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Kingston Buccaneers close to clinching title
KINGSTON — In a strange turn of events, the crowd at the Kingston High School Buccaneer basketball games has begun to slightly decrease in size.
The lower turnout is caused by the team’s performance. Buccaneer guard Tucker Bowman said fewer of his friends are showing up to watch.
“Some people that used to come to our games don’t anymore, because we end up winning by so much,” Bowman said.
When the point difference in the games were closer last season, he said more of the people he knows showed up to cheer the team on. As the team prepares to face the Bremerton Knights with an undefeated league record of 12-0, the crowd is shrinking.
Kingston has won its last four games with 30 points or more than their opponent. During the Buc’s last game against the Port Townsend Redskins at home on Jan. 25, the team ended the night with a 73-43 victory. The Buccaneers allowed four points during the first quarter of the game with a defense that, at times, would not allow the Redskins across half-court.
For the team, each position is just as important as the rest.
Earlier in the season, head coach Blake Conley said he wanted the team to be undefeated at home and take the Olympic League title. With an undefeated record, the team has all but clinched the league title and with two home games left, both goals may come to fruition.
“Working hard at practice everyday is what continues to make us better,” said Buccaneer guard Jon George.
As a senior and a first-time player on the varsity team, George said he does not know what to expect for the post-season, because there has been little talk of it.
“We are just taking it one game at a time,” George said, adding the success of the team this season is a good way to end his high school career.
On the court, both George and Bowman brought their own style of play that continues to bring the team to its victories.
“Tucker (Bowman) is one of the better defenses in the league,” Conley said. “And Jon (George) has some great energy that he brings with him.”
Though the entire team continues to show improvement, Bowman and George credit George Hill with helping develop their game. During a game, Conley said Hill’s critical passing continues giving top scorers such as Sam Byers and Zane Ravenholt an opportunity to shoot.
“It’s about taking every drill seriously; never for granted,” Bowman said.
Unsure about who he will be up against in the post-season, Bowman expects to face some of the best players he ever has.
“It’s been a fun ride, for sure,” he said.
North Kitsap Vikings: The ‘Best 0-16 team in the state’
The North Kitsap Vikings have not shared the same success as their neighborly rivals.
However, that has not stopped head coach Tony Chisholm from taking what he can from the season as he prepares to begin early team building this summer.
“I have been asking what has this season taught me,” Chisholm said.
The Vikings remain winless, but if the group of young players stick with the team, he plans on continuing to help improve their game. This includes encouraging his current players to practice in the off-season.
There were three seniors on the team this year who played varsity in the past and Chisholm knew there was plenty of work to do.
Though it is too late for the team to make a comeback this season, he tries to create a positive attitude for his players. Creating this positive attitude will include a trip to a University of Washington basketball game for the players in February; paid for from booster funding for the trip.
Chisholm admits that, compared to teams such as Kingston, Sequim and Port Angeles, the Vikings were not as prepared. Those opponents showed athleticism and pure height that the Vikings could not compete with.
“Some teams are just better than you, but we didn’t feel the teams in the Olympic League were that much better,” he said.
A key problem for the team was keeping up a steady pace. The Vikings showed the upper-hand at times, but would lose the steam to finish the game, Chisholm said.
“To me, we’re the best 0-16 team in the state,” he said.
Things may quickly change for the team next year.
Students from the Poulsbo Middle School Panthers varsity team, a team which took the state title in 2010; will graduate and Chisholm said he plans on greeting them with basketball camps to encourage them to join the Vikings for the 2011-12 season.
(Kingston guard Jon George in mid-stride as he prepares to move past the Port Townsend defense)
(Kipp Robertson/Staff photo)