Koets leads Knight boys to districts

When the Bremerton boys basketball team last made the district playoffs, none of its current players had worn a high school uniform.

That was 2004, when Seattle was home to the SuperSonics and Marvin Williams was lighting up the Olympic League while college scouts looked on.

Five calendar years and four seasons later, Seattle without an NBA team and Williams a bona fide NBA star, the Knights are once again district-bound.

Senior Josh Koets scored a season-high 29 points to go with 13 rebounds, sophomore Jarell Flora added 16 points and the Knights allowed just three second quarter points en route to a 70-54 victory at home Tuesday against Timberline in a loser-out, winner-to-districts Olympic/Western Cascade (OWL) sub-district tournament game.

“Coach told us ... ‘You’re either going to win and go on or we’re going to come back down here (to the locker room) and put everything away and that’s going to be the season,” said Koets, who scored 13 of BHS’ first 18 points. “That can’t be the end of our season. At home? We’re going to lose at home? After we put in all the work and hard hours to get to where we are now?”

Koets outscored the Timberline team 19-17 in the first half to lead the Knights to a 32-17 halftime advantage. He pulled in nine rebounds over that same span.

“He’s a competitor,” said BHS coach Casey Lindberg, who coached the 2004 team to districts. “He was focused, he was ready to play. He came out and he performed and he had a bunch of guys that joined him.”

Flora’s 16 led that accompanying charge — he also had 10 rebounds — and Andre Coleman, Michael Powell, Derek Bennett, Theo Robinson and Rashawn Kendrick logged substantial minutes.

Save for a three-minute stretch in the second quarter when the Knights turned the ball over five times in eight possessions, Lindberg said he was happy with the team’s performance.

“I was pretty pleased with everybody ... they came out ready to play tonight,” Lindberg said. “”I can’t complain, we played 29 good minutes out of 32. That second quarter was really the only quarter we slowed down.”

But for as slow as BHS was in the second quarter, Timberline was that much slower. The Blazers managed just one field goal, a Kole Podowicz baseline jumper with 50 seconds remaining, and missed three of four free throws.

The Knights, meanwhile, turned to Koets.

“My team did a real, real good job when I was hot, feeding me,” Koets said. “It just felt like everything was going my way and our way.”

After BHS opened the third quarter with a 7-2 run to go up 41-19, the closest the Blazers got was 13 — 49-36 at the 5:42 mark of the fourth.

“They are a good team,” Lindberg said of the Blazers (9-12). “It’s not easy to make a good team look average.”

No different than most of BHS’ victories this season, Lindberg used a full-court press to disrupt Timberline’s offense, creating turnovers and keeping the game up-tempo.

“A lot of the games that we lost ... we weren’t really playing our game,” Koets said. “We are a running kind of team, and we were settling for the half-court offense.”

With nine seniors, most of whom see consistent playing time, Lindberg said the Knights’ best shot at districts is to use team speed and depth to outlast their opponents.

“I like our guys to focus on what they do best,” Lindberg said. “I just tell them to take it one game at a time.”

Tuesday’s win, coupled with Capital’s 59-44 victory against Olympic, gave the Knights (13-9) the OWL No. 4 seed to districts. They faced Columbia River last night in an elimination game to open the district tournament, but results from that game were unavailable at press time.

“This is our last year, we’ve been here for three years and not one of our teams has gone to state or even districts,” Koets said.

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