Sports

Oops! Knights fall on Olympic

"The Bremerton High School boys basketball team has figured out how to win again.After going winless in their first nine games, the Knights collected a 61-53 victory Tuesday night (Jan. 11) on their home floor, beating an Olympic team that had won seven straight.“I think we’ve figured out what it takes for us to win night in and night out,” said second-year coach Casey Lindberg of the team that went 24-2 and was fifth among the state’s Class 3A teams last season, but struggled out of the gate this season. “The guys have waited a long time for this. I hope we’ve silenced some of our critics.”There won’t be any of that coming from Olympic coach Robert Polk, whose team fell behind by nine points in the fourth quarter, but could never punch its way within striking distance. The Trojans (4-2 in league, 7-2 overall) led for the last time at 36-34, but Bremerton took control for good with a 12-2 spurt to close out the third quarter.“Maybe we were ripe for the pickin’s,” Polk said with a thin smile. “It happens sometimes. You get on a good roll, the team feels pretty good about itself, and maybe you don’t work as hard as you have been.“We’ve been winning close games, but we didn’t get it done tonight,” Polk said.Most of that had to do with a Bremerton team that simply got fed up with losing. Senior Lamont Doss led the way offensively with 20 points (including four 3-pointers and 6-for-6 free throw shooting), and the defense took away nearly every point of attack from the Trojans’ considerable arsenal.“They have the guys teams want to have,” said Lindberg. “They have good shooters, and they have some guys inside who are big and physical.“We’re not out of this,” Lindberg said of an Olympic League Class 4A playoff race that will send two teams to the West Central District tournament. “We’ve only lost five (league games), and we’ve got 10 still to play. If we play the way we played tonight, we could make a run.”Against the Knights, Oly seldom found the open shots it has become accustomed to by dishing the ball in to 6-foot-5 Ken Waldo in the middle and having him either score or kick it back out to the perimeter marksmen.“Our goal (with Waldo) was to make him be satisfied with the 15-footer. He’ll kill you if you let him drive.”Waldo did score 13 points, matching guard Ernie Parsons for team scoring honors. More often than not, though, he appeared frustrated by the committee of Bremerton defenders that crowded him relentlessly inside — and often bodied him completely out of — the paint. J.R. Ross, Jimmie Moore, Naaman Abrams, Sam Flemister and Kellen Alley all played a part in keeping Waldo to just three field goals.But the biggest difference in the Knights from the frustrations of their first nine games to Tuesday night, according to Lindberg, was at the free throw line. Against Olympic, the Knights canned 18 of 25 chances, a tidy 72 percent.“We’d been hitting 47 percent at the line up to tonight,” Lindberg pointed out. “We’ve lost, I’d say, five games because of our foul shooting. We’ve been working on it, and tonight they dropped.“We needed to play with some intensity, and we did it.”That intensity extended down the bench. Bremerton’s reserves outscored Troy’s backups 15-3, with Moore contributing nine of those points in addition to banging away against Waldo at the other end.That intensity kept the Knights from suffering the one or two lapses that had been crippling them in earlier games, and made them appear faster to the ball than the Trojans.“Tonight, the breaks weren’t falling our way,” Polk said. “We got in a little foul trouble, and we got a little frustrated.”Polk said the Knights’ quickness, in particular, was tough for his team to handle.“Look at all the teams we play in this league,” he said. “None of them are as quick as Bremerton. It’s a completely different look when you come in to play them. It gave us trouble.”Flemister’s 12-foot jumper gave Bremerton a 55-48 lead with 3 minutes, 34 seconds left, but Oly’s John Alguard responded with a 3-pointer to cut the lead to four.Olympic would get just two free throws from that point on, however. Alley hit a double-pump layup and both Stitt and Crozier added two free throws as the Knights pulled out to a safe advantage.“I told Sam when he came out his basket might have been the one that won the game for us,” Lindberg said, “and then they come right back and hit a three.“They’re a good team,” he added. “But tonight we just put it together.”"

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