Game slips away from BHS

Senior Josh Koets looks up at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter of BHS’ 54-49 loss against North Mason Tuesday. - Jesse Beals/staff photos
Senior Josh Koets looks up at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter of BHS’ 54-49 loss against North Mason Tuesday.
— image credit: Jesse Beals/staff photos

Late miscues doom Knights in 54-49 loss against North Mason Bulldogs.

For the third time in a month, the Bremerton boys basketball team went blow-for-blow with an Olympic League heavyweight only to see the game slip away in the proverbial final round.

It was North Mason’s Rocky Guimont who delivered the latest knockout swing.

Guimont scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and 11 over a four-minute span to finish with 22, helping the Bulldogs outlast BHS 54-49 Tuesday.

“Take your hat off to him, he stepped up,” BHS coach Casey Lindberg said of Guimont. “He did a nice job, he knocked in some shots.”

The Knights (3-6 overall, 2-3 league) led by six points at halftime, 31-25, and took a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.

But as was the case against Port Townsend Dec. 9 and North Kitsap Dec. 12, games that ended in nine-point losses, BHS failed to execute when it mattered.

Guimont made back-to-back 3-pointers, an acrobatic layup and three of four free throws to singlehandedly turn a 42-39 deficit into 50-44 lead with 5:04 remaining in the fourth.

Bremerton trimmed the lead to 50-47 on a J’Tonn Dale 3-pointer with 1:10 remaining, then had two opportunities to tie the game in the final minute.

But Knight Terrance McGhee was called for charging with about 50 seconds left, and Dale threw the ball out of bounds on the ensuing possession after Brett Skogstad of North Mason (7-1, 4-0) had been called for palming.

“Down the stretch, you’ve got to be able to take care of the ball,” Lindberg said.

The teams exchanged points after the Knight turnovers, but the game was already well in hand.

Tuesday’s loss was Bremerton’s third in Olympic League play. But the losses have been against North Mason, North Kitsap and Port Townsend, which are a combined 20-3 overall and 12-1 in league play.

“We’ve lost to the three best teams in the league,” Lindberg said. “I really couldn’t think of a whole lot of things our kids didn’t do well. I’m happy with our performance.”

Lindberg said the game plan was to stop — or at least slow down — Skogstad, who had scored in double figures every game but one before Tuesday.

“He’s tough to guard one-on-one ... unless you have a kid who’s really long and really quick,” Lindberg said. “You just have to throw your press at him and keep the ball out of his hands as much as you can.”

To that end, the Knights were successful; Skogstad scored just eight points, his lowest output this season, and the Bulldogs committed a handful of turnovers while trying to break the press.

“They did a real good job (pressing),” Bulldog coach Larry Skogstad said. “We worked on it in practice, but we didn’t do a very good job.”

“We put good pressure on them throughout the game. I thought they had some trouble with that,” Lindberg added.

Josh Koets scored 12 points to lead the Knights offensively and also held 6-foot-6-inch John Fullington to six points.

“It’s like a battle every time,” Koets said of guarding Fullington, who’s listed at 225 pounds. “He’s going to get his points, but the whole object was to make it difficult on him.”

Koets has been one of the Knights’ leaders on both ends of the floor, but Lindberg said he’d like to see more consistency from all his players. Whereas last season he had the luxury of counting on now-departed Eli Olson, who led the team in scoring, Lindberg has no single player who scores 10 points or grabs 10 rebounds every night.

“If I could have a Christmas present, it would be consistency,” Lindberg said.

But both Lindberg and Koets said they believe the team is headed in the right direction and there is plenty of time on the schedule to find a groove.

“A loss in general is hard to deal with, but I think we played as a team,” Koets said. “I think we are moving forward and getting all the pieces together.”

And while the Knights have now narrowly lost against the league’s top three teams, they’ll have a second shot at home against both North Kitsap and Port Townsend.

“To know that we can stay with them ... it helps, especially knowing they have to come back here,” Koets said of NK and PT. “It’s never easy to play on the road.”

BHS is at home against Sequim Jan. 13 and Olympic Jan. 14. Both games begin at 7 p.m.

North Mason 11 14 14 15 — 54

Bremerton 12 19 9 9 — 49

North Mason — Brett Skogstad 8, John Fullington 6, Dashiell Geyer 7, Rocky Guimont 22, Daniel Baker 5, Randy Button 6, Dylan Hannafious, Jace.

Bremerton — Terrick McGhee 3, Terrance McGhee 11, Jordan Driskell, Josh Koets 12, J’Tonn Dale 7, Jarell Flora 6, Theo Robinson 2, Rashawn Kendrick, Derek Bennett, Michael Powell, Andre Coleman 8.

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