BHS tops Redskins for second straight win

After a 36-point sputterer of a loss to open the season, the Bremerton boys basketball team hit the throttle button for the second time in as many games Tuesday.

The Knights (2-1 overall, 2-0 league), benefiting from a balanced scoring attack and timely full-court pressure, motored to a 72-46 victory over Port Townsend to extend their winning streak to two. It was the team’s first home game of the season.

“We learned that we need to play better defense, we learned we need to be able to shoot the ball a little bit better than we did,” coach Casey Lindberg said, referring to BHS’ season-opening 92-66 loss to Mount Tahoma. “But the other thing we learned was that this team passes the ball well.”

Those lessons were put to use against the Redskins, who allowed 25 points in the first quarter and never led over the final 24 minutes.

Jarell Flora (14 points), Terrick McGhee (12), Charles Wilson (12), Andre Coleman (11) and Andrew Shadle (10) provided the bulk of the scoring in an evenly distributed offensive attack, profiting off 15 steals. Junior Ronald Warren added nine points.

“It was a good team effort, our kids did a nice job,” Lindberg said. “Our starters, they played pretty well.”

Undersized but quick — the team’s tallest player is 6-foot-2 — BHS ratcheted up the pressure on defense in the first quarter and again late in the third into the fourth to extend a lead that was never smaller than 14 following halftime.

With the game in hand, Lindberg later turned to his bench and dropped into a half-court defense. First-year varsity players Conner Whales, Michael Lawrence, Shaquille Jones and Sabian Perrigo each saw playing time.

“Tonight I was pretty happy because we got a chance to let everybody play. That’s always a nice thing,” Lindberg said. “We got to see what certain people can do and, maybe, can’t do. So that’s good.”

The victory puts BHS atop the Olympic League standings entering today’s game against North Kitsap (1-2, 1-0), a 67-51 loser to Central Kitsap Tuesday. Lindberg hopes to force the Vikings into a full-court, up-and-down game, an effective press being the focal point.

North is bigger and more physical than Port Townsend, having six players listed as 6-2 or taller, including 6-5 center Pat Mullen.

“We need to make them play 84 feet with us,” Lindberg said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a big secret that people are really going to have to deal with our speed. If we can make it a full-court game instead of a half-court game, we’ll be very competitive.”

It’s still a wait-and-see, learn-as-you-go time of the season for Lindberg, who lost all but four players from the 2008-09 squad. Only Flora, Wilson, Coleman and McGhee remain from a team that reached the playoffs last season.

But Lindberg is optimistic the newcomers will glide along the learning curve.

“These kids are very coachable,” he said. “Coaches are wrong sometimes, but when you have kids that will listen and at least attempt to do what you want them to do, then that’s really all you can ask for.”

Flora, who also runs track, is the team’s leading scorer through three games. He scored a team-high 26 in a victory over Port Angeles Dec. 4 and added 16 against Mount Tahoma.

A versatile player who in all likelihood will see action at all five positions by season’s end, Flora is emerging as a team leader.

“He’s not just a good jumper, he’s a quick jumper,” Lindberg said. “The nice thing about him is you can get him away from the basket, too. He’s an all-around pretty good player.”

Girls basketball

Al Valencia picked up his first victory as coach of the Lady Knights (1-2, 1-1) in his team’s 48-35 win at Port Townsend Tuesday.

Jalen Carpenter and Angelique White scored 15 points apiece. The team is at North Kitsap at 7 p.m. today.

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