Cougars get revenge

Central Kitsap wasn’t ready to play basketball in last season’s opener. As a result, the Cougs got creamed by Centralia, 62-46.

So when Centralia came up to CK this season for the opener, CK was more than ready.

“Last year we went down there and we weren’t ready to play,” CK coach Tim Fryer said. “This year, we talked about that and got ready.”

CK’s upgraded speed and athleticism were on display Tuesday, easily handling the Tigers, 69-49. CK was up 50-29 at the end of the third quarter.

“That was a good start. The boys were ready to go,” Fryer said. “They played hard with a lot of enthusiasm. I was pleased to start off this way. It’s always good to start off with a win.”

CK got 16 from senior Mike Simpkins while JR Gordon, also a senior, added 14. Overall, the Cougs got a very balanced effort.

“It was a really good night all the way around,” Fryer said. “And that’s something I told the guys. Defense and rebounding is what started the game going our direction. They just played scrappy. Lots of good things going on.”

The Cougars are hoping that the combination of strong chemistry, ball smarts and speed are enough to vault them higher than last season’s 14-10 mark, which landed them a short trip to districts.

This year, with a quicker pace, CK figures to be more exciting on the floor.

“I think the tempo is going to be quite a bit different,” Fryer said. “They like to get up the floor and play aggressive on defense. The scoring is going to be spread out.”

The interior for CK, consisting of Zac Brown, Cody Oakes and Jordan Deck, will be outsized at times. But Fryer said he hopes they can use strength and versatility to overcome potential height differences.

“Cody Oakes had a very good game,” Fryer said. “His game has improved a lot from last year. Jordan Deck is going to be key as one of our big guys. He’s stronger than last year. Zac plays hard-nosed defense. He knows his role and he’s going to play it very well.”

Daniel Zylstra and Michael Dorsey, among others, will also factor into the mix. Senior Nick Arena had to miss the opener while a cut in between his index finger and thumb heels.

And while South Kitsap and Gig Harbor appear to be the favorites, Fryer said there’s no reason his team can’t continue to compete.

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