PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles again took a top tier Class 2A team to the edge as the Roughriders had multiple chances to take the lead in the final minutes of a 51-44 Olympic League loss to North Kitsap on Thursday night.
With the victory, the Vikings (12-0, 14-4) claimed the outright Olympic League crown. Port Angeles will finish as the second-place 2A squad for bi-district seeding purposes.
Down starter and two-way contributor Isaiah Shamp in the post, Port Angeles produced an excellent defensive performance overall on senior night, holding the Vikings 22 points below their per-game scoring average of 73 points.
One North Kitsap player, junior Harry Davies, proved tough to handle for the Riders as he poured in 25 points to lead all scorers.
Davies had 13 of the Vikings 26 points in the first half as North Kitsap built a 26-14 lead just before halftime.
Port Angeles’ rally started with two late buckets by Parker Nickerson, including a drive to the rim in which he absorbed contact and laid the ball in at the buzzer as the Riders trailed 26-18 at the break.
Riders senior Tyler Hunter led the way with 10 points in the third quarter, burying two 3-point baskets, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter to pull Port Angeles within 41-40.
Sophomore Gus Halberg also sparked the Riders. Halberg had an impressive pair of drive and dish assists on Ezra Townsend baskets in the second quarter and hit a couple of jump shots and two free throws in the third as the Riders rallied.
Port Angeles had three chances to tie or take the lead down 46-44 in the final minute and a half.
Hunter hit a 3-pointer just as an off-ball offensive foul was called; Nickerson came off a screen for a top-of-the key 3 that rattled off and Halberg was off on the front end of a 1-and-1 at the free throw line with 50 seconds left.
Port Angeles stayed close in the fourth quarter with some strong defense, holding North Kitsap scoreless for 4:16 of game time before Vikings guard Cade Orness and Davies sealed the game at the free throw line in the final seconds.
The Riders saluted seniors Hunter, Ezra Townsend, Josiah Long, Bryant Hoch and Nason Martinez before the game and the five graduates-to-be all started the contest — a Roughriders tradition under head coach Kasey Ulin.
North Kitsap 51, Port Angeles 44
North Kitsap 14 12 15 10— 51
Port Angeles 7 11 22 4— 44
North Kitsap (51) — Davies 25, Orness 11, Chmielewski 6, Gillespie 5, East 2, Korsak 2, Ashford-Downing 2.
Port Angeles (44) — Nickerson 16, Hunter 10, Halberg 6, Townsend 6, Long 6.
Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at email@example.com.