Sports

Not a night to remember for Knights

The amplified violinist blanked during the Star Spangled Banner. Four times he tried, and four times he failed before ducking out the Bremerton High gymnasium door.

He shouldn’t feel bad. He’s not the first one to botch a rendition of our national anthem.

And he wasn’t the only one who suffered through an embarrassing performance on Wednesday, Dec. 5.

Bremerton’s basketball team was a little red-faced, too, after blowing a big lead and losing, 52-50, against Capital of Olympia.

“It’s just another learning experience,” said Knights senior Kellen Alley after his squad had squandered a 12-point lead in the final 4:31. “That’s two in a row. We’ve got to forget about the losses and bounce back. We’re going to see what kind of team we are.”

The preseason Narrows League Bridge Division favorites carried a 1-2 record to Tacoma on Friday, Dec. 7 for another non-leaguer with Bellarmine. The Knights open league play on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at South Kitsap.

Bremerton lost another close one, 65-64, against Eastlake in Sammamish on Nov. 30.

Against Eastlake, as in their season-opening win against Issaquah, the Knights pulled themselves together in the fourth quarter after struggling with their ball-handling and floor decisions.

Against Capital, the Knights’ reversed the trend. They did a decent job against the Cougars’ defensive pressure until the final four minutes, when Capital (3-1) forced Bremerton into an avalanche of mistakes.

Bremerton had 10 turnovers and didn’t make a field goal in the final 6:10.

“You know they’re going to pressure you,” Bremerton coach Casey Lindberg said. “You’ve got to get the ball up the sidelines or attack the middle. We had success doing that all night. The last 3 1/2 to 4 minutes, for whatever reason, we didn’t do that ... we were playing to not lose instead of to win. There’s a big difference.”

Alley said the Knights need to play smarter.

“I think we’re thinking too much,” Alley said. “You’ve got to just play, just react. We’re like, ‘Don’t turn it over, don’t turn it over.’ The more you think like that, the more you turn it over.”

Bremerton was still up 49-39 when Capital’s Devin Cooper-Green stepped to the foul line with 2:59 left.

Cooper-Green, a 6-5 junior, was the Cougars’ catalyst, scoring 14 of his 18 points in the final quarter.

He made both free throws and scored on a transition layup seconds later after a quick Bremerton turnover.

In addition to turning it over repeatedly, Bremerton’s defense disappeared late in the game as the Cougars sliced through the lane for easy baskets. And when Capital had to bury an outside shot, it did.

A 3-pointer by Collin May brought the Cougars within 50-48 with 1:21 left.

Alley was called for an offensive charge on Bremerton’s next possession, and Cooper-Green followed with a 14-footer to tie it with 52 seconds left.

Joe Bollinger lost the ball on Bremerton’s next possession. Capital, once again, converted at the other end. This time, J.T. Mitchell’s layup gave the Cougars the lead, 52-50.

Bremerton used its final timeout with 14.5 seconds left. They inbounded the ball, intending to run a play for Marvin Williams, but the timekeeper failed to start the clock and it had to be inbounded again, this time with nine seconds left.

Bremerton’s Anthony Ragsdale lost the ball on the inbounds pass, scrambled to get it back and then fed Bollinger, whose 3-pointer missed. Williams got the offensive rebound, but failed to get off a shot as he was stripped from behind at the buzzer by Conner-Green.

“We had to do something,” Capital coach Doug Galloway said when asked about switching out of his halfcourt zone-trap to fullcourt man-to-man pressure. “I’d rather lose by 30 than sit there and do nothing and lose by 10.”

Bollinger led the Knights with 20 points, including 15 in the second quarter when he carried Bremerton to a 29-22 halftime lead. Alley added 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots. Williams finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Senior point guard Mike Stitt didn’t score after misfiring on all seven of his attempts, but Lindberg’s not worried about Stitt’s shot.

He’s concerned about the Knights’ ball-handling.

“(Mike) Stitt can’t do it by himself,” Lindberg said. “We need somebody else to step in there and handle the ball. If we have an Achilles’ heal, it’s the fact that person hasn’t shown up yet.”

At Eastlake 65, Bremerton 64 — Chris Bohner made one free throw with 0.7 seconds left to lift Eastlake to over the Knights.

Bremerton rallied from nine points back to win its opener against Issaquah. This time, the Knights were down 54-41 in the third quarter before they started chipping away against the Kingco’s Wolves, eventually tying the game in the final minute.

Eastlake worked the clock down and got the ball inside to Bohner, who was fouled on a post move. Bohner missed the first free throw, but made the second.

Eastlake’s 6-2 senior guard Chase Griffin scored a game-high 29 points. Alley led Bremerton with 23 points. Bollinger added 17 and Williams 11.

“We played a very good basketball team,” Eastlake coach Rich Belcher said. “They are very athletic. In this part of the season, it was a good game for us to play.”

Eastlake, which was playing its opener, has five players back from an 18-9 team that played in the state 4A tournament a year ago.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 29 edition online now. Browse the archives.