Bremerton boys basketball tops list of winter prep stories

The Bremerton High School boys basketball team, coached by Casey Lindberg (right), is undefeated in Olympic League play and is poised to secure the title championship for the first time since 1999. - Wesley Remmer/staff photo
The Bremerton High School boys basketball team, coached by Casey Lindberg (right), is undefeated in Olympic League play and is poised to secure the title championship for the first time since 1999.
— image credit: Wesley Remmer/staff photo

With the winter sports season hovering at the halfway point, a handful of teams and athletes are emerging as postseason contenders.

Here are five prep stories to watch as the season unfolds:

5. Klahowya girls hoops takes flight

The Klahowya Secondary School girls basketball team posted just four wins in two years entering this season, but this year they've already equalled that win total. The Class 2A Lady Eagles were winless two seasons ago and squeaked out four victories in 2008-09. The team matched that total Saturday when it defeated Life Christian Academy of Tacoma, 41-16, to pull into a tie for fourth place overall in the combined 3A/2A Olympic League.

Klahowya (4-3 overall, 2-3 league) hosts Port Townsend at 7 p.m. Friday

4. Olympic bowlers eye state-title strike

Expectations for the Olympic High School girls bowling team are at an all-time high, and the undefeated Lady Trojans are the first to admit it.

They want a state championship and no less.

“We’re trying to close out the season undefeated, we’re all trying to get better,” senior Liza Ambrose said. “We just want that first place. It’s my senior year, so I want first.”

The team placed second at state last season and is 25-1 dating back to the 2008-09 campaign. Five of the Olympic League's top seven bowlers are Lady Trojans, led by Ambrose.

Olympic visits Peninsula High School at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday.

3. Branden Yeik's bid for redemption

Branden Yeik's 2008-09 wrestling season ended with a black eye and a second-place finish at Mat Classic XXI at the Tacoma Dome, where he lost a slug-it-out state championship match to Jason Gray of Enumclaw High School, 9-7.

It was a heartbreaking finish for Yeik, then a junior competing in the 140-pound weight class, who won a state title at 130 as a sophomore. Now grappling at 145, the Olympic senior is the state's No. 1-ranked wrestler in his weight class, according to Washington Wrestling Report, and is primed to win two state championships in three seasons.

He is undefeated this season, winning the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championships in Vancouver on Saturday.

“Branden’s not worried or scared of anybody. He knows what he needs to do, he’s helping the team and he’s working his tail off,” coach Steve Polillo said. “Branden is doing what Branden needs to do.”

The Trojans compete in the Snohomish Invite at Snohomish High School at 10 a.m. Saturday

2. Lauren Richardson's quest to repeat

Last year Bremerton High School junior Lauren Richardson became the school's first female wrestler to win a state championship. The 103-pounder pinned Jomae Alewine of Lake Stevens to secure the title at Mat Classic XXI at the Tacoma Dome.

Now Richardson, also know as "buzz saw," is thinking repeat. She would bid for a trifecta as a senior if she pulls down the title in February.

“I know she’s excited, but now she’s starting to show it. She’s ready to show she deserves to be No. 1,” coach Jeff Barton said. “I told her, though, and she knows this, ‘You’re gonna make their (the opponents’) season if they knock you off. When you step on that mat every single time, you have to be ready to wrestle.’”

The Bremerton wrestling team competes in the Rainshadow Tournament Friday at Sequim High School.

1. Knights take stab at league title

The Bremerton boys basketball team holds first place in the Olympic League and is poised to secure its first regular-season league championship since 1999.

That year, the Knights went 18-0 in league play and were 24-2 overall, taking fifth at the state tournament.

"As long as the kids continue to play hard and learn some new concepts, a league title is not out of the question," coach Casey Lindberg said. "But I always make sure they understand they must never fear an opponent, but respect every opponent."

Led by senior forward Jarell Flora, who is averaging 22 points per game, the Knights hold a ...-game lead over ... for the league lead (THEY HAVE A

Lindberg is preaching an up-tempo style of play, keyed by full-court pressure on defense. It's been a successful recipe for the Knights, who are averaging 70.9 points per game.

The team is playing selflessly and having fun, Lindberg added, and is modeling its play after the Bremerton motto, "Play hard, play smart, play together."

"We are doing a good job of going one game at a time, but there is a lot of season left. To win a league title, I believe a team must have three things — talent that plays together, minimal or no injuries and a little bit of luck."

The Knights (6-2 overall, 6-0 league) visit Sequim at 7 p.m. Tuesday.


Swimming: Central Kitsap High School's Brendon Weiner and Jason Soria are looking to one-up their performances from the 2009 Class 4A state swim and dive championships. Weiner, then a junior, placed 15th in the 500-meter freestyle. Soria, then a freshman, took ninth in the 100 breaststroke.

Meanwhile, Olympic senior John Wojtech placed seventh and 14th in the 100 breast and 200 individual medley, respectively, at the 3A championships last season and he, too, could make another splash.

Boys basketball: Central Kitsap, coming off a season in which it was eliminated at districts by a 30-foot, buzzer-beating heave in overtime, is fighting to stay above .500 in the competitive Narrows League. The Cougars (5-4, 2-2) host Wilson High School at 7 p.m. Friday as they look to return to the postseason.

Wrestling: Yeik and Richardson aren't the only grapplers who will descend on the Tacoma Dome for the state championships in February. Joey Troyer (112), who earned a fifth-place at the Pacific Coast Wrestling Championships on Saturday, leads the charge for Central Kitsap.

Klahowya's Joe Sawyers (140) and Neil Sell (145), meanwhile, give the Eagles two legitimate postseason contenders.

Sawyers, a senior, is a two-time state participant and is rated the state's No. 2 wrestler in his weight class by Washington Wrestling Report.

Sell, also a senior, is ranked No. 3 at 145. He was the state runner-up at 145 in 2009, according to Washington Wrestling Report.

Girls basketball: Crosspoint Academy's Bryenne Mosey is leading the Lady Warriors in scoring with 16.7 points points per game. She has scored in double figures in all but two games is averaging 15.8 rebounds per game, tops in the Class 2B SeaTac League.

Crosspoint hosts Chief Leschi at 5:30 p.m. Friday.

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