Kingston boys beat Vikings for the first time

POULSBO — For the first time in its three year history, the Kingston High School boys basketball team defeated district rival North Kitsap. And the Buccaneers did it with a 49-42 win on the Vikings’ home court Friday night.

“It’s nice, especially since they got us last year,” Kingston guard George Hill said. “They played a really good game today and made it tough on us. We just wanted it.”

Both teams have made a 180-degree turn from where they were last year. Kingston (5-1 overall) only managed one win last season while North Kitsap (1-5 overall) tied for the league title.

Hill led all scorers Friday with 22 points. North Kitsap’s Brandyn Winkley put up 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Vikings. Teammate Berkley Nilles added 13 points.

“It’s just tough to lose to them,” Nilles said. “It’s hard to swallow that. We’ve got to get over it and play tomorrow.”

North Kitsap plays at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Gig Harbor High School.

Defense took center stage for much of Friday’s contest. At the end of the first half, North had scored just 18 points and allowed only 16.

“I’ve got to give my ‘hats off’ to North Kitsap,” Kingston Head Coach Blake Conley said. “They played a good game and they battled. It’s a win, but I think we got outplayed today.”

The offenses picked their way through the tight coverage in the second half. North led by as many as 12 points late in the third quarter. But the Buccaneers made adjustments and went on an 8-2 run late. By the end of the third quarter North Kitsap’s lead was cut to six points.

“They were shredding our zone defense,” Conley said. “Once we switched to man, that helped a lot.”

The fourth quarter belonged to Hill and the Buccaneers. Hill scored six points within the first minute of the quarter to tie things up. Moments later the Bucs took their first lead of the game when Zane Ravenholt kissed an inside jumper off the glass to make it 36-34. He finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

After two more baskets and two more free throws from Hill late in the game, Kingston led 45-40. With less than a minute left, the Vikings were forced to foul to stop the clock. The Bucs made use of each free throw attempt to increase their lead. By the end of the game, Hill was 8-for-9 from the line.

“They hit big shots,” North Kitsap Head Coach Tony Chisholm said. “I look at our free throws. Our guys were 5-for-15. It was a game that we could have won.”

Kingston returns to action at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Washington High School in Tacoma.

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