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Winter prep season heats up
The start of the new year signals crunch time for winter sports programs. The winter high school sports season is back following the districts’ winter breaks, and the postseason tournaments are approaching later this month. Here’s what to look for as the season unfolds on the eve of the playoffs.
The Bremerton High School boys basketball team continues to adjust to first-year head coach Darren Bowden. The biggest question about the Knights is whether they can repeat as Olympic League champions and punch a ticket to the state tournament for the second consecutive year. The Knights are currently 4-3 in league play, three games behind Kingston High School, which leads the way with a perfect 7-0 league record.
Bowden said Tuesday he’s impressed with his team’s defense, but the offense still needs work.
“We just need to get as many league wins as we can,” Bowden said after Tuesday’s 43-38 win against Port Townsend High School. “Offensively, we’ve got to make more shots and be prepared to play. We’re going to have to play in unison on defense and help each other out. We can’t give-and-take so much.”
Don Farrell coached the Klahowya Secondary School girls basketball program from winless to potential contenders in his first three seasons. But the Eagles are off to a sluggish start, losing their first six league games last month, each by double digits. The fourth-year head coach recognizes that his young team, which starts three sophomores, is off track, but Farrell said he’s optimistic about the second half of the winter season.
“We have gotten off to a very slow and disappointing start, and we hope to turn it around by playing smarter on offense as well as taking care of the ball,” he said this week. “I believe that we can still squeak into the number five spot to at least get a play-in game at end of season, but we will have to play tough all-out defense and do the things previously mentioned.”
The next week of wrestling action could decide the fate of some Narrows and Olympic league programs. The Battle of the Bay (Jan. 7) and Matman Classic Tournament (Jan. 15) will each include perennial powerhouses hoping to gain momentum entering the league, regional and state tournaments next month.
Central Kitsap High School wrestling coach Mike Harter said Tuesday that his team has ongoing training issues that need to be addressed. Boring routines could hinder the Cougars’ performances, he added.
“We’ve stepped up in some cases and fell short in others, so we’re learning some lessons right now,” he said. “We have a month to improve, and soon our guys will be getting down to weight. We need to prevent boredom of doing the same things over and over again.”
Harter said his team usually peaks around the league and regional tournaments, and he wants to bump that peak level to the state tournament.
The girls bowling teams are currently in a logjam at the top of the Olympic League standings. Meanwhile, Central Kitsap is battling in the middle of the Narrows standings with a 5-6 record this season. Olympic, the two-time defending league champions, are atop the standings with a 7-1 record. Klahowya (7-2) and Bremerton (6-3) aren’t far behind as the final weeks of competition wrap up. Olympic’s only loss of the season came against the Eagles Dec. 9. The regular season concludes next week with the league champion likely to be decided on the final night of competition.
Olympic head coach Dave Colby said his Lady Trojans are doing OK, but there’s room for improvement. He’s planning on moving some junior varsity bowlers to the varsity level to fill any voids.
“We’re struggling right now, and now is not the time to be struggling,” he said. “Bremerton’s pretty good, even though we beat them twice, so I’ve been working with the kids on improving.”
The swim season is also at its halfway point, but the bulk of the schedule isn’t until late January, when invitational tournaments and league tune-ups prepare Olympic and Narrows league schools for the state in February. Olympic head coach Paul Henderson said this week he has high hopes as the Trojans take on seven meets in the next month.
“There is a lot of competition left, and the future looks bright,” he said. “We have many first-year swimmers who are improving by leaps and bounds, and the veterans are stepping up.” The swim season will conclude next month at the state tournament Feb. 18 and 19.