Sports

Knights coast over North Kitsap

Bremerton’s Candace Grettenberger (20) and North Kitsap’s Lindsey Sprague battle for a loose ball during the fourth quarter of the Knights’ 59-49 win Wednesday.. - Photo by Jesse Beals
Bremerton’s Candace Grettenberger (20) and North Kitsap’s Lindsey Sprague battle for a loose ball during the fourth quarter of the Knights’ 59-49 win Wednesday..
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

As the first half of Bridge Division play wound down Wednesday night, the two teams tied for third in the standings tangled at Bremerton High School.

The Knights made a statement about who deserved sole possession of that slot.

North Kitsap entered with a much better overall record, but Bremerton proved to them why it is the Bridge games that truly count.

Leading by as many as 20 during the contest, the Knights coasted to a 59-49 win led by 25 points from senior point guard Jenn Jacobs and 14 by junior post Candace Grettenberger.

“This was definitely one of our best efforts,” said Knights coach Daniel McInnis. “One of our best shooting games. We moved the ball really well.”

A battle was established early between Grettenberger and Viking forward Jade Niemeyer down low.

The difference was Grettenberger could confidently get the ball back outside to sure-shot Jacobs, who displayed a sweet stroke throughout the contest, whereas everything from outside consistently fell short for North Kitsap.

“I don’t think Jacobs missed until the very end of the game,” said Vikings coach Dan Weedin. “They shot the ball well. We didn’t rebound very well.”

The Knights looked like the better team throughout the first half but Niemeyer’s persistence under the hoop kept it close.

Bremerton had a difficult time stretching their lead to double digits during the first or second quarters because whenever it got close to that territory, Niemeyer came back with a vengeance or else the Vikings would hit one of their few, but timely, three-pointers in the battle.

Just as Knight post Kelsey Teft nailed a buzzer-beater to end the first stanza, Katie West drained a trey to close the gap to 28-21, sending the teams to the locker rooms for halftime.

“It started getting away from us a bit in the first half,” Weedin said. “We were (coming back) well for a while there.”

Then, the third quarter happened.

Grettenberger scored 10 of her 14 and the quicker Knights wore down their foe.

“We’re a faster team than them and you could see that their girls were much more tired in the second half,” McInnis said.

The Knights were able to get long passes over the heads of Viking players getting back on defense and played with the energy they will need to hold on to a playoff spot down the stretch.

The win and the way the team played “sets the tone for the rest of our season,” McInnis said. “We’re in that spot where I wanted to be at this point as far as gelling. And we took care of business tonight.”

Bremerton led by as much as 20 in the third quarter and glided to the win.

The Vikings tried to come on strong in the final period but the effort came too late to do anything more than make the final score a bit more respectable.

“We didn’t play our best game and we’re not where we want to be,” Weedin said. “We wanted to be in Bremerton’s position right now.”

McInnis will take the Knight’s current position but sole possession of third is not something to settle for.

The coach feels the team can make a legitimate run at the second seed, which means an automatic bid to districts which is not the case for the third and fourth-place teams from the division.

“We gotta get the wins and really solidify this spot,” he said. “Better yet, keep moving up and get second, get that automatic bid.”

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