — who tied for the Olympic League title last season — will likely face their toughest competition from North Mason. The Bulldogs shared a portion of the league title last year, and this season they bring back leading scorer Brett Skogstad and beefy center John Fullington.

Chisholm said the key to a successful season is to do what he calls “preparation for separation,” meaning the team must prepare to win and separate itself from the pack.

“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that,” he said. “It’s the will to prepare to win. It starts in practice. If we prepare ourselves the way I know we can, we’ll prepare ourselves to win.”

“I’m not guaranteeing anything,” he added. “But this team knows how to win.”

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