PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles came within a couple of inches of completing a near-miraculous comeback in the final seconds against a tough North Kitsap team expected to do a lot of damage at state this year.
The Roughriders lost 59-56 as an improbable game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer by Noah McGoff came up just a couple of inches short.
Port Angeles came within a whisker of winning by scoring eight points in the final 15 seconds of the game while showing that it can definitely play with one of the toughest teams in the state.
The Vikings, winners of the Olympic League 2A Division title and West Central 2A District champions last year, came into the Wednesday game 4-0 and ranked second in the Tacoma News Tribune’s Class 2A rankings.
“We were right there with the No. 2 team in the state,” said coach Kasey Ulin.
Ulin said he was still trying to figure out how his team almost won, because he thought at times they played poorly against the Vikings, making far too many turnovers.
The Riders committed 20 turnovers in the game and two giveaways in the final two minutes were especially costly.
“I was really happy to see how they bounced back from a horrible start to the second half. To only lose to that team by three points, we must be doing something right,” Ulin said.
“Hopefully, this will fuel our fire to get better, [but] we should not be satisfied with almost beating them.”
Port Angeles was forced to fight back the entire second half, as the Vikings had a lead of 28-21 at the halftime break. Then, two quick Riders’ turnovers to start the second half led to easy Viking buckets as North Kitsap went on an 6-0 run out of the break to take a commanding 34-21 lead.
Then for the last 14 minutes of the game, it was all Riders.
Led by solid defense and the second-half scoring of Garrett Edwards and Luke Angevine, the Riders clawed back into the game, outscoring the Vikings 25-12 and finally tied the score at 46-all with about five minutes left.
Angevine led the Riders with 20 points while Edwards, a sophomore, had his best game of the season with 14 points, 10 of them in the second half.
The game was back-and-forth down the stretch. In the final minute, North Kitsap started pulling away as the Riders gave the ball away on two straight possessions. The Vikings’ Cooper Lindsey made four free throws and scored six points in the final three minutes of the game to open up a 57-51 lead.
In the final seconds, Angevine, with a defender draped all over him, hit a difficult high-arcing 3-pointer with 15 seconds left in the game to make it 57-54. The Riders fouled on the Vikings’ subsequent possession and Zach Olmstead made two free throws to make it 59-54.
Edwards came back and scored a bucket with 3.6 seconds left to make it 59-56, then in a wild sequence, Angevine stole the inbounds pass and got the ball to McGoff. McGoff’s shot at the buzzer was straight and looked like it had a chance, but hit off the front rim.
Ulin said Edwards had a great all-around game and Liam Clark also had a very good game with solid defense and some clutch scores in the second half.
It was the second nailbiting home loss that came down to the final possession of the season as Port Angeles also lost a 62-60 thriller to a good Blaine team last week.
The Vikings were led by Lindsey’s 18 points.
Port Angeles (3-2, 2-1) travels to Port Townsend (2-0, 3-0) today for a 7 p.m. nonleague game between Class 2A and 1A Olympic League Division members.
North Kitsap 59, Port Angeles 56
North Kitsap 13 15 15 16— 59
Port Angeles 11 10 16 19— 56
North Kitsap (59) — Lindsey 18, Olmstead 12, Kai Warren 9, Kainen Warren 6, Houghton 5, Barringer-Mahitka 5, Veilleux 2, Hecker 2.
Port Angeles (56) — Angevine 20, Edwards 14, Clark 6, Benedict 6, McGoff 5, Peet 3, Borde 2.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]