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Kitsap’s hardwood kings
There were no state tournament appearances between the Central Kitsap, Olympic and Klahowya boys basketball teams, but each team had its share of bright moments during the 2008-09 season.
The Cougars welcomed first-year coach Scott McMinds, who coached at Klahowya for eight seasons, and reached the Class 4A West Central District Tournament. It was there that Bellarmine Prep’s Donald Gaddy hit a 30-foot 3-pointer as time expired in overtime to end the Cougars season, two wins shy of state. Four Central Kitsap senior starters — Brandon Durham, Cody Thurmond, Isaiah Thompson and Phillip Thomas — were voted to the All-Narrows League Bay Division First Team.
Led by dual-sport star Larry Dixon, who in 2008 led the Trojans football team in rushing yards and touchdowns, Olympic finished near the middle of the Olympic League with a record of 10-12 (7-9 league) under coach Devin Huff. The Trojans lose seven seniors to graduation.
Klahowya also welcomed a new coach, Spike Hopper, who guided the Eagles to an 8-14 record. For Klahowya, 2008-09 was all about senior guard Andre Moore Jr., who led the area in points per game (24.1) and was the Eagles’ unquestionable leader on the floor. Moore Jr. , who hopes to play either football or basketball in college, closed his career with more than 1,000 points.
The 2008-09 All-Kitsap County (AKC) Boys Basketball Team was compiled by the sports writers for the Bremerton Patriot, Central Kitsap Reporter, North Kitsap Herald and Port Orchard Independent. Candidates for the team were nominated by the writers for their respective areas. The nominees were then voted on by the writers, with the top vote-getters making the starting lineup. A Coach of the Year, bench and honorable mentions also were selected. The team includes the best players from area schools who not only performed well individually, but played a role in the success of their teams as well.
The following is the 2008-09 AKC Boys Basketball Team.
C — Taylor Hoffer, senior, North Kitsap: Hoffer, North Kitsap’s 6-foot-7-inch power forward/center, was the Vikings’ go-to guy in the middle, averaging 15.7 points and 12 rebounds per game. Hoffer averaged 26 points per game in the postseason while playing through injuries.
F — Brandon Durham, senior, Central Kitsap: Better known, at least by his teammates, as “Diesel,” the 6-7 forward and center led the Cougars with 15.7 points per game. Durham also averaged a team-high 9.6 rebounds per game. With CK often running a four-guard offense, Durham was the team’s focal point in the post.
G/F — Mike Longmire, senior, South Kitsap: In addition to arguably being the Wolves’ best player, Longmire might have been the most improved in the area. After averaging 2.5 points per game during the 2007-08 season, Longmire spent the offseason working on his perimeter game. The result was 51 percent shooting from the field — behind only center Ricky King — and a team-high 13.8 points per game. “He probably was our best post-up player,” South Kitsap coach John Callaghan said. “He’s tough inside.” Longmire also averaged 4.9 rebounds and nearly a steal per game.
G — Kyle Erickson, senior, North Kitsap: The 2008-09 Olympic League Most Valuable Player, as voted on by coaches, Erickson has continued to confound opposing defenses. He averaged 17.4 points per game, once again leading the Vikings to the playoffs. Erickson rounded out his stats by contributing 5.3 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
G — Andre Moore Jr., senior, Klahowya: The school’s all-time scoring leader with more than 1,000 career points, Moore was the Eagles’ leader on both ends of the floor throughout his varsity career. He averaged 24.1 points per game in 2008-09, the most of any area player (North Mason’s Brett Skogstad was second at 18.2). Moore, who scored eight touchdowns for the Klahowya football team in 2008, also averaged 3.2 assists and 2.5 steals per game.
Coach of the Year — Steve Henderson, Bainbridge High School: Henderson stepped in this season for now-departed Scott Orness, who resigned last spring, to guide the Spartans to a 14-6 regular-season record (11-4 league) and a share of the Metro League Sound Division regular-season championship. With upset victories against Rainier Beach (15-8) as well as Franklin (22-1) during the regular season, the Spartans emerged as a legitimate postseason threat. But the team stumbled in postseason play, dropping four consecutive games to end the season shy of the state tournament. A surprising 61-51 loss at home against Cleveland (8-15) in the Class 3A Sea-King District Tournament ended the Spartans’ season. Henderson coached at East Valley High School in Spokane, his alma mater, from 1999 to 2007 before taking the helm at Bainbridge. He graduated from East Valley in 1999, becoming an assistant coach on East Valley’s varsity team shortly thereafter.
G — Ryan Burris, junior, Bainbridge: A strong shooter and his team’s leading scorer, Burris averaged 12.8 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. The 6-4 guard also helped lead Bainbridge to victory over top teams Franklin and Rainier Beach, scoring 16 and 21, respectively, in those games.
G — Tionne Curry, senior, South Kitsap: Following in the tradition of his older brothers, Trivone and Tysaiah, the younger Curry has been one of the Wolves’ best defenders in his three varsity seasons. Despite missing time early in the season, Curry still finished second on the team with 43 steals. But he also improved from averaging nine points per game in 2007-08 to 12.2 this season. “He’s as talented as anyone in our league,” Callaghan said. “He’s quick, can pull up for the 3-pointer and handle the ball with either hand.”
G — Isaiah Thompson, senior, Central Kitsap: Arguably the most athletic player on Central Kitsap’s roster, Thompson averaged 15.1 points per game, second on the team to Durham. Thompson was most effective when he slashed to the basket, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates as well as himself.
G — Cody Thurmond, senior, Central Kitsap: Thurmond orchestrated the Cougars’ up-and-down, fast-paced offense at the point guard position. The team’s most reliable outside shooter, Thurmond led the team with 26 3-pointers on 43-percent shooting. He averaged 11.3 points, 4.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.
G/F — Larry Dixon, junior, Olympic: Known by most for his bruising abilities on the football field — he rushed for 1,840 yards and scored 14 touchdowns for the Trojans in 2008 — Dixon proved that his game goes beyond the gridiron. He led the Trojans basketball team with 16.5 points per game, also adding three rebounds and two steals per game. A creator on offense and physical player on defense, Dixon saw action at both guard positions.
G/F— Phillip Thomas, senior, Central Kitsap: One of four Cougars named to the All-Narrows League Bay Division First Team, Thomas averaged 11.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
F — Josh Koets, senior, Bremerton: Koets was Bremerton’s most productive player on offense, averaging a team-high 16.4 points per game, nearly 10 points more than the team’s second-leading scorer Jarell Flora (7.4). Somewhat undersized at 6-2, Koets logged substantial minutes at both forward and center. He had 29 points and 13 rebounds in Bremerton’s 70-54 victory against Timberline in the Olympic/Western Cascade (OWL) sub-district tournament Feb. 24, lifting the Knights to their first district berth since 2004.
C — Ben Eisenhardt, senior, Bainbridge: Eisenhardt, 6-10, was the centerpiece of a Spartan team that finished 11-4 in the Metro League, posting big numbers when it counted. Averaging 12.3 points and 7.0 rebounds, Eisenhardt contributed 25 points in a Jan. 27 win against Franklin, handing the No. 1 Quakers their only loss of the season.
Andre Coleman, sophomore, Bremerton: Coleman, the lone underclassmen on a Bremerton roster that included nine seniors, averaged 6.8 points per game in limited playing time. With coach Casey Lindberg often pressing full court on defense, the Knights used a 10-man rotation, substituted frequently and created offense with defense. Coleman’s versatility meshed with that style of play.
Will DiIorio, junior, Bainbridge: While he was Bainbridge’s third-leading scorer with 11.9 points per game, DiIorio also was unselfish, averaging 3.1 assists. The 6-3 junior pulled down 6.1 rebounds per contest, making him a threat at both ends of the floor.
Tre Haslom, sophomore, South Kitsap: Haslom was involved with one of the Wolves’ biggest wins early when he took a pass from Longmire and scored on a layup with 2.2 seconds left to give his team a 67-65 double-overtime win Dec. 12 against Wilson. He was South’s third-leading scorer at 7.8 points per game.
Aaron Lawrence, junior, Kingston: At just 5-5, Lawrence, the Buccaneers’ leading scorer, is unexpectedly threatening on offense. He averaged 9.5 points per game, but he also shared the ball, contributing 4.2 assists per game. Lawrence made an impact on defense as well, with 2.9 steals per game.
Terrance McGhee, senior, Bremerton: Bremerton’s starting point guard, McGhee’s job was to manage the game. He averaged 6.9 points per game.
Drew McCullough, senior, King’s West: Hampered with an injury to his meniscus that sidelined him for the team’s first few games, McCullough finished the season with a team-high 8.3 rebounds per game to go with 9.9 points per game.
Darell Newman, senior, Klahowya: Coach Spike Hopper preferred to leave Newman on the floor when Moore was on the bench, and for good reason. The 5-9 guard offered balance with 6.8 points, 3.3 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game.
Zane Ravenholt, sophomore, Kingston: Ravenholt averaged 9.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, making him one of Kingston’s most valuable assets.
Dino Thomas, senior, Olympic: Thomas’ speed and length made him a versatile post player, giving the Trojan scoring and rebounding underneath. He averaged a modest 6.0 points per game, but led the team in rebounding with 8.0 per game.
Jeff Wasson, senior, Klahowya: Wasson led Klahowya with 147 total rebounds (6.7 per game), including a season-high 15 against Olympic Jan. 30. He added 4.8 points per game.
Sam Weldin, senior, King’s West: The Warriors’ strongest and most productive player down low, Weldin averaged 10.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.