By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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Now the Wolves need to win their final two games — league-leading Port Angeles at home Friday and at Bremerton next Tuesday — or need to win one and have the Vikings lose either both or one of its remaining two games.
“This was a big game tonight. If we would have won, we're in the playoffs,” Sequim coach Evan Still said following Tuesday's game.
“We just made too many mistakes. Our execution on both sides of the floor was just poor.
“If we play 32 minutes of good basketball, we will be in most games that we play, if not all of them. It's just putting those 32 minutes together.”
After a hard-fought, back-and-forth first quarter, North Kitsap opened the second quarter with a 12-0 run to take a 25-9 lead.
But Sequim got back in the game with a 10-0 run to end the half.
Caitlin Stofferahn scored the first five points on a basket and free throw and another two points off an assist from Alexas Besand.
Vanessa Martinez scored off a rebound and McKenzie Bentz concluded the spurt with a steal that led to a bucket and a free throw.
At halftime, North Kitsap's advantage had been cut to 29-21.
The Wolves kept rolling in the third quarter, with a steal and layup by Bentz bringing Sequim within two points at 35-33.
Rebekah Baugh then hit a 3-pointer for the Vikings, but the Wolves answered with a Jordan Miller-to-Besand scoring connection that made it 38-35 with 1:24 remaining in the third.
However, North Kitsap closed out the period on a 6-0 run to push its lead up to nine points.
“When we made our run, it was good. Everything was going well,” Still said.
“Our end of the first half and our start of the second half . . . was really good basketball. And when we play like that, we're tough. We're really tough.
“And then we stopped doing what we were doing to get us back in that game. We stopped blocking out on defense and then on offense we did a lot of standing, not a lot of movement.”
Elise Beuke hit a pair of free throws to bring the Wolves to within 44-37 early in the fourth, but those were the last points Sequim would score until Miller's nifty reverse layup with 32 second left in the game.
The Vikings didn't fare much better offensively in the fourth, only scoring eight points in the period, six of which came from free throws by Kristin Brown, who scored a game-high 23 points.
“We know she's a really good player and she had 23, and we can't do that; we can't allow her to have that many points,” Still said.
Stofferahn led the Wolves with 14 points, scoring in a variety of ways — 3-pointers, layups and free throws.
Besand had nine and Bentz added eight.
Sequim (9-5, 9-9) hosts rival Port Angeles (13-1, 15-3) on Friday. The Wolves close out their regulars season at Bremerton (5-9, 6-10) next Tuesday.
North Kitsap (8-6, 11-7), meanwhile, has a tough finish to its season with home games against second-place Kingston (11-3, 12-4) on Friday and third-place Olympic (10-4, 12-6) on Tuesday.
“So now we have to beat a tough PA team and we'd be in, or hope that North K loses,” Still said.
“But we wanted to be able to do it tonight. We wanted to give ourselves the best opportunity.
“Like I said, PA's a tough team. If we play well, we'll be in that game. But it's going to be tough. That's going to be a lot tougher game than tonight.”
North Kitsap 52, Sequim 39
North Kitsap 13 16 15 8— 52
Sequim 9 12 14 4— 39
North Kitsap (52)
Snyder 4, Brown 23, Baugh 7, Lemmon 8, Hamblet 7, MacKenzie 2, Krol 2.
Besand 7, Stofferahn 14, Beuke 3, Lester 3, Miller 2, Bentz 8, Martinez 2.
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.