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Bremerton, Kings West among boys best
The seasons ended short of where Kings West and Bremerton boys hoopsters had hoped this season but a pair of individuals from each program shined bright in a difficult year.
The Knights were fifth in the Narrows League Bridge Division, one slot too low for a league tournament berth, but got eye-opening performances from Ben Wilson, an All-Kitsap County second-teamer as selected by sportswriters from the Bremerton Patriot, Central Kitsap Reporter, North Kitsap Herald, Port Orchard Independent and Bainbridge Island Review, and fellow forward Patrick Lewis (honorable mention).
The Warriors took their lumps in the early going but rebounded for a third-place regular season finish in the SeaTac led by second-teamer David Skeels as their floor general and honorable mention pick Tyler Lyon doing the dirty work in the low post.
JR Gordon, guard, Central Kitsap: Perhaps the fastest and most athletic guard in the county, Gordon utilized his speed and superior jumping ability to take the CK boys to the verge of the state tournament. And, after averaging 16.9 points, 3.3 assists and 5.9 rebounds a game, the Cougar senior not only landed the Bridge Divisions MVP award, but several collegiate offers as well.
Steven Gray, guard, Bainbridge: The junior point guard adjusted well to his new home, averaging 22.4 points, 7.5 rebounds per game, 4 assists per game, 2.5 steals per game and shot 42 percent from the three point line and 87 percent from the free-throw line. One of the states top players, Gray should help Bainbridge make a run at state next season.
Josh Monagle, post, South Kitsap: The big man in the middle had a solid senior campaign, averaging 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds a game for the third ranked Wolves. His presence under the basket was key in Souths run to a second straight Narrows League Championship and the teams sixth consecutive trip to the Class 4A state tournament. At 6-5 with a trimmed down yet muscular frame, Monagle had little trouble fending off defenders in the paint. He made 67.9 percent of his field goals during the regular season with six blocks, 16 steals and 20 assists in Souths first 20 games.
Mike Simpkins, forward, Central Kitsap: Simpkins would be CKs best athlete if not for Gordon. But the 6-foot, 4-inch senior used his athleticism to not only score 13.6 points and grab 6.9 rebounds per game, but also to handle the opening tip duties for the Cougars despite facing off against often taller opponents. His rebounding presence was vital to Centrals run through the postseason.
Cody Gib-ler, post, Bainbridge: The junior forward/center was one of the top forwards in the Metro League, averaging 11 points, 9 rebounds and 4 blocks per game. The Bainbridge big man also shot 56 percent from the floor.
Tippy Burk, guard, South Kitsap: Although his scoring average was down from his super sophomore season, he was just as much of an impact player this year as anyone in the Narrows League. The junior point guard scored 5.6 points a game while dishing out 4.8 assists during the regular season. The scrappy defender also recorded 40 steals in 20 games.
Ryan Sweet, wing, South Kitsap: A nice compliment to Monagle, Sweet scored 12.3 points a game during the regular season with a 63.9 shooting percentage while pulling down 4.2 rebounds a game. The 6-6 senior missed five games early in the season with an injured ankle, but returned in time to help lead South to the Narrows League title. A solid defender thats not afraid to bang away with bigger guys.
John Rarig, forward, Klahowya: In another rough season for the Eagles that did see them improve from no wins to three, Rarig proved to be among the Nisquallys best. With a young and inexperienced supporting cast, Rarig still put up 12.5 points, 5.6 boards and 1.63 steals while shooting 51.7 percent from the floor.
Ben Wilson, forward, Bremerton: Wilson was the guy everyone looked to stop this season if they were going to stop the Knights. And while Bremertons season may not have gone the way they would have liked, the junior managed 16 points and 7 rebounds a game.
Justin Turner, guard, Olympic: One of the best shooters in the Narrows, Olys