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2008: Year in review
When one door closes, another opens.
Such was the case in 2008.
State-caliber athletes Billy Richardson, Megan Spence and Jacki Hill graduated in June, each moving to the collegiate ranks. Longtime King’s West girls basketball coach Bryan Hanley resigned in May after guiding his team to a fourth-place state finish.
Standout performers Francisco Garcia (Bremerton; soccer), Lakiesha Nilles (King’s West; track) and Megan Morris (King’s West; basketball, volleyball, track) also moved on.
But for every goodbye, there also was a hello. And for every last, there also was a first.
The Bremerton girls bowling team captured the school’s first state title — in any sport — since 1976. The Lady Knights soccer team broke a 21-year postseason winless streak with a victory in sub-districts. And the city of Bremerton welcomed the county’s first professional soccer franchise, the Kitsap Pumas, who will play their home games at Bremerton High School’s Memorial Stadium.
As a deep layer of snow melts, trickling into the New Year, so, too, does the Bremerton sports scene.
The Bremerton Patriot looks back at the great, not-so-great and all that made 2008.
• Girls basketball: King’s West won two of three games at the Class 2B state tournament in Spokane to earn fourth place overall and eclipse the school’s previously best sixth-place state finish, set by the 2005 boys team. Coach Bryan Hanley, the uncle of three-time SeaTac League Most Valuable Player Megan Spence, who now plays at Lewis & Clark University in Oregon, resigned in May after accumulating a 101-32 record over six seasons.
Bremerton was loaded with talent — Naomi Abad, Jacki Hill and the Ogazi Twins, among others — but failed to make a postseason splash, finishing 9-11 overall.
• Boys basketball: Neither the Knights nor the Warriors finished where they would have liked to. Third-quarter ineptitude ultimately resulted in Bremerton finishing 7-13 and in fifth place in the Olympic League, missing the playoffs, while King’s West was simply outmatched en route to a 2-16 mark.
• Girls Bowling: Bremerton discovered unparalleled success on the lanes, rolling to a Class 3A state bowling championship, the schools’ first state title in any sport since 1976. Then-senior sensation Emmy Thomas anchored the championship run, which culminated with the Lady Knights finishing ahead of runner-up Shelton by more than 200 pins.
• Wrestling: Knight Billy Richardson capped a marvelous career with yet another appearance at Matman Classic in Tacoma, the state’s wrestling championships. Richardson now wrestles at Mesa State College in Colorado, but his younger sister, Lauren, is only a sophomore and is expected to compete for a state berth at 103 pounds.
• Marvin Williams: The Bremerton grad made his final appearance at Key Arena, scoring a then-career-high 33 points to guide the Hawks to a 102-87 victory over the Sonics in front of more than 13,000 fans Jan. 25.
• Boys swim and dive: Justin Adrian, older brother of Olympic swimmer and Bremerton grad Nathan Adrian, completed his first year as coach of Bremerton’s boys swim and dive team.
• OC mascot: The Rangers nearly became the Bears after a change of mascots was suggested and initially supported. The Olympic College Board of Trustees, however, rescinded the decision, choosing tradition over change.
• Baseball: The Knights only won three games in 2008, but four of their losses were by two runs or less. Coach Ken Plowman gave serious playing time to underclassmen and predominantly junior varsity players, particularly at the tail of the season, to build for the 2009 campaign.
• Fastpitch: Simply put, 2008 was a nightmare for the Lady Knights. Sidelined midway through the season due to complications stemming from her pregnancy, coach Octavia Spann was forced to watch her team lose every game in which it played by 10 runs or more.
• Boys soccer: Two words: Francisco Garcia. The now-departed forward had a league-best 17 goals and 40 points, also tallying six assists. Still, he was denied the Olympic League Most Valuable Player Award, given to Kingston’s John Troka.
• Track and Field:
Knight Alex Griffith, who won the boys 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes at sub-districts, had two of Kitsap’s fastest feet. He eventually placed third in 100 at the Class 3A state championships in Pasco while also anchoring the 100 relay to a fifth place finish.
Meanwhile, Lakiesha Nilles wrapped up a stellar career at King’s West with a second-place state finish in the javelin, an event which she won in 2007. Morris and now-senior Irene Moore also had impressive seasons.
• Golf: 2008, unfortunately, marked the end of Bremerton’s golf program, which was terminated at season’s end as part of the district’s effort to erase a $1.3 million budget shortfall. Chuck Huhta had coached the boys team for 20 years.
• Girls Tennis: Foreign exchange student Sandy Schmidt, who, during the regular season played doubles with fellow exchange student, Brazilian-born Mi Simone, was the lone Bremerton player to qualify for postseason. Schmidt, of Germany, eventually lost at districts.
• Student-Athlete of the Year: Three-sport athlete Jacki Hill, who is now attending Washington State University on a track and field and academic scholarship, was named the Bremerton Patriot’s 2008 Student-Athlete of the Year. Not only was Hill a standout athlete in soccer, basketball and track and field, but she also maintained a 3.95 grade point average.
• BlueJackets: The Kitsap BlueJackets finished 19-23, losing five of their last six games to miss the playoffs. With a handful of pitchers sidelined before the season started, coach Matt Acker was forced to mix and match his rotation.
• Xtreme Bulls: Pendleton, Ore.’s Joe Meling won the Xtreme Bulls competition, headlining a soggy weekend at the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede in August. Xtreme Bulls was televised on ESPN.
• Saints football: The West Sound Saints, who play their home games at Silverdale Stadium, posted a 3-7 record, missing the playoffs.
•Hydros: Kayleigh Perkins won the Silverdale Thunder hydroplane race in Dyes Inlet for the second consecutive year. Perkins is the only female in the Unlimited Lights Hydroplane Racing Association’s UL class to win an event. She has won four.
• Pro Soccer lands in Kitsap: A partnership between the Bremerton School District and the Kitsap Soccer Club, allowing the franchise to play its home games at Bremerton Memorial Stadium, was formally announced Sept. 30. The club, owned by 67-year-old Tracyton resident Robin Waite, has since launched a Web site, www.kitsapsoccerclub.com, and released season tickets, among others, in preparation for its inaugural season, beginning May 2009.
• Football: The Knights’ gridiron woes continued with a last-place finish in the Olympic League. Bremerton did, however, end the season on a high note with a 68-6 thumping of Evergreen of Seattle to improve to 2-9 overall.
• Girls soccer: Coach Lance McCoy and a talented group of seniors managed to win a playoff game, something no Bremerton girls soccer team had done in 21 years. A 2-0 victory against Yelm in sub-districts sent the Lady Knight to the district tournament where they were eliminated by Sumner, losing 2-0.
• Boys soccer: King’s West, led by captain Andy Lee, capped a banner year with a berth to the Class 2B state tournament. With a tough draw against eventual state champion Tacoma Baptist, the Warriors were eliminated in the first round.
• Boys tennis: A coaching carousel at Bremerton added intrigue to an otherwise uneventful season on the court. The Knights made no postseason noise, but did welcome new coach Erich Anspach, who assumed the position halfway through the season. Athletic Director George Duarte had been coaching the team while simultaneously searching for his own replacement.
For Bremerton and coach Joe Tubbs, youth and inexperience equated to a tough season in the win-loss category. The Lady Warriors, meanwhile, fell just shy of the Tri-District tournament.
• Girls swim and dive:
Jeff Kirk, father of Olympic swimmers Tara and Dana Kirk, both of whom graduated from BHS, stepped in as an assistant to help the Lady Knights, coached by Justin Adrian.
fallen records • fond farewells • fresh faces