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Flora, Knights pumping out ‘W’s’
Jarell Flora pawed at a loose ball, secured possession and dribbled into open space, gliding down the court for an uncontested two-handed dunk.
That description of Flora’s slam, coming late in the fourth quarter of a polished victory over Port Townsend last week, doubles as the type of season he — and the entire Bremerton boys basketball team — is having.
The first-place Knights (4-1 overall, 4-0 league), who soared past the Eagles of Klahowya for a 93-64 win at home Tuesday, are the only Olympic League team yet to lose a league game.
Credit the high-flying Flora.
“He’s not just a good jumper, he’s a quick jumper,” coach Casey 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.”
One of only four players to return from a 2008-09 playoffs team, Flora is averaging 20 points per game and hauled in 12 rebounds Tuesday.
The senior credits his success to the up-and-down, full-court game Lindberg instilled in the team during preseason practices and has harped on through five contests.
Lacking a true center — Flora is the team’s tallest player at 6-foot-3, though he’s listed at 6-2 — Lindberg continues to preach a dizzying style of play that begins with full-court pressure on defense and hinges upon quick outlet passes and a crisp transition game.
“That’s the type of player I think I am,” Flora said. “I just like running the floor — get the ball out, just run.”
Bremerton ran — nearly flew — Tuesday, posting a season-high 93 points behind a balanced scoring attack that included Flora’s 24 points and an additional 24 from Andre Coleman, who hit six 3-pointers.
The team took a 23-10 first-quarter lead, never looking back.
“We’re much smaller,” Flora said, comparing the 2009-10 Knights to their predecessors. “But we’ve always been pretty athletic.”
Losing key players such as Josh Koets, who now plays at Olympic College, opened the door for Flora to become a leader.
And the two-sport star — he reached the state championships as a member of the track and field team last spring — is embracing that role.
“There was a lot of leadership last year — we had like nine seniors — so I looked up to them,” Flora said. “They gave me advice and I took it from there.”
Now Flora, who last summer traveled to Las Vegas with Seattle’s Best Basketball Academy, an AAU team, is ready to take the Knights into the heart of their league schedule.
He believes the team is capable of winning the league championship if it maintains the momentum it’s established over the past four games.
“We’re definitely trying to win the league and just go on from there,” Flora said. “Our challenge is just to go out there and execute and do what we need to do.”
The Lady Knights (2-3, 2-2) built a nine-point lead going into halftime and held on for a 40-38 win over Klahowya on the road Tuesday.
Kourtney Carpenter scored a game-high 15 points, while twin sister Jalen added 10.
Bremerton hosts Olympic at 7 p.m. Friday.