Sports

Mid-season notebook

By CHRISTOPHER MULALLY

Staff writer

As the winter sports season arrives at a midway point, Bremerton High School teams are experiencing the type of success that has been missing for years. Snow has permitted an extra long holiday break, making many students anxious to get back on the court and the mat and in the pool:

Boys Basketball

Record: 4-4 overall, 1-1 league

“I think the season is going okay so far,” said coach Casey Lindberg earlier this week. “We have four losses and two of those four losses were to nationally ranked teams.”

The Knights lost to CK on Dec. 16 for the second time in a row, fueling a chance for revenge when the two teams meet in Cougar territory on Dec. 23.

For the first time in the school’s history, the Knights travelled all the way to Florida for free over the holiday break in the Palms Classic.

“It was an eye opener for a lot of our kids to see the level of play in high school,” Lindberg said. The tournament invites nationally ranked teams and those that have a superstar, like the Knights’ Marvin Williams. As the season progresses, Bremerton will face a slew of Narrows League competitors, including Olympic on Monday, Port Angeles on Wednesday, Gig Harbor on Friday, Shelton on Jan. 21, CK on Jan. 23 and North Kitsap on Jan. 28. To put it simply, it is proving time.

Girls Basketball

Record: 5-3 overall, 1-1 league

Last year at this point in the season the Knights were 1-9. They didn’t win another game the rest of the year. This year, the Knights are a verifiable scoring machine, led by the fabulous sophomores Kayla Bennett, Colby Thatcher, Jennifer Jacobs and Vivian Freison. They turned heads early with a 71-17 win over Klahowya on Dec. 19, followed by a tight 54-55 overtime loss to the defending Narrows League Champs, Central Kitsap.

“We’ve played some pretty close games,” said coach Daniel McInnis. “It feels good to have kids dedicated to what they are doing.”

McInnis is shooting to get third place in league, and says their upcoming games against Narrows teams are crucial in achieving that.

“We’ve got to get those guys at least one time,” he said.

The Knights duke it out at Port Angeles on Wednesday and then get another chance to down the CK Cougars on Jan. 23. Whatever happens this year, McInnis will still have a pretty hefty group of juniors next year contending for the Narrows crown.

Wrestling

Record: 6-3 overall, 4-2 league

“Last year was the low point in my coaching career,” said coach Jeff Barton, whose Knights failed to win a match.

This year, the team is headed by the three musketeers: Daniel Smith at 152, Buddy Bennett at 145 and Dustin Heistand at 140, and they have built respect for a program no one payed attention to.

So far, the trio has competed in two major tournaments, faring well.

At the Class 4A Tri-State tournament on Dec. 19 and 20 Daniel Smith finished with a fourth-place finish. There were 57 schools competing total.

On Jan. 2 at the Rainshadow tournament in Sequim, both Smith and Bennett finished with second-place finishes.

“I think the team chemistry is really good this year, we are really wrestling as a team,” Barton said.

One dark spot on the Knights season is the loss of their 189-pound wrestler Berry Sykes, who broke his arm in a takedown at the Rainshadow tournament last weekend.

The Knights have a chance to prove themselves as they take on North Kitsap Jan. 15, and then travel to the prestigious Matman tournament at Central Kitsap on Jan. 17.

Swimming

Record: 0-3 overall and league

“It’s going pretty well,” said coach Peter Tonder about the swim season. Last year the Knights had a phenomenal year riding on Nathan Adrian’s Class 4A State championship performance in the 100 freestyle event.

This year Adrian has opted out of the high school team to focus on his Federal Way club team.

However, Tonder is still quite impressed with the swimmers on his lineup this year.

Returners Brett Aho and Andrew Pohl have already qualified for district times, as well as freshman Greg Milligan.

Aho is in the process of lowering his 50 freestyle time, Tonder said. He is at about 24 seconds now.

Pohl’s best event is the 100 butterfly.

Milligan is the versatility swimmer for the Knights, according to Tonder.

“He’s got a really good work ethic. I can throw him in any event.”

The Knights travel to Sequim on Jan. 13 and host South Kitsap on Jan. 15 as they try to slip as many swimmers as possible into the District tournament at the end of the season.

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