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Bremerton boys basketball secures 3A league title
POULSBO – Jarell Flora and Andre Coleman walked into the gym Tuesday with Mohawk hair styles and walked out with a league title.
Flora scored a game-high 33 points to go with 10 rebounds, Coleman added 12 points and 15 rebounds and the Bremerton High School boys basketball team defeated North Kitsap High School 79-67 to secure the Class 3A regular-season championship in the combined 3A/2A Olympic League.
“Man, I’m just happy. I don’t want it to end,” Coleman said. “We’re family out there.”
With the win, the Knights (9-4 overall, 9-2 league) secured the league’s No. 1 seed to the 3A playoffs and most likely will face Capital High School of the Western Cascade Conference in a sub-district game to determine seeding to the West Central District III/Southwest tournament, which begins Feb. 26.
Capital (13-1, 4-0), ranked ninth in the latest Associated Press state basketball poll, holds a two-game lead over Timberline High School for first place in the Cascade.
The Knights advanced to districts last year, too, but they were eliminated after one game. The tournament is formatted to reward No. 1 and 2 seeds, giving those teams the luxury of a double-elimination format. Teams seeded below No. 2, as the Knights were in 2009, face single-elimination.
“It’s kind of a rare occurrence that you’re able to clinch a spot like that so early in the season,” Bremerton coach Casey Lindberg said.
Five games remain on the regular-season schedule, including Friday’s showdown with the Bulldogs of North Mason High School (11-3, 8-2), who lead Kingston High School by one game for the top 2A spot in the Olympic League.
While winning the outright league championships bares no significance to playoff seeding — once the playoffs begin, 2A and 3A schools compete separately — Lindberg said the Knights still want to claim that title.
The team’s most recent outright league championship was in 1999, when it belonged to the Narrows League and advanced to the state tournament, placing fifth.
“It’s very, very special for our guys because they can relax a little bit and now we can work on some of things we need to work on,” Lindberg said.
Despite a sound performance against North Kitsap, Lindberg believes the team needs to continue to improve its defense.
The Knights are allowing 61.8 points per game — they allowed 92 in the season-opener — but they are scoring 65.4, thanks in large part to the fast-paced style of play Lindberg continues to preach.
That speed was on display against the Vikings, with the Knights jumping out to a 14-point lead at halftime
“We know they are a slow-paced team, so we just wanted to go out there and run up the score,” Flora said
And the Mohawks?
Flora and Coleman said they hope the new look becomes a good-luck charm and they expect the rest of the team to follow suit.
“Jarell got a Mohawk first, so I went down and gone one too,” Coleman said. “That’s what we gotta do, keep winning with the Mohawks.”
Around the league: boys hoops
North Mason defeated Klahowya Secondary School 53-34 Tuesday ... Central Kitsap High School lost to Olympia High School 54-47 Tuesday ... Crosspoint Academy cruised past Christian Faith School of Seattle 74-47 Tuesday