"Trojans down Knights, appear bound for districts"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 4:21 PM
"Bremerton High School boys basketball coach Casey Lindberg had a strategy going into last Friday's crucial game at Olympic: If the Knights could control Ken Waldo, the Trojans' 6-foot-5 jumping jack in the middle, they had a better than even chance to win.It took Waldo less than four minutes to make Bremerton go to Plan B.Waldo set the tone for the portentous Olympic League matchup, scoring his team's first 11 points and bounding in front of the crowd throughout as he led the Trojans to a 63-56 victory.Waldo was huge, obviously, Olympic coach Robert Polk said of his senior post, who finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds. He just kept outleaping their guys.The victory gave Olympic control of the Olympic League's No. 2 Class 4A district playoff berth - control that late-starting Bremerton could've wrested away by completing a sweep of the two teams' home-and-home series. When the Knights won the first meeting 61-53 on Jan. 11 at Bremerton, it halted a nine-game season-opening losing skid and catapulted them into an eight-game string of wins.When Oly regained a 1 1/2-game advantage, though, with only one game (at Central Kitsap last night) left on Bremerton's schedule, the Knights' wild ride came to an end.You create your own opportunities, and we certainly had an opportunity, said Lindberg, whose team was undefeated in league games last year and went on to capture fifth place in the state Class 3A tournament. But sometimes, the little things just don't go your way.It's like everything that went right the first time we played them didn't go right this time, Lindberg continued. The first game, (senior) J.R. (Ross) did a beautiful job on Waldo. But there was no stopping him this time.Scott Tonge came off the bench to add 14 points and team with Waldo to give Troy inside dominance.We neutralized their inside guys, Polk said, which allowed us to focus more on their guards.Focusing on Lamont Doss and stopping him were two different things Friday. The 5-8 senior ripped the Trojans for 28 points, and his backcourt running mate, Mike Crozier, had 10 more. But Polk pointed out that Oly was able to stop the lightning-quick guards often enough, complimenting the defense of sophomore Geoff Kelstrup in particular.We put him on Doss and he did a pretty nice job, Polk said. We had him chase (Doss) all over. To be a sophomore and have the moxie to do that against a senior is pretty big.Kelstrup also scored eight points, including a clutch 3-pointer that helped hold the Knights off when they mounted their last charge in the fourth quarter. Kelstrup connected from the left wing to give Olympic a 52-45 lead with 6 minutes, 51 seconds remaining - just enough, as it turned out, to weather a five-point spurt by Bremerton, with Doss feeding Ross for a layup, then completing a three-point play after a steal.Oly scored the next six points, fueling an 11-2 spurt that put the game away. Hugh Willa hit a free throw and Harold Powell a pull-up jumper prior to Waldo's rebound basket and foul shot.The presence of the 5-10 Powell - who just signed a football letter of intent at Central Washington University - was a plus for the Trojans. Powell missed the two teams' first meeting with an ankle injury.Harold brings a lot of confidence, and an extra ball-handler, Polk said.Lindberg also lauded the play of both Powell and the Trojans' other point guard, Austin Hendershot.They did a nice job handling the ball, said Lindberg. Plus, they're big, bulky kids. They have the ability to take a guy off the boards.Olympic's ability to control the speed of the game - something they didn't manage in the January loss at Bremerton - was the key, no matter who in the Trojans' locker room you asked.We talked a lot about controlling the tempo, Polk said, about how there's a difference between horrible turnovers versus bad turnovers. Horrible turnovers are the ones that lead to momentum changes. We did a nice job tonight of staying away from that kind of turnovers.We knew we had to play smart, said Waldo. We expected to have a fast-paced game, and we were ready. But we worked a lot on staying under control, and it showed.We wanted to slow it down, pass it around and get good shots, added Tonge. We wanted to play at our own pace this time."